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.
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Postby anniemac » Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:21 pm

thanks, Dallas...

I'd like to add how our "spiritual axiom" is really what changed my life this past year. When I used to hear that if something is disturbing us about someone else, there is something wrong with us - I thought it meant that the "something wrong with us" was about us not being "on the beam" enough to be tolerant and forgiving.

However, this past year I have learned that the "something wrong with us" is the same thing that is bothering me about the other person. So, more precicely, if something is disturbing us about someone else, that same thing is wrong with us, or more simply put, "you spot it, you got it".

This may not hold true for everyone in every situation, but let me tell you, it has been shockingly true in my marriage. I guess put in to psychological (oh, no, hope I didn't trigger anyone with that word! lol!) terms, I project my own failings on to my husband and then blame him for them. Or he mirrored my failings and spotlighted them and reflected them back at me. I only had to open my mind a fraction of an inch to be willing to observe. Step 6 came in to play big-time....witnessing when and why and how I relied on my defects of character to make my husband out to be the bad guy and to try to come out of it all lily-white.

It's really mind-blowing how percption is 99% of reality.

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Postby Dallas » Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:03 pm

More great stuff, Anne!!! :wink: Keep it coming!


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Postby Tommy » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:56 pm

old post but worth re-visiting
I agree with JEZ
I believe following the basic suggestions are the best way.Now you can do what you want too,but if I am asked by a new guy to be his sponser,I am strict about this.
I put him on the spot at the start and let him decide what he as his sponser or a gal..or a guy..whatever

I sponser a gay guy.He went off chasing guys 5 months sober..
he had a relationship for about 3 weeks with someone outside of AA,and then he found out his lover was HIV +
He almost committed sucide...sober
but he weathered the storm sober and he later came back to ask me to sponser him again ...sure..
he had gotten it out pf his system and knew he was wrong...
but that don`t stop HIV

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Postby Returned_Here » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:10 pm

For me, what I have heard others say, to not be a counselor or a guardian of someone else's behavior or life fits well. I am completely powerless over someone else's behavior or actions, as truly, they will do what they wish in full view or in secret regardless~ if thier desire is strong enough. Just as I did.

I was only 3 months sober when I had my first mini relationship, and that ended abruptly from realizing we were on completely different paths in life. We both walked away with hurt and angry feelings. Those who I was attracted to then, are not who I am attracted to today. My thinking has completely and dramatically changed in my choices and my viewpoints.

At over 5 years in sobriety, I am being patient and waiting observently for someone who better matches my goals for the rest of my life. When I first came in, I was just looking for love and sex. (Not necessarly in that order.)

My actions are so much different today than they were when I first came into the rooms, and my choices and thinking are different also.

I know today to have the right person in my life, I have to BE the right person because I will attract what I am and what I am seeking. If sex is the focus of my search, I might receive sex, but the rest of the package might be severely lacking. They may be dishonest, unrecovered from other addictions (such as sexual, spam, drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling, ...), they may have hidden anger and rage issues, or their goals in life may not match mine but they might temporarily be able to convince me that they do. After a period of time, I will see that this is not what I want. The situation might get ugly and cause a relapse by either party.

If I am looking for financial security, again, the same may hold true in all areas, and I could come out miserable during the relationship or breakup of it.

If I am seeing the full package, keeping my eyes open, and seeing this person or people from all angles, while dating with a purpose higher than temporarily satisfaction or instant gratification, my chances of finding the right partner or companion are much greater.

If my sole purpose is for sexual gratification, I need to be sure my partner knows this and accepts it as such so that there is less of a chance of hurt feelings afterwards. For many of us in the program, sexual promiscuity was common. Disease is possible, curable as well as incurable.

I need to realize that in early sobriety and before the program has begun to have the best benefit on my life I am not well spiritually, emotionally or mentally and I will not be the best possible date/partner/relationship for them either. Until my thinking and choices have had a overhaul from the program, I am going to be capable of much sick thinking and chaotic actions.

