Biochemistry of Love, Relationships and Recovery

A discussion of topics about relationships in Recovery
garden variety
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Postby garden variety » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:48 am

Hi Kelly,

Such a hopeless romantic you are. :wink:

Thank you for your well wishes. I appreciate that. About the resentment comment. We are all just a bunch of folks behind keyboards somewhere in the world. What I'm sharing about this relationship that "whacked me on the chin" - well some might say "Oh he's full of crap" because it's easy to type BS into the world of internet, and sound convincing. Then top it off with what kind of lady is "gaga" enough to cook dinner for me at her house and bring it over to my house, and eat with me, and be there just because she wants to be near me - she likes me that much. I mean it does sound a little too "storybook". Then others might think I'm just bragging or making it look like a bigger deal and exagerting. I hope no one gets a resentment over what I post - I'm not trying to brag or get anyone jealous.

This just happened about 3 weeks ago. Dallas knows the whole story. This is something that could "go south" and end unexpectedly, too. Life happens, people change their minds, people lie and cheat, and so on. But this is also something the likes of which I never experienced before, and I only thought happened in "storybooks". I'm just a garden variety drunk, an average looking fellow with nothing like millions of dollars or looks like Tom Selleck. But here it is just like you described it Kelly - this is the thing that everyone - man or woman - hopes for and dreams about in a relationship. What a gift and blessing for me to find! I mean very seriously, if this pans out the way it's looking like it's going, I will go wherever this river is leading. No need for me to push it any other way.

But let me say something extremely important. I never went to AA to seek out the "girl of my dreams". I came to AA because I was dying and had no where else to go. I am powerless over alcohol. I have a fatal, progressive, incurable "malady" known as alcoholism. If I take one single drink, I know what will happen, and it won't be a huggy-kissy feels-so-good relationship. Everything goes up in smoke.

No - I came to AA to figure out how to live sober - how to "manage" a life that would no longer allow me use alcohol as a solution to life's problems and suffering. I spent many years in pure misery while sober. I lost houses, cars, and lots of money. I got sued, garnished, evicted, sick, held at gunpoint more than once, and nearly got dead from physical problems - all while being sober. It was eleven years between the times I held a woman in my arms. ELEVEN YEARS is a long time to not experience love and companionship.

A.A. was the last house on the block for me. I am an alcoholic of the 100% hopeless variety. I'm that fellow who is "puzzling" you - like the book says - I do "absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking." I can't ever forget that is the reason I came to A.A. I didn't come here for good sex and a pretty girl to hang on my arm.

I came to A.A. because I could not manage LIFE. My LIFE had become unmanageable. Nothing I tried could make my life work in a normal way. When I got to A.A., I was showed a "design for living that really works". That's what I needed. I didn't need a relationship or good sex; I needed a design for living that really works. It took me years to figure out how to do this "deal" as Dallas likes to say, and I'm learning new things every day. But it has reached the point where I can truly say I have found a design for living that really works.

This relationship was not something I was seeking. It is the byproduct of taking the actions of work and self-sacrifice for others - of practicing the principles of the 12 steps in all my affairs. When you put a fire underneath a kettle of water, a process of "action" and "work" takes place: the water boils. After the water boils, it gives off the byproduct of steam. The steam doesn't just happen because I'm looking for it. There has to be a process of work and action that over time eventually gives off a byproduct.

Everything I have is the byproduct of living my life one way or another. Today I have so much more than I ever had. It's all because you tell me to keep doing the things I'm doing. I do the work, I take the actions, and the byproducts just bubble up all around me. I mean if I wanted to, I could do this "deal" without any thinking - just listening to you folks in the rooms and on this forum, and doing the work and taking the actions that you suggest, and all the byproducts I can imagine, and some that I can't imagine, will come. Always. Always simple, but not always easy.

And this "deal" comes with a guarantee. "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path." Why would I want to "do life" any other way.

Stay with us Kelly - I really do hope you find what I've found. If you follow the same path, you won't fail.

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Postby Dallas » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:33 pm

This really is a great thread! :lol:

Paul wrote:I don't intentionally go to AA events with a mindset of I'm going there to "bang" someone, but I don't close the door on that possiblilty either. Rule 62? You betcha.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I've been laying on the floor laughing at that one!!! :lol:
My sides were splitting so much I couldn't even roll!!! :lol:

Now... folks! That is RIGEROUSLY HONEST! :lol:

Paul, you really bring a lot of the Sunlight of the Spirit my way!
I'm packing my bags and heading to Cleveland! :lol:

I too, really enjoy reading your adventures... just like Kelly said, you are an inspiration of hope to the rest of us lonely hearts! :lol:

I want what you have and I'm willing to move to Cleveland, to get it!

