The front row was filled with semi-bangable young women. All brunettes, all in their early twenties, all staring raptly at the speaker. The speaker—well, she was a knockout. 23, strawberry blonde, with a delicate, lilting accent and the candid, wide-eyed look that only someone relatively new to recovery tends to have. Next to her sat Miss X, the matriarch of the London recovery circuit, a mini-celebrity in the borough of Chelsea at least. Miss X, who is in her seventies now, has all the pretty young women under her wing as ‘sponsees’ (that is, she mentors them and helps them to stay away from alcohol and drugs, one day at a time). She also acts in the unofficial capacity of chief cockblock in this and many other meetings.
On entering the room and slipping into my seat I felt the usual sense of familiarity and relief spread over me, but then I’ve been going to these things for over 15 years now, so they feel like home to me, kind of.
As I sat there and listened to the speaker yap on about her battle with booze and narcotics and her subsequent recovery I was reminded of an observation from long-time commentator Ghost of Jefferson over on ROK under my post on running game and dating without the aid of alcohol. Basically, Ghost’s theory was that AA meetings would be a great place to meet girls, particularly if you feigned a similar background in over-indulgence and excess, now tempered by sobriety and a taste for sitting on plastic chairs drinking weak coffee with strangers in church basements several times a week.
Now, Ghost is a great guy who knows what he’s talking about in most cases, but on this issue we’re going to have to disagree. Recovery groups (AA, NA, CA, DA, GA, SA, SLAA and all the rest of them) are basically microcosms of society at large (as I suspect all niche groups are), and as such they each contain their own sexual marketplace with its SMV hierarchy as well as various rules and restrictions.
Alpha is Alpha, Beta is Beta
The first thing the PUA hoping to score some poon in a recovery group would have to look out for is the cockblocking, which is practically institutional. Given that men and women alike come to recovery groups to recover from the disease of addiction (and yes, it is a disease, and yes, it can kill you) it is perhaps understandable that the older women cluster around the young hotties like firebrands, scaring off would-be suitors with harsh looks (at best) and brutal public shaming (at worst).
The second thing is that, assuming your PUA was an actor not really suffering from alcoholism or addiction, but merely an ‘adventurer’, as the Victorians would say, he would have to acclimatise himself to a hell of a lot of recovery language, terms, sayings and customs in order to appear even half-way convincing. It’s not as simple as turning up and making a beeline for the cute train-wrecks with a few platitudes about having drunk to forget a miserable childhood. Women in recovery, particularly those in their early days, are incredibly vulnerable, but they’re not stupid. Even a chick three weeks off the bottle and two ‘in the rooms’ can spot a serious AA dude from an opportunist at twenty paces (and if you haven’t heard the phrase ‘in the rooms’ before then you’ve really not studied enough to try recovery pick up).
But even if you did learn all the lingo, concoct a convincing back story and then attend enough meetings to engineer a persona sufficiently convincing to beguile a Big Book sort, the other thing you’ll have to contend with is the alphas who are also in recovery. For make no mistake about it, these guys may have been drunks but they’re not all dressed in coats held together with string and smocks knitted out of hay. On the London recovery circuit there are some extremely rich, extremely handsome, extremely successful men. Hell, there are also some extremely famous men (and women, too). I’ve attended meetings with TV stars, movies stars, world-famous rock gods, models and god knows what else. That being the case, how easy do you think it would be for a callow beta to rock up and get a piece of the pie?
OK, most people reading this are not going to go to rehab or recovery meetings and perhaps their culture is not particularly your thing. But nevertheless there’s a larger point here, and that is that any group, workplace, club, government office, library, whatever, will have it’s pecking order. In recovery groups, as in the outside world, alpha is alpha, beta is beta, and SMV is SMV. Quite aside from the ethical considerations inherent in trying to bang birds trying to get off a habit you must realise that there really is no ‘poosey paradise’—whatever you do you’d better make sure you’re working on your SMV as hard as possible, because you will always be judged on it by men and women, no matter what milieu you find yourself in.
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