To date, to have sexual contact or to establish a relationship are all things that should be considered for what my motives are. Am I seeking a high from instant gratification to "feel good?" Am I really ready for a relationship? What am I seeking? A date for companionship and to have someone to talk to and relate to? Sex because I know it will "feel good"? A relationship because I am ready for a life companion or because if I have a partner I will feel loved and thus "better"? (ie: My life will be better if I have a relationship?) Am I willing to be honest about my motives with my potential partner beforehand or am I planning to be dishonest and tell them after the fact?

I didn't wait for my thinking to change, for my choices to become closer to what I now want, and during those early dating & relationship experiences I came close to going back out. One time in particular, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was God doing for me what I could not do for myself on the fact that I didn't pick up. The other situations I faced during those early dating years gave me some rough trials and tribulations as I faced a lack of spiritual soundness and lack of good judgement in many ways - from them and from me.

I am glad my thinking and choices have changed, because some things that would bring trouble are warded off long before what could bring headaches and heartaches ever has the chance to bring chaos or grief into my life.

Date or not date? Relationships or none? All I can say from myown experience is "thank God I am not still with anyone from my early dating experiences in early sobriety", and I am sure they are saying the same thing! LOL! :D

God bless.

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Postby musicmode » Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:00 pm

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic,

I'm with Dallas in a sense about havin' an opinion the same token I seen this time & again in the program, & the vantage point I would say would have to be motive ###, I know that's an obvious #### :roll: ...for the newbie, I'd say careful ya'll's not replacin' somethin' for 'nother to fill that empty void. The newbie's still mixed up & might be lookin' fir an easier, softer way to cushion the blow-a reality. The scariest thing I seen was: a guy-& relatively an old-timer 'er workin' on it...had 13 years by this time. A newbie come in, girl 'course...& this guy was fairly solid in his program...she took a shine to him & buzzed 'round him like she was a bee & he a flower. I stayed out-a it, but watched this with dread...cuz I could see that it made 'im uncomf'ter'ble. One-a the things he was solid on was that he'd be no bank account for no newbie fo' sho', & she was good--she was what I call a 'worker'. After a meetin', she'd been buzzin' 'round fir near a month maybe betta, & this guy was startin' to look tired...he started lookin' different...that 'light' per say in his eye was dimmin'...I was cleanin' up & was hearin' 'er be on 'im 'bout borrowin' some $$$...the hairs on the back-a my neck stood straight, cuz at first he said he didn't have it--well she'd go away & come back with different words askin' the same thing. One-a the other older-timers (17 years--& this guy's sponsor) caught on to me ready to react & caught B4 I could turn 'round. Funny how we all start gettin' little protective-a one another, ain't it. Put this into proper perspective on my part...I's married, nutty fir my hubby&our 2 interest in anythin' on the side guy's 'nuff at the best-a times :wink: --sorry guys, had to add a jab :lol: ####. Word had it he did like 'er & that they were sort-a seein' each other--but he didn't look like he was none too happy--look more pressured than anythin'. Fin'lly, he give in & dug out his wallet--that's when the other guy caught me & stopped me from turnin' 'round...he was right to stop me--none-a my affair ### pun intended...well..maybe a little intended :? ####...this guy had quit smokin' not long B4 she come into the program & it'd taken some work for 'im to do so. I left it alone at the 17-year guy's betta judgement 7 stayed outta it...but I had that uh-oh sickly stinkin' feelin' in my gut...cuz I could see that this was playin' w/ mr. 13-year's sobriety. Mr. 17-year & another guy were keepin' a close eye on the situation, cuz-they said they could see it too--so 'least it wasn't just me & my wild-as-can-be imagination. Another week'r so past & after the meetin', we went fir coffee like we always did, & Mr. 13-year sat at the end-a the table, sulky&down like I'd never seen 'im, & smokin' a cigarette (least he wasn't drinkin')...I felt disappointment for him :cry: --not cuz he was smokin' again but for what that stood for. I did what'd been done for 1st meetin' ever, there was a lady who'd latched 'erself to me, (blah, blah, blah--won't get into it--did the other day in a different part-a the forum)...but these guys had all got together (they were sat in a different part-a this restaurant we always went to)...they saw how sick I was, & to cheer me up, the got me the biggest piece-a black forest cake the waitress could get away with & a mochacino (chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, right :wink: )...I went to the waitress (same girl) & asked her to bring him the biggest piece-a black forest cake she could git away with. When the waitress set it down, the other guys nodded with approval & all contributed to payin' for it.

