sober13 wrote:What does the big book or Bill W. say about personal relationships with the opposite sex early in recovery ? I have heard not to get into any personal relationship for with any women for the 1st or 2nd year of recovery .
This is an excellent question, and i hate to have my first post here (hi all!) be a disagreement with a fellow member, but I don't see the issue of newcomer relationships as an outside issue for the simple reason that it happens in AA! This is only my opinion, and i certainly do not speak for AA as a whole.
I believe that the most pertinant information the big book has in it regarding this is something not directly about relationships. It says:
"We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us".
One of the most powerful things we have in our AA toolkit is the vast experience of AA as a whole. We in AA all understand and acknowledge the necessity of developing a concept and a relationship with a higher power. Hell - the big book says that's the whole point of the book! And it has been our experience that in a lot of cases (including my own), newcomers who end up in relationships have a lot of difficulty with this phase of development due to a reliance on this new person for things that only their Higher Power can provide - most of all, emotional stability.
As the old joke goes - how can you tell that a newcomer is in a relationship? The moving van.
but in the end, the "no relationships in the first year/before the steps are done/etc" suggestion is still only that - a suggestion. And as we can all identify with, sometimes we need to experience some pain before we become entirely willing. Some sponsors are pretty adamant about this suggestion, others (like myself) take what i like to call the "Willie Wonka" approach (rolling my eyeballs and looking at my fingernails saying "no. stop. come back"), still others may say HECK YEAH - GO FOR IT MAYBE YOU'LL GET MARRIED NEXT MONTH. Whichever way, the sponsor still has a pretty keen idea that it's not something that will likely work out. And the newcomer will usually try it out anyways. Once again, John Barleycorn remains our best advocate. I had one sponsee who has been a chronic relapser for the last 8 years, and every single relapse began with a girl. Not to say that the old UNDER EVERY SKIRT IS A SLIP is at all fair or accurate. It's nonsense - it's never someone else's fault we go out.
Of course, this suggestion is just a subset of the suggestion of "don't make any major changes in your first year or whatever". When we're drinking, our life goes to hell. Jobs, relationships, money, homelife - you name it. The simple fact is that when we hit bottom what we are really experiencing is the first and the last moment of clarity we have had and will have for a very long time
. When the fog lifts after a couple of days or weeks, our natural inclination is OH GOD I NEED TO GET MY LIFE TOGETHER I NEED THIS HIGH-PAYING JOB AND A WOMAN/MAN AND SO ON. With this mindset, we are still just as crazy as we were when drinking and as we can all pretty much agree, sanity is almost never restored by external solutions and when it is, it is fleeting at best.
The other problem is when the AA with some time engages a newcomer in a relationship - 13th stepping. Once again, there is nothing in the Big Book that flatly prohibits this behavior, but there isn't much good to say for it. We create a dependancy in this newcomer, we jeapordize their recovery, and we ultimately end up hurting ourselves as well.
To wit: the woman who introduced me to AA over 10 years ago had 8 years of sobriety at the time. She immediately started what was just an innocent sexual relationship with me. This quickly turned into an on-again-off-again relationship for my first year. I was the epitome of the confused newcomer. My sponsor had three years, and he was telling me "she's as crazy as you are - you need to get away from her", meanwhile she with 8 years was telling me "stay away from those AA nazis"!
Somehow, by the grace of God, I stayed sober throughout that time and still am. She started drinking a month after we finally broke up for the last time (I had about 18 months) and is still drinking to this day.
WOW! Enough out of me! But that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!