Just joking. She's yours! As much as I might want to... I'll wait for God to get tired of being mad at me and maybe he'll wink at me, too! :lol:

You brought up a very important topic, Paul:

Paul wrote:But to get to this point of finding and having a relationship with a girlfriend, I had to let go of those old ideas I had, that I was "damaged goods" and the only other folks that are in the fellowship are also "damaged goods." I had to make a habit of taking a few chances and learning from them, letting myself be honest and vulnerable, and figure out how to take "no" for an answer without thinking there's something wrong with me or the world was coming to an end.

It is the sad fact of how most of us arrive here.... those feelings of pitiful and comprehensible demoralization... seeking lower companions... because we don't think very much of ourselves... as we spend most of our time thinking about ourselves!

I think that's one of the best reasons for people to "wait" in regards to "hooking up" after they get freshly sober.... After we get sober... we're still down on ourselves... not liking ourselves... feelings of personal inadequacy... lonely... afraid... sad... feeling different, like part of us is missing or damaged. That's all the stuff that kept most of us drinking until we became alcoholic.

It takes time to get over thinking that we are what we're not -- and we're not what we think we are. And, not only does it take some time -- it takes effort and work.

Once we get rid of all the crude... most of us clean up rather well! :lol:

Kelly, you'll have to trust me on this one... and I totally guarantee this will happen! If you hang with us and do the deal... I GUARANTEE YOU that the BEST OF YOUR LIFE IS IN FRONT OF YOU!!! There is a life that will be coming your way that is beyond the best of anything that you could have ever imagined or planned or hoped for yourself!

Guess what, Kelly? That's what the Old-timers told me, too, when I was new! And, you know what? They were right! I know it from first-hand, personal experience... and that's why I can pass that on to you!

And, I also know it from COUNTLESS AA's that I have known over the years... I've personally known hundreds, and even thousands of AA's that I have also heard them say... "My life today is better than anything I could have ever imagined for myself! I thought my life was over when I got sober -- and I discovered that it was really the beginning of a truly wonderful and incredible life!"

I believe them... because I've seen them. Just like we're watching this happen to Paul... it's the real deal. He was all those things that he said he was... and today, he's the Paul that God designed him to be. And, because he's been where he has been... we can follow in his foot steps to find the light that he found. That's how it works. "We come to believe"... because we see it in front of us!


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Postby jeff070204 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:05 pm

OK, to address some of this...

I'm actually perilously close to 40. And I didn't mean to imply that I still have the same dim view of my future that I did during my first year of sobriety. My perspective and expectations have changed drastically from what they were three years ago -- although I still tend to confound people (e.g., co-workers) who are inclined to think I should be/want "more" at this stage in my life. At about nine or ten months sober, it became apparent to me that I was probably going to be able to become viable again. I like to borrow the line from the movie A Christmas Story, "I slowly began to realize that I was not about to be destroyed".

I think "spring break" is a pretty good expression to apply to ACYPAA, at least from what I observed. "Sober"? Well -- I'm reasonably sure there was no alcohol or methamphetamine being consumed, but plenty of cigarettes (both in designated smoking areas and otherwise) and Rockstar energy drinks. And lots and lots of screaming and yelling. I kept thinking of something I heard someone say in a meeting once -- "It's not 'old behavior' if you're still doing it."

The keynote speaker at the big rally Saturday night was excellent. Unfortunately, they had to let him sit up there on the dais and twist for an hour and a half before he got a chance to open his mouth, while the rabid mob of 1,500 or whatever screamed and yelled and screwed around.

Anyway...those are my observations, is all. Ask somebody else, and you're likely to get an account in which every third word is "AMAZING".

Back to the dating thing. I eventually did find myself with the opportunity to date a couple of girls that I met at AA meetings. This was when I had around a year and a half sober. Neither instance went well. The first girl pursued me, and I said OK, sure, I guess so. She dumped me less than a week later, after I made her cry. I guess you could say I pursued the second one -- in retrospect I think I grossly mis-read the "signals". Anyway, that lasted around two weeks, if I recall correctly, and wound up with her being mildly emotionally traumatized.

So, that was basically it for me and dating girls from AA.

BUT, what I have found, somewhat to my surprise, is that many if not most normal girls don't seem to care too much that a) I don't drink, or b) I go to AA. So I have had some nice experiences in the past year or two -- "flings", I guess you could call them. They've been infrequent, to be sure, but certainly far beyond what I thought I'd ever have when I first go to AA.

As a matter of fact, I'm actually seeing someone now, and it's lasted a whole month and a half!

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Postby Dallas » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:05 pm

Jeff wrote:Back to the dating thing. I eventually did find myself with the opportunity to date a couple of girls that I met at AA meetings. This was when I had around a year and a half sober. Neither instance went well. The first girl pursued me, and I said OK, sure, I guess so. She dumped me less than a week later, after I made her cry. I guess you could say I pursued the second one -- in retrospect I think I grossly mis-read the "signals". Anyway, that lasted around two weeks, if I recall correctly, and wound up with her being mildly emotionally traumatized.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Hey Jeff! Thanks for jumping in here with us!

