Amy Dresner – She Was 13th Stepped And She Kinda Liked It (3-9-14)

I discovered Amy Dresner while reading about a year ago and was instantly hooked by her honesty.

“Amy Dresner is your soul mate,” said a girl I was chasing at the time.

Here are some of my favorite Amy Dresner articles:

On 13th stepping:

When I had 60 days sober, I started dating an AA member with 19 years. His sponsor told him he could do what he wanted, as long as he was willing to pay the consequences. My sponsor told me it wasn’t a good idea because I was newly sober. I didn’t listen.

I liked the guy because he didn’t talk my ear off about recovery. Guys with four years tend to tell me how to work my program, and how they won’t get involved with me until I have a certain amount of time sober.

“How come you donʼt lecture me about my program?” I asked my old-timer one day.

“Because Iʼm trying to date you, not be your sponsor,” he told me. “And I donʼt consider you a ʻnewcomerʼ because you’ve been in and out of the program for 17 years. You just donʼt have any time.”

Sex and Dating in Sobriety:

In the beginning, the boys in AA kept me coming back. But ultimately, going cold turkey had to mean giving up more than just drinking and drugs.

The Fixes We Chase In Sobriety

Now that you’re sober, it’s time to sleep around, shop, guzzle on sugar and find other harmful ways to soothe your psyche. Or you could meditate and get a massage. Meet the good, the bad and the fugly of sober fixes.

Amy wrote for The Frisky about squirting. She wrote about hook-up culture. She has four articles on After Party Chat and a chapter in the new book Tales of Lust & Love.

I talk to Amy via Skype March 9, 2014. Here’s a transcript of the highlights.

Amy: “No one was at the gym. It’s my new obsession — working out. I want an ass like a Russian twerker. Stripper ass at 44. We’ll see if it happens.”

Luke: “When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

Amy: “A comedian. When I was six years old, I was watching Richard Pryor and I wanted to be a black comedian. People think I’m a black man on the phone.”

Luke: “What did your parents expect from you?”

Amy: “I did very well in school and very well in college and like every LA brat, I thought about acting. My dad’s a screenwriter. My godmother is a casting director. They wanted me to do anything but act… I dabbled in that for a while and realized I couldn’t be anyone but myself. Then I did fashion for seven years and comedy for five years and now I’m writing, which my dad is thrilled about.”

Luke: “What clique were you in in high school?”

Amy: “The smart, straight-girl clique, not the cool girl clique. I didn’t get out of control until later. I went to Westlake, an all-girls private uniform school where Tori Spelling went. I guess girls were doing blow off their new BMWs at 7:30 a.m. but I didn’t know about that. I was lagging. Everyone else was drinking and having sex. I was a virgin and didn’t start to drink until the second year of college.”

Luke: “What was the happiest time of your childhood?”

Amy: “Saturdays when I was ten or twelve and my father used to take me bowling and to the sticker store and I would dress up in my god-mother’s expensive designer clothing and smoke pretzels in her Jaguar.”

Luke: “Were there any signs in childhood that you were going to have these addiction problems?”

Amy: “I started to get pretty depressed around 15. That was pretty much it. I was a happy kid until then. I always felt alone and different and weird. I always felt like there was something wrong with me. There’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family.”

“My mom worked a lot but my dad worked from home when he wasn’t at the studio. He was active in my life. I had my dolls and writing little screenplays. Dirt bikes, swimming, kissing boys. I was pretty normal.”

Luke: “When did you first fall in love?”

Amy: “If it’s unrequited, is that love or is that obsession? The person I lost my virginity to was the playboy of college. I was madly in love with him. It took me years to get over him.”

“I fell in love again around 33 with a marine who was just back from Afghanistan. We had a long-distance thing for six months and when that ended, I lost my mind.”

Luke: “What was being in love like?”

Amy: “Painful. I never felt good enough. I didn’t feel that I looked right. I was too funny, too aggressive. He [the devirginator] would date a lot of girls who seemed bright and that confused me. Being raised by a father and raised to be someone’s emotional wife, you think men want women who are like them — smart, funny, aggressive, but my father has never been with women like that, and when I got out in the world, men didn’t want that either. They were like, eww, you’re too much like me… Men found me too aggressive and assertive and smart and funny. I never thought that was bad stuff. It takes a very smart guy to roll like that and not be intimidated. You asked if I got sick of being objectified, as a smart women, you never get tired of being objectified.

