I Want a Free Man, Not an Addict.
Deciding I’d only date over six-foot-tall, Jewish men who looked Greek with an S-starting last name, long hair and facial stubble, gave me a greater choice pool than dating in sobriety.
When I was into using addicts, it was like, grab a drink and get in line to join my rotation. I would cycle through them, wine cold, speed setting fast. Washed-up was so much easier than clean and dry.
Walking into my first AA meeting was heaven. Entire sections dedicated to the lost boys in rehab. So many baby addicts. All needing a Wendy nurturing caretaker with some Tinkerbell magic to brighten their dark days. But you don’t date in your first year of sobriety.
When converting to Judaism, I had Hasidic Jews who were prepared to overlook the status of my conversion in order to date me. You’re not Jewish yet! The promise was enough to bend the rules.
In sobriety, it’s steps in line, let’s get in formation. How much time do you have? What step are you on? Ah, Step Four, yes. No, I’m not free to go on a hike with you. Can’t go off-track down that trail, thanks!
Boys and booze. The two-point combination was my constant compensation. My replacement companion. Now, it’s desert-dry.
The addict options are all still there, but it’s different now. What was once palatable, when washed down with wine, is boring to the bone without.
It’s press Play, past conversations on repeat, and I’ve heard it all before. The “It wasn’t my fault,” “I’m not like everybody else,” “I’ll show them all,” coupled with a detesting of authority and no personal autonomy other than the weed and the booze and the drugs of choice. Always by choice.
Because of boredom, it’s freedom by intoxication. The daily alleviation that leaves them salivating for more. Numbed out. Disconnected and discontent. Talking about the glory days of their past and this dream for a huge future that shows no signs of arriving anytime soon.
And in my dysfunction, I’d lap it up, mirroring back the void that more could fill if it was just ever enough. “You really get me!” they’d muse, opening up, leaning in. Yes, I speak Addict 101. I’m fluent in your language. It’s my native tongue.
But I’m enchanted by a new magical language now. “Higher power. One day at a time. Keep coming back. It works if you work it, and you’re worth it.” The deeper beauty in everything, unfiltered by beer goggles. I can’t go back to the delusion. The incessant intrusion of thoughts congesting my mind. The “What’s wrong with me?” and “Is this all there is?” I have a map pointing me in a new direction now.
With promises of happy, joyous and free after 12 suggested steps, how could I not explore? Is this the more I’ve been looking for?
And if I journey with anyone, he needs to be clear of conscious mind. Courageous enough to not drink with the boys and have one for the road. No more sheep-men, herded into caged conformity by the normalization of our addiction culture. A free man is not an addict. He isn’t reliant on substance. A man who abuses his body will abuse you too. He’s programmed to self-destruct.
But a man, in program, is on a path to true liberation. A man who has overcome, discovered, recovered.
I want an Addict 2.0. A man who has next-leveled himself. The progressive addict, the sober one.
So I’ll suck it up for six more months. I’ll pay my dues. Because if it’s worth it, you’ll wait for it.