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If drinking is the conduit for so many liaisons, what does quitting mean for someone’s romantic prospects? “I was struggling with my sexuality,” says Ryan, 27.
For some people, the decision not to drink is an easy lifestyle shift. When he moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles for college, he found a gay-friendly culture that threw his parents’ rejection of him into stark relief.
“It was the feeling I’d been running from for so many years,” she says, the reason she drank and chose “the wrong men.” After she stopped drinking at 23, Dawn dated a series of men “who were not going to leave.” She says, “I was usually better-educated, quicker-witted, with a higher income, because that domination soothed my underlying fear.
My second husband was a sweet guy, but he was monotone, like wallpaper, not someone who was going to go anywhere or do anything.” With those guys: “I was trying to minimize risk.
Newly sober, she moved back to the East Coast and felt her life coming together.
“I consciously decided, ‘I’ll just drink on dates,’” she says, laughing.
But when he was using — alcohol, cocaine, and meth — he “had more promiscuous sex,” including cheating on partners: “When I was feeling bad about myself, I’d have sex with some guy and he’d leave, and I’d feel used, and that would make me feel loved. He was insecure too.” That relationship imploded and they both relapsed. He says he and his fiancé talk openly, and he doesn’t keep secrets.
It goes back to my childhood.” “It was really, really weird to have sex sober,” Ryan says, of a relationship he had with someone he met in rehab. “I didn’t understand that someone could love me regardless of whether we had sex or not,” he says.
I had to question what I had been telling myself.” She didn’t tell the guy. In high school, he wasn’t a part of the crowd that smoked cigarettes across the street.She didn’t want to present herself as a nondrinker on her dating profile.“It’s like writing, ‘I’m a vegan.’ People have a very clichéd idea of what it means to be an alcoholic or in recovery.Her fear that she would become boring hasn’t been borne out. I felt like I was too much, that I wanted too much.“Not drinking didn’t stop me from having a foursome this weekend! Now I can enjoy, and I don’t have to clutch on to things. The sex I’m having is just light years better, physically and emotionally.” Everyone in Lee’s social circle drinks, and alcohol is served “literally everywhere” in his Texas town, including at the movie theater and Chuck E. He “quit cold-turkey” three years ago, after drinking heavily after living through a traumatic childhood and tour in Afghanistan.