“Sober sexual relationships are often difficult because we developed the habit of using alcohol to blur the lines of our own personal inhibitions and judgements. Without alcohol, sexual relationships require a huge amount of trust and self-confidence that many in recovery do not feel like they possess at that moment in their lives at least until you have regained a sense of who you are in sobriety, it’s pretty scary”.
So I have started to regain this confidence, and I’m making a huge conscious effort to relax and trust the ‘romantic interest’.
I’m in recovery but must remember that ‘my partner’ has chosen me because they are genuinely attracted to me and want to have a relationship with me. In a healthy relationships your partner should not be focused on the way your stomach bulges in certain positions or the state look when you wake up. They simply want to enjoy being with you. It’s easy to forget that.
Recovery has been such a huge thing in my life for the last 12 months that I forget it may not be such a big deal to others…at least on the outside.
I guess that is why so many people in AA end up finding partners also in AA. There is an innate understanding of all that the individual has gone through. But in a way it shouldn’t be necessary. So like my post on anonymity, if I want the stigma of addiction to be reduced I should also see my recovery in the same way. It is mine, but it does not define me, who I am or who I seek to be with.
Maybe my partner does understand the mechanics of addictions and recovery, maybe they don’t. What matters is that a relationship is built on healthy trust, openness, honesty and bravery, in the case of this recovering alcoholic!
It is not the purpose of this blog to discuss the mechanics of sex sober, but of sexual relationships and their place in recovery. Its a very personal journey and involves a huge amount of trust. Given that, I cannot write more about more intimate details without breaking that trust, so it’s another line I will not cross here. But from what I have read…I think I’m going to be stumbling and fumbling like an innocent teenager again with all the angst, worry and tension of those days.
Never a dull moment ….
So what happens next….
I don’t know so it’s time to leave the comfort zone and head into the unknown, yet again. But this time my actions will directly affect someone else which brings its own set of worries and uncertainties. Sex with someone knew is always fraught with emotions and worries. Sober…that’s a while keeping new level of worry!!!
Here is the article that prompted this post…by an actual writer no less:-) They are not in recovery but it’s important for me NOT to link what I’m going through now with recovery but to see it for what it is. Something new, exciting and unknown.
I haven’t yet taken the leap she has but I am heartened to read that it would be foolish to expect too much, on either side.
Don’t not get me wrong, I’m in no hurry to have my nose nearly broken or obsess over the first post sex text, but that day will come one day. And it seems appropriate to write about it today.
Until yesterday, I’d seen Marc every day since getting home, and sometimes twice. We’ve been out to eat and on urban strolls, to the pub and to look at art. I’ve now lost count of the number of dates we’ve had. “Hang on, I’ll have to think how many” is probably the right number to signal the beginning of a sexual relationship. (At least for me. You can do what you like.)
We’ve eaten out, been shopping, drunk beer and … had sex. We’ve arrived at something, somewhere I was afraid might be the end and that he was sure would be the beginning, and it’s hard to say what will happen next.
The sex, you see, wasn’t great. I know – almost all first sex isn’t great. It so commonly isn’t that it’s almost a defining situation. I was really nervous, which didn’t help. I avoided a full unveiling by ensuring that we relocated from his sofa and out of bright light at a key moment. I sent him off ahead to close the blinds and turned off the already dimmed main light in his bedroom (he laughed), and approached the duvet with so much haste – hoping to be a blur – that I almost broke his nose. Part under the covers, I got the chance to present myself in the only way I could bear to: in the dark, half aware that I was shielding my stomach with a carefully placed forearm. All that self-consciousness wasn’t ideal for letting go of the mind and becoming a sensory being.
The momentous event took place in a silence that continued afterwards, when I lifted his arm to put my head on his shoulder. I had to go to the bathroom and he turned on his lamp and made fun of me for feeling the need to put my shirt on from a sitting position in the bed. That was essential, though, to avoid being seen standing up in my full glory. (I was ready for sex but I wasn’t ready for that.) I had chosen a loose shirt that falls to the thigh for this occasion, so I could be casual about hiding myself. I rushed off and galloped back, attempting jollity, as if I’d missed him, but honestly, I just wanted to get home. A kind of humiliation had already struck. When I came back to the bed he wondered if I’d like a strong drink, because he was having one.
No explicit criticism of anything surrounding the question of performance was made; we didn’t talk about it. But I did wonder. There’s so much written, now, about male expectation, about extreme grooming and the necessity of being toned, and all that. The question I find myself asking myself is this: just what kind of sex do bachelors like Marc have, or expect to have? I’ve been out of the loop, regarding sexual culture, for so long, having been married a long time and thus far unsuccessful in the dating pool.
I don’t know how many other women he’s slept with or if he watches a lot of porn; I’m not quite neurotic enough to ask. But a miasma of disappointment hung around us for the rest of that evening, drinking gin on his masculine sofa in his masculine pad. It’s a classic of the genre: all greys and blacks, print-free, painting-free, with expensive lighting, full of technology.
Giant fridge with ice maker: check. Shower made for two: oh yes. All these cues and prompts were feeding into my nervousness. The fact that he has a lot of magazines (consumer, motor, music, culture) and hardly any books. The fact that his music collection seems to be all post-1990, even if it does include some excellent film music. The fact that his stove looks far too shiny and new for someone who, according to his dating profile, likes to cook to relax. I did think: wow, we are really unalike.
Yesterday my post-sex text message had three kisses on it. “Are we doing anything tonight?” I asked. It wasn’t a new question. It was the one he’d asked me the day I got back. He didn’t answer until just before 8pm. “Sorry! Just got this. Not tonight. Tired.” No kisses: instead, that smiley emoticon, one smiling so insincerely that I wanted to stab it in the eye. I replied saying, “What about tomorrow? Film?”
“Not tomorrow or day after; my mother’s here,” he said. “But I’m free the day after that.” The day after that is arranged.