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.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.
So when you break up with somebody, don’t be surprised when they end up dating your sponsor or sponsee.
Dating in the program is like fishing in a small toxic pond.
And you’ll often hear sayings, like, “Odds are good that you’ll meet somebody, but the goods are odd.” And I couldn’t agree more. You gonna focus on recovery.”“Well that sounds boring,” I said.
When I relapsed for the umpteenth time and ended up with a militant black lesbian for a sponsor, she was very clear that I was not going to fuck my way through the rooms this time around.“Baby, you only going to go to women’s meetings and gay meetings,” she said.“But how am I going to get laid going to women’s meetings and gay meetings? But I had just come out of a psych ward, and had also just cracked my head open when I fell backwards after having a grand mal seizure when my meds were changed, so I was wiling to try it another way.
I would go to those uptight “lady” meetings in Beverly Hills and Brentwood where women with bad facelifts and expensive handbags complain about their gardeners.
I would go to a Saturday women’s meeting in Crenshaw for lesbians.
I was the only white straight Jew in the room and I’d sit in the back cowering, scratching at my stitches.“Why you sittin’ in the back, Sugar Plum?
” my sponsor asked me one day.“Because I’m scared,” I answered honestly.“Well,” she told me, “be scared in the front.” But the desire to escape ourselves is so strong that we can often find a distraction no matter how slim the pickings.
One day at the crusty Brentwood “ladies who lunch” meeting, a tattooed, dark-haired man walked in.“This is a women’s meeting,” one of the tautly pulled housewives said.“I am a woman,” the man—who, as it turned out, was a woman—said. I had never been attracted to a woman before but she wasn’t just a woman: she was, when I got to know her, this amazing combination of the best traits of a female best friend with all the machismo and chivalry of a man.
She could fix your car and then stay up till in the morning eating ice cream and talking about feelings, burning you Tori Amos CD’s.
She was what I called “guy light.” “It would be better,” I told her one night, “if you had a penis.