5 Reasons Not to Date People in the Rooms
Need help? Call our 24/7 helpline. 855-933-3480

5 Reasons Not to Date People in the Rooms


This post was originally published on April 8, 2014.

There’s an unofficial rule in AA—one repeated over and over, throughout the land, by sponsors near and far. It’s a rule that nobody ever wants to hear and one that many of us break all the time.

“What rule is this?” you’re probably wondering. Said rule is: Don’t date—like, at all—for your first year in recovery.

I’m going to take that rule a little bit further and go as far as to suggest it may not be wise to date the rooms in the rooms at all. Here’s my logic behind such an emphatic proclamation.

1) There are predators up in there. 

Not to freak you out, but not everyone in the rooms of AA has a heart of gold. The recovery community is, overall, probably not any more skeevy than any other community. That said, there are predatory sorts in the rooms—guys looking for an easy hookup, people pulling the obnoxious 13-Step situation. Not looking for lovers in recovery is your safest bet at avoiding all that drama.

2) Everybody has issues (big ones). 

There’s no other way to say it, so I’m going to generalize here. But most folks who plummet low enough to require help for an addiction that’s making their lives hell generally aren’t the happiest, most stable bunch. Most of us are there, at least in part, because we have issues. Fairly big ones. Sobriety can help those issues, sure, but it can’t cure them, so plenty of folks in recovery are still somewhat damaged goods until they thoroughly process the shit out of themselves via therapy.

3) If/when it ends, you have to see them around all the time. 

One of the biggest potential pratfalls of dating someone else from the rooms is the humiliating dance of avoidance you have to pull off after you’ve broken up. Yup, post-relationship-disintegration, you have to see them around (and awkwardly try to avoid eye contact) constantly—you might even have to suffer through spotting them with their latest flame. Sound excruciating? Oh trust me, it is. You’ll probably be tempted to ditch the meetings you usually see them at, which may or may not cause further irritation and resentment.

4) What happens if they relapse?

Say you’re dating someone you met at your beloved Saturday night homegroup. Now say that someone’s program starts to lag and they start questioning their place in recovery. Say they suddenly decides they’re not addicted anymore and goes back out there to do more “research.” How would that make you feel? I’m guessing you’d be freaked out, worried, angry and unsure WTF you’re supposed to do next—just stand idly by while they revert to dangerous old behaviors?

5) You’ll get distracted from what matters.

You’re in recovery for a reason: to get sober and deal with your shit. That shot is a lot less apt to get resolved or even touched on if you’re focusing most of your energy on obsessing about your hot new relationship. Spending so much time with someone else inversely affects the time you have to dedicate to sobriety; you might even be tempted to pull away from the program altogether because your new squeeze is hogging so much of your time, excitement and energy.

Any Questions? Call Now To Speak to a Rehab Specialist
(855) 933-3480

About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and CNN.com. Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.