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Old 10-01-2013, 08:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So two alcoholics walk into a relationship...

I was debating where to post this but figured I would put it here because it is not necessarily a Newcomers topic.

So as I am approaching my eighth month of sobriety I was admittedly starting to think about what it would be like to get in a relationship again. Mind you, I have no plans to do so as I still have a ton of work to do on myself but as I watch a couple of close AA friends going through the dance of dating each other, it makes me wonder. Both have a decent amount of sober time (2 years and 4 years, I believe).

Specifically, it makes me wonder if dating a fellow alcoholic is a really good or really bad idea. To my mind, at least at this point, I highly doubt I could ever be with someone who drank. Nor would I necessarily want to feel uncomfortable discussing my past with someone who has no experience of alcoholism.

HOWEVER.

Watching these two friends try to date each other has been enlightening, and not necessarily in a good way. He is a better friend to me than she so I can compare his “normal” behavior versus his “dating” behavior better. He’s like a strung-out prize Poodle…on steroids. One minute attentive, over-the-top with the attention and devotion, the picture of a guy any girl would want. And the next? Completely self-deprecating (not in a good way), apologizing constantly for seemingly nothing, distant, and super snarky. I keep asking him what he has done with my friend but he doesn't seem to see what I am talking about. And her? From confident, seemingly well-adjusted, calm woman to bat sh*t insane in the blink of an eye. No doubt his erratic behavior is feeding her insecurities but…dear Lord. I miss my non-neurotic friend in her too.

The thing is that most of the others in my group of (AA) friends witnessing this are like, “Yeah, that’s fairly typical behavior for two drunks dating. Brings out the worst in both of them.”

So then what’s the point? Does this mean both of them should be in AA and Alanon?

Do two drunks ever make a right?
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do two drunks ever make a right?
When you date another alcoholic your odds are good but the goods are odd.

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Old 10-01-2013, 08:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think it is a very bad idea for two people with the same problems and weaknesses to date, independent of whether they are alcoholics. I've had the most success in relationships where my partner's strengths and weaknesses were complementary to mine.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am undecided on this topic...I have seen a number of couples get together in AA and even get married. I think it depends on the commitment to sobriety and I hate to say it but also time accumulated...it seems as though some of the relationships seem to work...some don't...kind of the same odds as the so called "normies"...
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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two recovering alcoholics dating..or one recovering and one active?
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Do two drunks ever make a right?
My ex-partner was a recovering drinker, I remained quit while we were together for 3 years, then i started again after we split, since then I have quit and relapsed maybe 6-7 times, I still want to quit - she hasnt relapsed at all.

We agreed before we got into a relationship that drinking was our own problem, that we alone as individuals had responsibility for, but also said that if one of us started drinking again it would be a problem for the relationship.

I guess it became a part of our relationship commitment.

Personally I found it helped me, when we were together I felt comfortable drinking tea or soft drinks when we went to a restaurant, I didnt feel like I was missing out.

In summary, I would go for it without too many concerns.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I married someone in the program. He started drinking again.....and then I did. We are divorced now. He is still drinking. I am not I, personally, have this nasty habit of gravitating to alcoholics. I grew up in an alcoholic family; perhaps that is what I'm used to.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I used to feel more certain about this...two alkies NO way...

But now I think that it's more a case of the individuals. Because the reality is most people are pretty nutso at the start of any relationship, it brings out the odd in people. Whether they are alkies or not. Everyone has a boatload of issues. I've seen recovering alkies make it and people who look and seem like they got it all together NOT make it.

I would think most people in early recovery would do themselves a favor to focus on recovery and pulling their life together and figuring out what they want in life and how they are going to go about achieving that.

But life happens.

What do you want in a relationship? I think that is always a good thing to ask ourselves and then make sure our potential partner is on the same page. Sometimes people want sex, or someone to hang out with, or a marriage partner, a LOT of issues pop up when one wants one thing and the other quite a different sort of relationship.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My boyfriend quit drinking 8 years ago. When he met me 6 years ago I, obviously, was still drinking. I did not drink around him etc... but, he didn't like it. Anyway, since I decided to quit drinking (which had nothing to do with him) we get along much better.

It would be tough for me to date someone who had no understanding of alcoholism or even someone who drank moderately.

