What it's like to be a recovering addict on the dating scene
Fans of Channel 4's First Dates fell hard for Birmingham model and entertainer Danny Bennett on Tuesday night's show.
However, his blind date Kate wasn't as easy to win over, and she ended up turning him down after he told her he was a recovering drug addict.
It was a painful to watch Danny being rejected for being so upfront and honest about his past and his problems, but it seems Kate isn't on her own in how she reacted to the revelation.
We spoke to Danny, who is currently in Spain, about what it's like out there in the dating world as an unashamed recovering addict, and what his advice is for anyone else in a similar situation to him.
JOE: How long have you been clean?
Danny: It's just over three-and-a-half years now. I've had one relationship in that time that lasted for about 18 months.
In your episode of First Dates, were you reluctant to talk about your past?
I was reluctant to bring it up, but it came up in my interview about my not drinking. They asked if it was a lifestyle choice, and I said it was, because that's actually the truth now. But then we got into it a little more about my not drinking. I used to be ashamed, I genuinely did, but it's something I'm proud of now.
But you you understand why some people would choose not to talk about that, especially on a first date?
Absolutely, but at the same time, I tell people generally as a rule because I want someone to know who I am. I don't want to get into a situation where we're at a bar and they suggest we do a shot. I could get around that once by saying I was driving, but it might come up again, and it gets harder and harder to explain or dodge things if you're not being honest. So I just throw it out there. It's just lie upon lie otherwise.
Was Kate's reaction on the show fairly typical?
It was. Or people like it and think it's good for a bit, and then they decide otherwise. In my experience, it's more acceptable for people to go out and do drugs on a night out than it is for someone to have a drink. That's just the world we live in now. So I'd rather just get it out there, because I don't want to be put in that situation. I don't want to be around drugs. Sitting in bars, with people drinking, is fine, but I just don't want to be around drugs. I'll just remove myself from that situation.
You seemed quite hurt by the rejection on the show...
It was just disappointing to get the exact same reaction as I usually do. I was pretty sure it was going to happen, to be honest.
Does it ever get easier?
It always hurts, whether you like someone or not. It's not nice, is it, to be judged on that? I don't think it will get any easier as more time passes. People will continue to have the sane reaction, because I will always refer to myself as a recovering addict, never a recovered addict. That would mean I was being complacent, and the minute you get complacent and think, 'Oh, I'm fine now', that's when something bad might happen.
What would you say to people in the same boat as you who might be feeling a bit demoralised by rejection?
I'd say, 'Hold your head up', always say you're recovering, not recovered, and that's what makes you who you are. Remember you're being truthful and honest with people. I know other recovering addicts and they're all very nice, genuine people because that's how they stay clean and sober like me.
As soon as a recovering addict starts to lie or not be honest, that's when you can get into trouble again.
So you have faith that this won't hold you back in terms of finding love?
If people can handle it, cool; if they can't, their loss, isn't it?
You're still single?
I am. Maybe First Dates will ask me to come back on for another try.
If you or someone you know is living with an addiction, you can get help here.