Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment


Postby ROBERT » Fri May 01, 2009 12:04 pm

This is a subject not talked about enough--there are stats that show many recovering from drugs-alcohol are addicted to sex as well and if not properly handled,can lead to relapse--this has been a difficult area for me-one that has caused myself alot of shame,alot of grief and my sobriety.Until I could talk open about it, I was a prisoner.(I doubt I am alone here?)I have come to know there is no shame in this,or any other area that is a threat to our sobriety--as the saying goes"we are only as sick as our secrets"..... How so very true...........ROBERT
Last edited by ROBERT on Fri May 01, 2009 9:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby garden variety » Fri May 01, 2009 2:22 pm

Hi Robert,

I been finding this an interesting "corollary" issue. I sponsor a young man who is alcoholic, but also had a heroin addiction. Of course he attends both AA and NA.

One day he was talking to me, and I was sharing with him at the beginning of a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship I became involved in. He became filled with fear and said "Oh no! Women are dope!" I asked him (surprised) "What?" Then he described how a number of folks in NA became involved in relationships, and in almost all cases, there was a sexual/relationship "addiction" that was born out of it, and also in almost all cases, the drug addicts relapsed.

Now in your topic, you say "movies" which I assume you mean to be p :shock: rnography. I think that will also fit into the "framework" of what I'm trying to say.

Pretty heavy stuff for me to think about. I'm pretty adament about not addressing the issue of relationships from a "right" or "wrong" aspect within the boundaries of the steps. As a sponsor and also as a protege' too, I follow the AA rule which is to have no opinion on outside issues - especially ones that can spark a controversy. Relationship "rules" have no "official" or "recognized" place in program reading or literature, and these so-called relationship rules have led to watered down AA here in Cleveland and Akron.

I also think that making a "judgment call" about p :shock: rn takes me off the AA track. I don't know if its "evil" or "good". Like the book says, we're not supposed to be "arbiters" of another person's sexual conduct. I do realize, however, there are certain "forms" of po :shock: rno that are illegal and can land a person in jail, just like there are certain "forms" of sexual behavior that can land a person in jail, AND there are certain "forms" of relationships that can land a person in jail. One thing I'm pretty certain about is that there is nothing in the book or the program that says comitting a sexual crime is a way to practice principles of recovery - so I'll leave it at that.

"Relationship rules" have chased women out of the rooms who were seeking help for their alcoholism, they have kept women in abusive relationships, and they promote over-controlling female sponsorship. I've even seen "militant" AA women "cliques" that segregate women from men in social activities regardless of length of sobriety. What happens is personal "belief systems" are the message that's carried instead of the (precious) universal spiritual principles behind the 12 steps. Also, if sponsorship veers off into a person's beliefs about p :shock: rno or sex, I believe its walking on thin ice and getting away from the primary purpose.

HOWEVER....I've learned and adopted a simple and common sense approach to sexual matters that I use to guide my own relationships and conduct, and when needed, I'll talk about it with my sponsor. I'll also pose a question to a protege' if he's seeking my opinion or asking for guidance. My purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety according to the preamble at every meeting. So that is my first guiding principle. Then I'll pose a single question for thought or discussion:

"Is it [po :shock: rno/sexuality/relationships] a threat to your sobriety?"

If the answer is "yes", then it becomes a matter to talk and share about.

From a personal standpoint, I haven't been in a relationship or sexual matters that I felt threatened my sobriety. In my sobriety, I've been in physical relationships with non-alcoholics, sober alcoholics ("recovered") who work a program of recovery, and also with active drinkers. But this is only my experience which means if what I do sexually isn't a threat to my sobriety - THAT DOESN'T MEAN ITS NOT A THEAT TO SOMEONE ELSE'S SOBRIETY. In other words "Kids! Don't try this stuff at home"

What I've been told is to "be careful". I used to hate hearing that. But today I realize that is a solid suggestion which I follow, and I'd suggest to anyone else to follow. It doesn't mean avoiding sexual encounters, and it doesn't mean joining a hog-wild orgy either. For me "being careful" is doing the 3rd step each day and listening for inspiriation with Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willigness (the H.O.W. of sobriety).

Now for my opinion which has nothing to do with AA. Sexuality is a gift of love unique to human beings. I believe it is a way for humans to express and relate their love for God (as I understand Him) to God through the love and companionship of an intimate human relationship. So for me to relate "women" (relationships) to "dope", I can't relate. I get completely lost in the translation.

But that is not saying everyone else in the fellowship doesn't understand this issue, otherwise there wouldn't be "relationship rules".

Thanks Robert, for starting an interesting discussion. :wink:
garden variety
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Postby sunlight » Fri May 01, 2009 3:56 pm

"We subjected each relation to this test - was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them."

Newly sober women are especially vulnerable to male attention, ( I was one! ) because it gives such a rush to badly damaged self-esteem. I am very fortunate that I did not relapse, but I have lost many sponsees to relationships & sexual flings. The temptation here seems to be that of going into a fantasy world, and it's not long before the fantasy that it's OK to take a drink then becomes a reality. P :shock: rn is just one more fantasy.
I have seen too many women with long term sobriety relapse because of sexual relationships. This appears to be a dangerous area for alcoholics, and I think it's just good sense to let God discipline me in this, just as I let Him discipline me in everything else. If I am not able to grasp how to do this, I let my sponsor discipline me!
Knowledge of His will for me & the power to carry that out. Why would I think this doesn't apply to sex? And Paul, I think you are right on target with step 3 as the foundation.

