I wish I could say that is was the “gift of desperation” or the rabid desire for a new life that kept me coming back to the rooms when I was new. I am still envious of the young newcomer girls who are pulled aside by other women and warned about the predatory old timers who wait in anticipation for the next wave of fresh meat. I became best friends with another hot newcomer girl and together we went through the 13th step mill, at times sharing some of the same old timers. I was a willing participant, although at 45 days or even four months, you’re so hungry for attention and distraction that you think you can handle things that you’re clearly not able to in retrospect. And, if it wasn’t romance taking me out, it was the lack of romance—the ache of terrible loneliness. Oh, the boys…with their smoky breath and ironic t-shirts and tattooed forearms, waxing philosophical about life and spinning tales of desperation, desecration and finally redemption. I could easily branch off`into horror stories about how I was 13th stepped by program quasi-gurus who had double-digit sobriety while I was just stringing days together.She was what I called “guy light.” “It would be better,” I told her one night, “if you had a penis.But we can work around that.”But she never touched me.One day, when I was telling him everything about him that made him not my type, he said, “You really should be nice to me because we are going to end up together.” He’s not what I would have ever imagined for myself back when I was a distraction-seeking, unhinged newcomer.And thankfully I kept coming back long enough to figure out that he was right.I think I hooked up with five different people within my first four months, and that’s not counting the occasional rendezvous with an old using buddy. Romance took me out of the rooms more times than I’d like to admit. I think dating in the rooms of AA is not unlike hooking up in prison.There is a limited supply of broken people and we recycle each other.
“I‘ll take the meeting and you can have the Big Book study.”Even if you avoid those meetings and drive 45 minutes out to bumfuck where nobody knows your name, word gets out.And let us not forget about the amends that have to be exchanged once the relationship has gone awry. We had a mutual sober friend who kept the connection going even when our diseases and neuroses kept us—or me—apart.He pursued and pursued, and I rejected and deflected, hating myself too much to respond to anyone who liked me.This Arizona rehab prescribes high doses of AA meetings and backpacking for young guys who not only need to get sober, but also learn the basics (think cooking and cleaning) of living in the real world.My therapist once said: “If you have family members who are alcoholics, you have no choice but to stand by them.