- Personal relationships in early recovery

Personal relationships in early recovery




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Personal relationships in early recovery

Postby sober13 » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:37 pm

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 .
Thanks .
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Postby Dallas » Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:23 pm

Hey Sober13,

Your question would fit better in the "Singles in Recovery" or "Relationships" topics of the forum.

Big Book, Page 69: "One school would allow man no flavor for his fare and the other would have us all on a straight pepper diet. We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct."

For me, that means that I want to stay out of the controversy, and it's none of my business what someone else does and that it's better for me to have no opinion about what someone else is doing.

When I was finally "new to AA with an attutude to stay" I got serious about getting comfortable in my own skin, and keeping my life as simple as possible... until I could learn how to stay sober one day at a time... for a bunch of consecutive days in a row! Being in relationships had never been one of my stronger assets.... I was well experienced in getting into them, but I didn't know how to get out of them... when it would become obvious that it was time to leave, and the relationships weren't working out. I had spent most of my life in an "alcohol altered state" and wasn't sure what I wanted anyway.... So, I decided to put relationships on the back burner of my life and spend the time learning about me, and learning how to stay sober... and to be happy with me while I was sober.

Dallas
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Re: Personal relationships in early recovery

Postby cinderbobble » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:59 pm

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 .
Thanks .


I agree w/Dallas, staying out of controversy, I think it goes along the lines of, 'no opinions on outside issues.' This is the reason my sponsor never nayed or yayed my early relationships (not many really). She was only interested in me doing the steps, and that was a full time job in itself. My best advice to you, is, if you don't have a sponsor, get one! That will be the very best gift along w/the BB to get yourself in early sobriety.
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Re: Personal relationships in early recovery

Postby Mr Burble » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:57 pm

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 .
Thanks .


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!
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Postby cinderbobble » Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:01 pm

Hey, Mr. Burble, there is no offense taken to differing with me. Thank you for your insights! I will certainly think on what you have shared!
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what does AA say

Postby wareagle10 » Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:23 am

Well, I don't know what AA says about relationships, or not! I have heard so many things that I don't think anyone knows what the hell they are talking about. I have heard that you don't get involved in the first year, I've heard that you don't make any major moves in the first year, I've heard you don't move period in the first year, I've heard that it no ones business what you do in the first year (including your sponsor).

I guess the reason that so much is made of it is that when we first come into AA that we are fragile and extremely vulnerable and that our decision making is not the best. I know that I forgot to zip up my pants most of the time (if I hadn't been so sick it would have been embarrassing). I do know that in the beginning some of us feel that we were unlovable (true) and that when we begin to get well (?) we want to see if we are now lovable and that leaves us open to all sorts of mind altering events. It has the ability to keep us from paying attention to the things that we need to pay attention to, like the BB and the 12 & 12 and just trying to get our heads straight. We split our attention and then do not attend to either one which generally, in my opinion and experience, leads to a heartache or a slip and in some events at the same time.

If a newcomer tells me that they are involved with someone and ask me my opinion, I lie, I tell them I don't have one (I have an opinion on everything). I stay out of matters of the heart and leave that to others to sort out. If they want help with the steps or book I will give them what I have to offer, if that's not sufficient and they want more I try to direct them to a person that I feel is more qualilfied and has more experience, shake their hand and bid them good luck and farewell. I genuinely mean that, there is nothing more hurting than to see an aimless alcoholic trying to recover.

So there you have it, my opinion, it's like the proverbial rearend, everyone has one. That's about all its worth.

Take care and straight ahead, John.
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Personal relationships......

Postby Dustintodust » Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:04 pm

Well.......my parents met in AA they were married at a club and i turned out fine :lol: do what you have to do at any stage of life but there is a part of the big book that suggests what we hold our relatiomships to im sure one of my fellow thumpers can point you in the right direction me personally i have to pray to not give into the urge to get a cup of coffee and talk about god with every new commer who smiles at me with that "you would make a good higher power" smile....If your a mess when you come in here it is safe to say that any woman who will date you is probably a mess 2 so knowing that dont bitch about how sick or crazy she is after she steals your underwear and burns her name in your lawn with gasoline when you try to leave her....
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Postby Dallas » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:51 pm

You know... I was just thinking of this... and I decided that
It would be okay with me... if she burns her name with gasoline in my lawn.... but I just couldn't accept it... if she decided to burn her name with gasoline in my shorts... at least not while I'm wearing them!!!

Whenever I hear the "remember... no relationships for a year" mantra ... my head usually chimes in with "and, remember... not to drink in your first year, either! No drinking in your first year of sobriety!" :lol:
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RIGHT ON

Postby Dustintodust » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:51 am

Right on dallas
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Personal relationships

Postby JezUK » Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:47 pm

Just logged onto this site for the 1st time, respect is due to you!! great step 4 sheets too.
I was mysteriously drawn to this discussion... I was "13th stepped" at 5 months by a 10 yr AA and I most certainly had my part to play but at the same time it did my head in and I felt distant from AA. Did I learn, did I heck, I was a very grateful AA but really for 2 years I kept on making the same mistakes around women and at 2.5 yrs having qualified to teach english was meant to go to Moscow, ended up in Spain, panic attacks, sleeping on peoples floors, suicidal(hhmmm all sounds familiar!))... etc and yes a relationship played a part. What did I learn? well I changed sponsor(God played a major part) and re-did the steps from the Big book rather than the 12/12 recovery I had acheived and wishy washy there,there pat on the head approach to sponsorship, oh boy can we kill with well intentioned kindness. Anyhow, rant over but it took me to be broken in recovery, sick to death of by behaviour and not changing to find out what was "really" wrong with me and desperately realise that lack of power was my dilema and that my way didn't work.
So having learnt all this you think I would have it cracked as a sponsor in handling these situ's, ha ha ha.....
I pass on this tale in the hope it may help, I had a sponsee who got involved with a half way house, treatment centre, handful of meetings girl and he was only 8 months. I tried so desperately to get him to see it from her perspective, the damage he could do etc. and yes I guess I put my moral standards on the situ and didn't let him have his own. It built a wall between us and was the downfall of our relationship and try as I mght he just wouldn't budge.. Anyhow, i had forgotten what I had needed for my recovery and If someone had prevented me from my path I may not have the beautiful relationship i have found in God and the gift of the big book. I have no right to judge anothers behaviour and maybe I had better trust God a little bit more in his handling of others and not just me, he is better qualified after all!!
My own personal take on it today is that I stay away from the girls in AA, I am there to help newcomers, enrich my sobriety through fellowship, carry the big book message and keep God firmly on the agenda.
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