Here's my favorite joke along these lines ( all in fun guys! Big ol' rule 62 here! )

Adam asked God, "Why did you make woman so beautiful?"
God replied, "So you would love her."
Adam asked, "Then why did you make her so stupid?"
God smiled, "So she would love you!" :lol:

Simply Sunlight :wink:
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Postby ROBERT » Fri May 01, 2009 7:02 pm

Thanks for the replies---in my addiction,which was both drugs and alcohol,part of the lifestyle that i was introduced to was in seedy places w/less than prominate people---prostitution,dancing bars,etc, etc, was the norm for me for yrs---now just because i am sober doesn't mean i can run into a dancing bar,or watch p :( rn or pay for sex,and think everythings ok--I'm not labling good or bad--just reporting that being responsible for my sobriety has certain limitations that are in place.I have tried some of the afore mentioned behaviors,more than once,always the same outcome---i went back out.The subject is a valid topic worth open disscusion--in my opinion.............ROBERT
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Postby DiggerinVA » Fri May 01, 2009 7:18 pm

The last 2 and half pages of "How it Works" (Begins on page 81 in the 1st edition). Deals with this subject, I often wonder how many take heed to it. The quote that Sunlight posted is from there. That is the best explanation I have seen on the subject. It can be a tangled web.
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Postby Anja » Fri May 01, 2009 9:46 pm

My understanding is that it isn't uncommon for people to switch addictions after giving up mood-altering chemicals. We may develop addictive behaviors/attitudes around some other activity or consumption to take the place of what is missing in our lives. The treatment folks call it "cross-addiction."

That comment in the BB about changing everything pretty much applies. We learn how to fill those empty places with healthy things if we keep the 10th step at hand. How are my behaviors similar to what they were when I was using? Is too much time going into one activity at the cost of something constructive I could be doing? Do I feel secretive about it? Ashamed? Do I plan my time around it? Do I feel angry/restless if I don't have it? Are others mentioning it? Red flags.

I think most of us are familiar with that uncomfortable empty feeling we sometimes have. It can appear as a craving for alcohol or sugar and be mistaken for a physical need. In my personal experience it usually means that something is missing in my spiritual life. Have I forgotten to notice the gifts? Or to be grateful?

If so, the discomfort can often be relieved for me by focusing on HP. We have grown accustomed to taking the quick fix. We learn through the program to do, with help from HP and others, what we used to use "things" to fix.

A self-esteem booster for sure! :wink:
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Postby ROBERT » Sat May 02, 2009 3:58 pm

Discipline is what I needed to happen..."God doesn't render us white as snow w/o our cooperation" We must be willing to work for this...and there were times when I would test the waters...lessons I needed to learn,the guilt on board afterwards was horrible,so to have the support from real,sober,loving,understanding,people was a major part in my recovery from these growing pains,and my ability to be open about these times was contigent on the love and understading I recieved...another lesson as a by product from these situations was that there are alot of folks not capable of extending,to me,what I needed,so early on i felt let down, and was confused alot (not to mention angry).I had to learn the only perfect love I could rely on was from God.. in the process I became a much more loving,caring understanding person myself.An amazing transformation....in searching for answeres...I have been, as the book says..REBORN....and today i can recognize the characteristics,behaviors of people that I choose to be around significantly....this whole process has helped in giving me the ability,to give to others,what I so desperatley needed....LOVE....there was a german poet, Bertolt Brecht, who once quoted-"Intelligence is not to make no mistakes,but quickly to see how to make them good"....a loving statement indeed.....ROBERT
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Postby Anja » Sat May 02, 2009 6:48 pm

A CD counselor I know says, "Living well is the art of writing without an eraser!" :D
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Postby garden variety » Mon May 04, 2009 10:52 am

Well I stand corrected (what else is new?)

This is really a good topic because their is wide range of beliefs and practices. I've always been taught that the book and AA wants me to be open-minded, and also to use common sense.

I really do believe that sex and it's "complications" can lead to relapses. Also, you all have told me so.

So I revisited the book about this, and lo and behold, the answers were right there. The funny thing is, I must have absorbed these pages and somehow God (as I understand Him) brought about "sanity" in this area of my life without any knowledge to me. I was truly amazed when I re-read pages 68 - 70 of the book and found that my beliefs, thoughts, and actions are built on this foundation. Imagine that?

Today, after reading and thinking about all of your responses, and recalling as many controversies that still brew about this, I realize that I'm pretty lucky to be have been blessed with this promise.

"We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffled us."

"Relationships" and sex didn't happen to me until a good number of years into sobriety (maybe 7 or 8 years). I guess when it came to relationships, I figured I must haved missed the memo. I also mistakenly assumed that intimate relationships were permanently "removed" from my life - probably some kind of character defect I thought I prayed away. Today I realize that was the wrong attitude, but it still worked for the good and kept me "safe" for a long time, until being "safe" in relationships worked itself into my "spiritual awkening" all on it's own.

I laughed out loud when I read "we avoid hystericl thinking and advice" about sex :lol: :lol: :lol: .

Another cool part is that page 70 even talks about how "relapsing" based on relationships where we "stumble" (screw up) is only a "half-truth". Excellent passages for me to re-read!

Thanks to all of you for helping me, and for opening my eyes long enough to re-read page 68-70 of the book. GREAT TOPIC!

God bless.
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