A lengthy tale, I know...but ya'll git the point. The girl had gone back out---why? Mr. 13 year fin'lly got his brain cells back & suggested that they hold off the relationship 'til she had at least a year..she got mad & went back out...totally takin' away from both of 'em the importance of the program & what it's all about. For some (I've seen this)--it is a place for "pick-ups"...then it fails (not always, I've seen some work too--but both had had a number of years in the fellowship)..when it fails, though--both are as sick as when they first come in. The newbie's puttin' a condition on sobriety/AA, 'er somethin'...there are those, too-who believe that they can't be happy without a significant other in their lives. My first home group talked about 'step 13'--'course there's no such thing in BB, but step 13 was talkin' 'bout relationships. It was said that--so what about waitin' a year--to make any big changes...if the relationship 'er person is mr or mrs. 'right'...what's a year if ya think so & 'er thinkin' 'bout spendin' the rest-a yir life with that person. What's gonna be a part-a yir life anyways?? Meetin's & program.

That's my take on it, for what it's worth,

Ciao babies, 8)
Anne M.

Jim W
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personal relationships in early recovery

Postby Jim W » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:50 am

To begin with, I have heard that asking for advice in an open AA mmeting (which I liken this forum to) is like trying to get a drink of water from a fire hydrant. To quote Bill Wilson from the Big Book-"We want to stay out of this controversy..." "we don't want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct," and "while counsel with others is desirable, in the end we let our conscience (God) be the judge."

My favorite spin on this comes from Marianne Williamson. "It is not about finding mr. or mrs. right, but about becoming mr. or mrs. right. Or in the words of the Big Book-it's about forming our own ideal, standards, and values to live up to.

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Postby Dallas » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:05 pm

Thanks Jim. Nice reminder.

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Postby Zanthos » Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:37 am

It was the practice in my home group to strongly suggest to newcomers to not get into any relationships in the first year.

Although I resented that suggestion, I followed it. I had been told in rehab that I needed to suspend my own thinking for a while, and learn to accept guidance and take suggestions from others. While I understood that I wasn't going to blindly or recklessly follow just anything anyone told me, it was a very important part of my learning to trust that I find others whose suggestions I was willing to follow.

I also knew deep down that I was a truly ### up person, that all the many relationships I had been in over the years were unhealthy, and that I needed to change in some very basic ways before I could realistically consider getting into a relationship. I had to learn to get comfortable with myself and develop somewhat of a healthy ego. The path to that was through learning and beginning to practice the Steps. And it wasn't going to happen overnight.

A big part of that was learning to accept my discomfort, experience my pain without running or hiding from it, or otherwise losing myself, and have faith that through the Program and with the help of my Higher Power, I was going to grow in a way that would lead to a greater sense of well-being and serenity.

Looking back, it is very obvious that in my case the kinds of gratifications available an intimate relationship -- emotional and sexual -- would have been completely inconsistent with the process of growth I experienced in the absence of a relationship. My first 12+ months of recovery were a process of ego destruction and deconstruction. A relationship for me would have been all about ego gratification. It would have reinforced my unhealthy ego and it would have been a refuge from the pain and discomfort of being my unhealthy self that I had to accept and walk through.

From where I stand now, I can't imagine having had a relationship in the first year of recovery. I'm very grateful that I chose to and was able to trust the experience of others that suggested that I focus on the program exclusively.

By the way, when I had 15 months I met a woman at a meeting. We started dating and after a couple of months, she moved in with me! Typical alcoholics! :) We've been living together for almost a year now and I'm very grateful to the Program for all the tools we've needed to make this a close and satisfying relationship. But it took quite a lot of time, patience, and making a lot of mistakes before we figured out how to use those tools!

Despite the early mess we made, there is a lot of beauty in having the the Program as a common language and common ground.

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