“On Tindr, people love my photos and then as soon as I open my big mouth, I alienate them within ten minutes.”

Amy finds herself wanting guys who are unavailable. “I see red flags a lot and I ignore them.”

“I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 19. And then I was celibate for seven years, from 27 to 33. I was never promiscuous. This is a new thing for me. It’s a new way to check-out. It’s a response to an ugly divorce, wanting to disprove what an ex said about you. the love addiction stuff is the most painful stuff. I never tried to kill myself over sex addiction. I have tried to kill myself over the ending of relationships.”

Luke: “Have you had an experience of love that made you feel whole?”

Amy: “Can I cry over Skype? Not for an extended time.”

Luke: “What are you most proud of?”

Amy: “I’m most proud of my courage in my writing… I write to own what I’m ashamed of, to say the thing that people are thinking that no one dares say.”

Luke: “What role have your looks played in your self-esteem?”

Amy: “I’ve always been insecure… I hate having my photo taken. Skype is brutal. It’s amazing I ever get laid with the way I look on Skype. I must be f***ing blind people… I even went into treatment for body dysmorphic disorder, which is where you think something is wrong with your looks.”

“Growing up in LA with a father who liked shiksas [Amy’s mom is not Jewish], I always felt too Jewish. I didn’t want to be Jewish. I wanted to be goyim.”

“I don’t like being dressed up. It makes me feel too vulnerable, like I’m on a platter, so I usually dress down.”

“Now that I can’t get high, creativity is the one thing that makes me feel connected and gives me self-esteem and makes me happy. Its something I need to do. I have to write. It’s a compulsion.”

“The 12-step program has worked for me but I was sober for seven years without it. My mom has been sober for 30 years and she’s not in the program.”

“Everyone’s cross-addicted now. When I got sober 20 years ago, no one would let you talk about drugs and now everyone is cross-addicted. Oh, it’s all the same. I can get addicted to anything — exercise, sleep, meditation, sex. If I can check out with it and get high, I’m behind it.”

Luke: “What do you think about God?”

Amy: “I struggle with that. I believe in a Higher Power and the Universe but I don’t call it God except for when I’m over-dosing on the bathroom floor and then it’s ‘Help me God!’ I don’t think God’s an integral part of getting sober. Twelve steps is cognitive behavior therapy.”

Luke: “Do you think there’s any kind of psychic or spiritual tie that happens once you have sex with somebody?”

Amy: “God, I’ve never thought about that, but now that you’ve said it, I’m horrified at that thought. Now I probably won’t sleep with anyone again unless I want to marry them thanks to that comment.”

Luke: “What are your biggest questions about men?”

Amy: “I don’t know what they want. It’s confusing. Although my marriage didn’t work out, at one point he really loved me and loved that I was smart and kinda wild. A lot of men think I could be fun but they don’t necessarily want a relationship with me. The people are attracted are either people who want to save me or people who think I’m a wild freak or other people who’ve struggled with the same stuff.”

“I tried for a long time to change myself into what I thought men wanted and I just didn’t feel authentic. I feel like the right guy will say, she’s smart, she’s wild, she’s out there she’s lived a life, she’s amazing. I want someone who can accept the way I am. I reveal too much too early and people can get freaked out. They don’t have an investment then. They don’t know the entirety of me. On paper, I don’t look very good.”

Luke: How did you try to change yourself?

Amy: “Softer, more feminine, and not as aggressive and assertive and intellectual and not being the funny one.”

“I live with someone [in sober living] who just had a baby. No one thought I would be good with the baby because I pretend to be such a hard-ass, but anyone who knows me know I’m very very sensitive and that’s just armor to protect me because I’ve been hurt. I’m amazing with this baby and the baby loves me. What opens for me with the baby is a real nurturing, maternal, pure, loving, vulnerable side of myself that I don’t see very often and I’m trying to connect with that more. If a man is strong and sees through my BS, I like to go more into my feminine energy. I like to be in my feminine energy and be more receptive and softer. I have my hair in a bun for you today. I’m trying to look all pretty.”

Luke: “Would you rather date a felon or a Republican?”

Amy: “A felon for sure.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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