Table For One – Grapevine Article June 2017 by Robyn R

How one member found she doesn’t need a man on her arm or a drink in her hand to define her

When I arrived in the rooms of AA, I often heard members say that they were “unemployable.” For my part, I still had a job (holding onto it mostly by blackmail), so I began turning the phrase around in my head when I realized that I was “undatable.” I could not get a date for love or money. I now realize that fall-down drunks only date other fall-down drunks. The fall-down drunks I knew were not asking to date me.

In retrospect, I have to wonder why was I out looking for dates when I was still married to my soon-to-be-ex-husband. This husband dropped me off at my first meeting. Today, I am very grateful for that. But at the time, I felt that his doing so was certainly grounds for a divorce, which I granted in my process of Eighth and Ninth Step amends.

After a few years of sobriety, I noted that I was still undatable. I did have a few sober dates but not with much success. I realized my life was still unmanageable, especially when it came to dating or being in relationships. I have since learned that I did not know how to form any true relationship or make or keep friends. Several husbands and several divorces should have been a clue, but I did not see my true self until I approached my Fourth Step process.

When I was drinking, my idea of a great date would have had me sitting at a bar. A male patron would buy me a drink or two, then he would say, “Would you like another drink here or would you like to go somewhere else?” In this dream date of mine, I would not ask where we might go. I would never know too much about this man. The main thing is that there would at least be another drink involved.

I remember a drunken bar friend of mine saying to me that I needed to change my behavior. Later, that remark was one of the ones that led me to AA.

I also remember a woman in my home group telling me that my behavior would change if I continued to go to meetings and not drink. The old behavior of trying to force myself on folks or forcing the situation to fit what I wanted had to be replaced. Then, the thought that I would have to change led me to believe the dating game, drunk or sober, was not for me.

My early dating experiences in sobriety only lead to uncomfortable and irritable nights out. One such date lead to my hearing a Ninth Step from an AA member whom I had dated previously! Even in sobriety, I could not feel comfortable dating.

So I started spending time with myself and getting to know me. I began the process of “dating me.” I took myself out on dates. I went to dinners, plays, museums, movies, a few sport events. I even took myself on a little trip for a four-day weekend. I found out by spending time alone that I am not such a bad person to date. I got to know my likes and dislikes. I can now even make choices from menus on my own, which was the kind of decision that never came easily for me.

Before planning my dates, I always said a little prayer. I am never alone because I am always with the God of my understanding. Getting to know myself with the help of sponsorship, my home group members and, of course, my Higher Power, I am preparing myself to be with others and I am learning to become a “dater among daters.”

I have found that unlike when I was drinking, I do not need a man on my arm or a drink in my hands to define me. I do not feel “less than” or insecure about not having a date. I now know myself better. I have learned tremendously from my “dating me” experiences and I am now able to share what I learned with others. The longer I stay sober, the more I find that “dating me” is not such a bad idea to do from time to time.

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