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Mike wasn't the first guy to be put off by my drinking.

All of them ended things with me after the second or third time they saw me sh*tfaced.

There was never a conversation about why they stopped getting back to me. booty calls that culminated in me just passing out on their beds. I was lonely, and I wondered if anyone would ever really love me.

There were other "incidents": I seduced a guy who had a girlfriend who was out of town; I had to be reminded of a guy's name while we were hooking up; I got so drunk I peed in a guy's bed. So after quitting drinking and drugs, I also wanted to quit my disastrous dating pattern.

Still stinging from Mike's rejection, I decided to date -- but casually. When you create your profile, it asks how often you drink.

I checked "Rarely," worried that no one would want to date a 21-year-old girl who didn't drink at all. I set a limit of two hours per date, but would sometimes cut things short if I needed to.

I had two rules for my potential match: no a**holes, and no big partiers. And I always kept a special dessert -- like Trader Joe's vanilla soy ice cream or snickerdoodle cookies -- waiting for me at home as a reward. At first, if I wasn't interested in someone, I would lie about why I didn't want to see him again, or just stop answering his calls. If he asked why I wasn't drinking, I had a few responses ready that I'd learned from other people in recovery: "I don't feel like drinking tonight," I might say, or "I have to get up early tomorrow," or just shrug casually: "I'm good, thanks." It never became an issue.

I was hoping for someone who rarely or socially drank -- a "normie," in AA-speak. With one guy, I was so scared to end things that I just let it drag on for a month. After 90 days in AA, I lost my "sober virginity" to Steve,* a funny guy in my Greek Theater class at NYU.

I dated about 10 guys in my first six months, some for up to a few weeks. We'd been seeing each other for two weeks and I felt ready.

"No major changes in the first year" is a common suggestion for newcomers in AA.


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