In my life, most of my relationships have been alcoholic. I was the drinker, or my partner was the drinker, or we both were. Since I stopped drinking, my relationships have mostly consisted of neither of us drinking, but at least one of us bearing the scars of our previous lives.

My first “real” relationship as an adult consisted of two heavy drinkers. We thought we were social drinkers, fitting in with the crowd, partying, etc. We drank every night and awoke the next day, every day, with a hangover. We drank to get rid of the hangover. We drank to celebrate. We drank to commiserate.

We also fought like cats and dogs and the police were regulars at our front door. I was always bearing the scar of a fight with a few broken bones along the way. I would turn up at work with a black eye, a wicked scratch or bruise, and sometimes a limb in a cast. Never once did I attribute this fighting to alcoholism. We broke up after two horrendous years.

My next relationship involved me being the heavy drinker and I actively tried to recruit my partner to join me. I would replace his drink with a full one every time he went to the bathroom. I would lie about the time – even changing the time on my watch – so that he would stay later and drink more with me. We also fought all the time and eventually broke up.

My first non-alcoholic relationship was longer, but not nearly as exciting. I was bored, he was bored, and the only thing we had in common was that neither of us drank. We broke up.

Finding a working non-alcoholic relationship in an alcoholic world is a hard thing to do.