Dating Sober

If you’ve been reading my ramblings long enough, you’re at least vaguely aware that I’ve been single for some time. I like to tell people it’s been about ten years, but that’s a little misleading. It’s been ten years since I’ve been in a serious, committed relationship but I’ve dated women here and there up until the time I decided to get sober.

Since my sobriety, dating has become incredibly difficult. Not only are there the women who predictably don’t want to talk to a self-confessed alcoholic, but a lot of the people I encounter in my day-to-day life are very active addicts themselves. Just in the last two months, I’ve almost gone out with a woman who accidentally let slip that she was a codependent meth-addict, a woman who drank to intoxication every night with her children in her careĀ but didn’t think it was a big deal, and then just today I was inspired to write this post by another incident.

There’s this girl, let’s call her Annie, whom I’ve known for probably close to a decade. She used to work for me at the first restaurant I managed and we hung out a few times back then, had a little fun, and then I ended up moving to the west coast. I’ve always liked her and we have chatted here and there over the years. Fast forward to today, I get a friend request from her on Facebook and find out she’s living in the same town as I am!

Naturally, I was excited. Here was fairly lonely, single Brian finding out that one of the women he had been feverishly attracted to was a stone’s throw away and was showing interest in reconnecting again. We talked for a bit, flirted a little, and I have to say she still looks just as beautiful as she did ten years ago… plus a few more tattoos.

Then I started getting hit with the 1-2-3 knockout punches. First she tells me she’s on probation, then she was at a party last night and couldn’t call her testing facility because she was drunk. Finally, the home run was that she told me she wanted to hang out on her lunch break at her job but asked me if I could bring some pain killers if I had any.

Jesus. Effing. Christ.

She turned out to be pretty messed up, the more we talked. Very disheartening, of course, but I understand that her problems have nothing to do with me. While I could be depressed that I’d hooked yet another drug addict who likely wanted to use me for money (which I don’t have, don’t even worry about that), I’m grateful that I’m now mindful and present enough to not go and see her anyway… because the old me totally would have and it would have been a huge mistake.

Hopefully, she quits while she still has her looks. She likely won’t stay out of jail for long with the way she’s behaving and maybe that’s what she needs.

Raskolnikov’s Burden

Just before I left for my forest vacation two weeks ago, I set a goal for myself to read 10 books by the end of 2019. My rationale was at around 200-300 pages per book, I could read between 25-30 pages a day and this goal would be easy to hit. As with any new habit, I left the gate strong! In two weeks I finished Thoreau’s Walden and Machiavelli’s The Prince. I wanted to change it up a bit so, for my third book, I switched to fiction and started reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky.

Big mistake! The philosophical-fiction novel is really challenging my reserve. Not only is it much longer than I planned for, my copy clocking in at around 500 pages, but it is dreadfully boring. It took me a full 7-day week to hit page 95. When I read Walden and The Prince, I was excited to sit down with them every evening and learn something new, even if I didn’t agree with them. I dread seeing the “25pp Crime” slot approach on my day planner. Most days this week, I ignored it and went to bed or played around on my phone or computer instead.

So, the question I’m asking myself is should I finish it? It’s definitely considered a classic and my goal is to read as many of the classics as I can. Should I finish reading the book because of this, because I’ve already started it, and to test my willpower? Or should I give in to what every neuron in my brain is telling me and switch to another book? I’m not sure, but I think I would feel like I’ve failed at something if I did that.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure isn’t fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill’s mindset suggests that I should continue despite my nerves about it. However, Churchill also said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” I could easily stumble from Crime and Punishment to a book that I enjoy more, right? Ha!

No, I think I will finish the book. When I think about how great I will feel when the last page is turned and I’ve gleaned the message behind all of the insipid writing, I am motivated. Although taxing, I have learned a bit about Dostoevsky’s world through what I’ve read thus far. Raskolnikov is a true misanthrope, the likes of whom I’ve never read before. Chapter two of the first act also contains one of the best portrayals of alcoholism I’ve read yet. For that alone, I recommend at least skimming through the book.