I sure understand about that quote! :lol: And, "we" seem to always be the blame for their emotional instabilities. :lol: Or... that's what I usually hear. :wink:

For me, life seems to stay pretty smooth when I meet someone in a grocery store or at a restaurant... instead of in an AA meeting.

My negative experiences have been such... that I avoid it at all opportunity. :lol:

The package always looks wonderful on the outside... it's when you open it that you're in for the surprise of your life.

Now, I know some AA ladys might take that as bashing... and I don't mean that at all. There are some wonderful AA ladys... we have some of them right here in the forum. And, they seem to stay wonderful... while they are hooked up to someone else. I live in a small town and I have enough problems... so I don't like to add to my fires... by risking having problems in the few meetings available that I might need some day for my own emotional twists.

And, I'm sure that for women... their experiences are often the same as mine... except it involves the guys. I know of one lady who totally gave up dating any guy in recovery because she went through problem after problem and finally got tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired... and having Home Group problems rather than working out private relationship problems. AA's can seem to get a bit nosey.... and when they don't feel comfortable taking their own inventories... they may look for the next convenient topic to make a list on. :lol:

I wrote a bunch more here... but, I got chicken to post it and I cut it out. :lol: :lol:

It is nice at conventions and round-ups... being single and flirting with any of those wonderful ladys that will share a glance at me!

Sometimes, the guys will say something like "Gees! You flirt with all of them don't you! Doesn't matter what size, shape, or age!" Yep. There is nothing more beautiful in all of God's creation than a woman! All of them... excluding none... are the Crown Jewels of His creation! The only thing that comes near 2nd place in the beauty of a woman... is little puppies (and I love all of those, too!) !!! :lol:

A lot of times... I don't recognize it as flirting. To me, it's just being open and friendly. You see... all my life before I got sober... I was really shy. I had to work hard to make it look like I wasn't shy. And, I did work hard at it. And, I would drink so that I would have the courage that I wished I had... in regards to women. I was scared and shy. They were so beautiful and awesome.... and I knew my heart was so sensitive that it would just kill me to get it broken with rejection. Then, after I got sober in AA... and started going to AA events and socializing with other people without drinking (women)... and doing my Steps, and becoming willing to open up and share my deepest secrets... it became easier for me to meet people.

I had been listening to AA's talk about "practicing these principles in all of our affairs" and how "real life sober living is what you do after you leave the meetings... and things like "AA prepares you to be a good citizen... and a good member of your community... and a part of society instead of apart from society"... so... I began trying it out. I started treating a waitress, or the lady at the dry cleaners, or the clerk at the super-market as if they were other AA members, too.

I began introducing myself to them just like I would try to introduce myself to every newcomer at a meeting. I smiled at them and asked them how they were doing. I let them know that I cared about them... and still to this day... when I go into a place of business, like a Walmart or something... I thank the people who are employees for coming in to work today! (Give it a try sometime... it's awesome... just look at them and mean it and say "Thank you for coming in to work today... I really appreciate you!" ... it makes them smile. It opens them up. Sometimes, it takes a load off them because someone had been a big jerk to them). I began making friends anywhere I found people. If I saw someone with their car broken down I'd pull over and see if they needed help... my thoughts were... "Gee, that person could be a sober person, too... and having a hard time... maybe they need help."

I was living in Los Angeles when I started doing that... lots of people there!

I'll tell you what... when my AA friends or someone I was dating were out in public with me... it felt like a huge rush when they would say things to me like "Is there anyone that you don't know or that doesn't know you? You know everyone and everyone knows you!" That would lift me right out of my socks! Way more than a few drinks would have lifted me up!

That's when I started thinking things like "You know... these are all of God's kids... and every person is one of God's kids... and if we're all God's kids... then we're all related. We're all family." And, I began to feel that way. I never met a stranger after that. I began to feel a connection to all people regardless of where I was... just like I felt about them in an AA meeting. And, that's a great feeling. Because, I never felt alone again. That feeling of being different -- wen't away. I recognized that God created us all different. That's the way He wanted it.