So, it probably just depends on the people.... like all relationships.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Really great thread. Thanks for the story PT. I still argue with myself all the time so no need to bring in a third party (hmmm..tho perhaps I need a mediator . New relationships have a way of bringing all your old war wounds to surface so I certainly understand how ensuring your sobriety is solid before attempting.

When I get to that place...I have no idea what I want. I can't imagine wanting someone who does not share a similar belief system or who hasn't wrestled their own demons and won. I certainly wouldn't want to be with anyone where alcohol is any kind of priority in their lives. Once I figure out who I am and what I want...guess I will know. Nevertheless..I'm not looking forward to what you're friends are going through.

I think Boleo sums it up best.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:21 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Peoples is peoples.

alkie/normie is really only relevant to drinking contexts , everything else is life
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the great responses.

Cabo: both are in recovery although one relapsed awhile ago after 13 years of sobriety---she now has two years accumulated again, I think.

I agree that people are people and that relationships tend to bring out the whacky behavior in folks, although not always.

I suppose watching this relationship develop has made me think about my future and how I will feel if and when I decide to date again. I am definitely in the camp of wanting someone with an understanding of alcoholism although who knows how I will feel about that in the future. Maybe it won't matter down the road as much as it does now. It's just that I would have to either leave out huge chunks of my past or be honest about some things that would sound pretty freaking awful for a non-addict. Even thinking of having that conversation makes me shudder now.

It also kind of freaks me out also watching the surrogate process that goes on as well. Like both of them check with their sponsors about everything...

I don't know how I would feel about that either. I can't imagine having a "supervisor" in a relationship although I adore my sponsor and she is not that way at all with me.

Anyway, rambling thoughts.

Thank you all for your input and experience. As usual, you all rock
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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It also kind of freaks me out also watching the surrogate process that goes on as well. Like both of them check with their sponsors about everything...

I don't know how I would feel about that either. I can't imagine having a "supervisor" in a relationship although I adore my sponsor and she is not that way at all with me.
Honestly, that irritates the tar out of me. I would not be comfortable in a relationship with someone who did that, especially if we were in the same area and groups and everyone knew everyone.

This may be appropriate and work awesomely for others, but I wouldn't stay in a relationship like that.

I recently was being wooed by a man who was doing the Cyrano thing and kept running to a mutual friend, getting advice etc. Three ways just don't work for me.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I can't imagine having a "supervisor" in a relationship although I adore my sponsor and she is not that way at all with me.
Ok..that would creep me out too. Since I have had issue in my past of blabbing issues of intimacy passive aggressively to everyone but my partner..that would not feel like progress.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I know two couples that are married. One set got sober together, the other separately.

The one that got sober together are like velcro-kids. They walk, talk and act alike although I see more confidence out of him then her. They hold hands and stroke each others back or leg at meetings. I don't need to see that at an AA meeting, married or not. They have been together like 15 years so I guess what ever works. I think he has like a year or year and a half, she has almost a year.

The other two have been married for years and years. When they go to meetings together they sit at separate tables. He sits with the guys, her the girls. They also have separate home groups and they go to separate meetings alone. They are married at home and in life but in AA their recovery is still their own. I think that is why it works so well.

I feel we are drawn to other recovering alcoholics because they understand our issues. They have been there and done that. But what we do, say and act outside the rooms is another ball of wax. I am not saying it can't work.

I agree with this "When you date another alcoholic your odds are good but the goods are odd." But if the odd works, then it works. Let it go and if it is meant to be, it will be.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I know two couples that are married. One set got sober together, the other separately.

The one that got sober together are like velcro-kids. They walk, talk and act alike although I see more confidence out of him then her. They hold hands and stroke each others back or leg at meetings. I don't need to see that at an AA meeting, married or not. They have been together like 15 years so I guess what ever works. I think he has like a year or year and a half, she has almost a year.

The other two have been married for years and years. When they go to meetings together they sit at separate tables. He sits with the guys, her the girls. They also have separate home groups and they go to separate meetings alone. They are married at home and in life but in AA their recovery is still their own. I think that is why it works so well.

I feel we are drawn to other recovering alcoholics because they understand our issues. They have been there and done that. But what we do, say and act outside the rooms is another ball of wax. I am not saying it can't work.

I agree with this "When you date another alcoholic your odds are good but the goods are odd." But if the odd works, then it works. Let it go and if it is meant to be, it will be.
Great post, Gracie, thank you! I also have a velcro couple in one of my meetings and I (very unspiritually) want to scream, "Get a room already!!" when they're frolicking during meetings.

But, yes, your point is a good one. The "successful" AA couples I know definitely work their own programs with their own groups of friends and points of support. I think that would kind of be essential as with the two friends I am speaking about in my OP, their sponsors are even now bickering with each other over the advice they're giving to their respective sponsees regarding the relationship. That's just way, WAY, too incestuous for my pea brain to handle. Way too much stress and competing agendas, at least to my mind.

My life was enough of a soap opera when I was drinking, I certainly didn't stop to star in one again...

Anyway, thanks again!
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Specifically, it makes me wonder if dating a fellow alcoholic is a really good or really bad idea. To my mind, at least at this point, I highly doubt I could ever be with someone who drank. Nor would I necessarily want to feel uncomfortable discussing my past with someone who has no experience of alcoholism.
I have the same feelings about this. But, in the past, every relationship I had added to this sort of 'no thanks' tick list of things I couldn't tolerate in a partner. One of the earliest ones was I couldn't date a stoner because of a previous relationship with someone who couldn't function because of the stuff. I went on to develop this long list, most of which I can't even remember now, until I realised it was ridiculous as the list was getting longer and longer and I also dated someone who was perfect on paper but we clashed horrendously in real life. Clearly that way wasn't working so I decided just to ignore that side of things and have fun. Which I did. The only question became whether they could tolerate my drinking, and I have to say I was pretty lucky in that respect... until I got sober. Now I don't want to date drinkers!! So the list has started again... I don't know if in time I will chill out about this or if I am doomed to try and find a recovering alcoholic partner... I must admit the idea of it is appealing but then I noticed I started treating AA meetings like a dating website and I thought I best knock that on the head! So for now I don't trust myself and am ignoring the issue. Maybe we should come back here in a year or so and compare notes x
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I have wondered about dating a fellow alcoholic, and don't see it being very good. Alcoholics are very conscious of their own alcoholic minds - we are sneaky, have bad thoughts, and every once in a while we go through a lot of problems in secret. That's why we have AA and such. Can you imagine living with another person like that? I think my own demons might be enough for one relationship.

Also, I would worry that dating another alcoholic, it might be easier to slip. When the relationship hits a rough patch, it might be a tempting solution to relapse together, as a kind of bonding thing. Look into each other's eyes over dinner one night and say..."You know we both want to. Let's have a little fun tonight, it'll be our secret". Yikes!
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Very interesting read. I came to find & that I did find alot of experiences, thank you.

I've been around 12 step fellowship for 14 years & sober 8 years. I've been friends with a male in the AA since he came into the program 3 years ago. We were both feeling the same about each other since another member pushed us both away & with that we were pushed closer together.

We've discussed that we are keeping this private to our AA friends. We've discussed we will be not sitting together at meetings & that we will use the Traditions in our relationship (as I recall a family using them & it worked well) We discussed honesty, openness and many other subjects in these early days. We both feel our God's are giving us blessings as we feel comfortable, responsible & grown up ! enough to deal with whatever the future may hold. If we are both sober a day at a time then we are happy to enjoy the quality time together. We've discussed that if we pick up we lose the relationship - nothing comes before our Sobriety & Recovery.

Hugs to all and thank you for listening.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:04 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I have started a relationship with another sober alcoholic. It is interesting to say the least and I mean that in a good way. The open and honesty we share is like no other I have ever experienced.

We have a great time and we laugh, a lot. I don’t think I could be with someone who is not a recovered alcoholic. They just would not get it. We have fun with it and enjoy our recovery. We also help each other and do not sugar coating anything when it comes to our sobriety but we do not act like a sponsor to the other. There are times when we each need our space to go to our sponsor and it is nice to have that trust and understanding. Not everything is about me or him.

I can’t imagine being with anyone else.

Some people know about our relationship but we are not open about it at the meetings we attend together. Sometimes we sit together and sometimes we don’t. When we do, there is no PDA. We are their for a meeting to share out ESH, not to act like teenagers. Neither of us are insecure so there is no childish GF/BF games going on. For the people that don’t know, we are just friends.

We live one day at a time, together.
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