Now... I know I've been writing way too much here using God... so, I better wrap this up before I ruin my reputation... and somebody will think I'm one of those God-people and run! !!! Then, I wouldn't be able to help them! Got to keep them thinking I'm heathenized! :wink: I can help more people that way! :lol: :lol:


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Postby Kelly » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:10 am

Please accept my apology for misreading your age Jeff...I guess it was the "All-California Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous" convention that threw me off a bit. I wish you the best of luck with your current relationship. Thank you for your candor and for sharing some of your life with us. It only gonna get better Jeff. You do know that, don't you? :D

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Postby tj » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:46 am

WOW!! What a concept, "Practice these principles in ALL our affairs." Thanks, Dallas. You just woke me up from a week of self absorption and taking myself too seriously!! :shock: I am going to start treating everyone like they are a newcomer at a meeting. Everything that you said rings so true for me. I remember one of the best periods of my life was just after my oldest daughter was born (27 years ago!). I was, of course, elated to have a new, beautiful little human being to share my life with but there was another feeling that I couldn't shake. For a long while, I looked at everyone and thought, " They are someone's baby just like my daughter is my baby. Their mommy loves them just as much as I love my baby. I am going to try to see the preciousness in them that their mommy sees." Talk about a pink cloud experience!!! Thanks again, Dallas, for reminding me of that experience and calling me out of my cave and into action!!!


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(Coming Clean)

Postby garden variety » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:39 am


When I read your post about getting close to a girl that pursued you, but she dumped you because you made her cry - that had me a little bit confused at first. So naturally God in His wisdom had this way of making it clear.

The first thing I thought was "How can I make someone cry?" I'm thinking that if someone gets "disturbed" about something I say, they make a choice to get disturbed and sometimes they cry. I also know the logical fact - I really don't have the power to make someone cry (unless I hurt them physically). So I'm thinking to myself about you, Jeff, "Don't flatter yourself, you don't have the power to make someone else cry. She cried because she made the choices that led her to that reaction."

Anyone want to take a guess at how I got "schooled" with this one?

I made her cry! Dammit! I made her cry, and I wasn't even trying!

I wasn't even being mean either. I was "supporting" her because in a certain situation, she had been hit with a serious "wrong" that left her with questions about herself she already had resolved. I hit the ceiling - the person who did this simply did not have the capacity to understand how she did it. But it was an issue of trust that was broken, and my lady was upset about it.

I was angry as hell! Not at my girl, but her friend that was so insensitive. I could see clear as a bell how wrong the other girl was and was angry the thought never crossed the other girl's mind to even have the open-mindedness and willingness to listen and support her. "What kind of AA is that?" The other girl was being egotistical and had her mind made up based on heresay. How do I know? Man I've been that way so many times before I can do it with my eyes closed. The other girl was way off for sure, and it wasn't a matter of "taking another person's inventory" either. I was just plain mad because this other girl was insensitive and finger-pointing when being a friend would have helped much more.

Is this "righteouos indignation"? Was I entitled to feel anger or outrage about this circumstance. What about having anger that is "justified"? This was one of those areas in sobriety that "I don't like" but knew I had to accept - like it or not.

The book says it like this: "If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison."

God almighty did I ever hate those words. In fact, I had a "reservation" about them. I thought they didn't apply to me. I thought that thinking like that left me without a choice - by following that suggestion to the best of my ability - I would be losing my "dignity". That was until yesterday.

I rattled off a passage in the book, quoted it to the letter. It matched the circumstances perfectly. My voice got louder over the phone as I quoted. In the middle of it I said I'm not yelling at you, and she knew I wasn't. But as I got more "disturbed" by thinking about the circumstance and quoting the book, my voice got louder. I thought I was right in feeling this way. Maybe I was right, but what about my girlfriend - the woman who is the dream of a companion?

At first she was wimpering because of talking about the situation with me. By the time I was through quoting the book, she was crying almost as loud as I was talking. I stopped and reassured her again that I wasn't yelling at her and that she was right. She just said "I know, I know but you're saying everything I feel."

I stopped dead. This really hit me hard. The way I was talking moved her to tears. Now why it hurt me, and it hurt me to the core, is what I know about tears. When a person cries, it's not the thing of today that happens where those tears come from. Tears are from the hurts and pain of yesterday - those times in life or childhood that maybe we didn't have the "tools" or capacity to get away from who was hurting us. The way I expressed my "justified" anger "dislodged" some chunk of emotional hurt from her past, and it brought her to tears. Sobbing, loud, and painful tears. And this good ol' garden variety drunk was responsible.

Just like you did Jeff, "I made her cry".

Wow. I don't ever want to forget the sound of those sobs and tears. I don't ever want to make painful tears like that come to her eyes again. No it wasn't me or the things I did that "made her cry". I didn't betray her - I gave what I thought was strong support - I was right there in her corner. She knew it, and was not angry with me either. She understood and still cares about me the same. I apologized and apologized - she kept on saying you didn't do anything, you don't have to apologize.

It doesn't matter that I was "right". So what, I was the "brainstorm" like the book said. I didn't drink - neither did she.

Here's my inventory on this. There was a price paid for "my dignity" - but it wasn't me who paid it. My dignity came at the expense of my companion's past pain and suffering. She "bought" the right for me to be a "brainstorm" yesterday without needing to pick up a drink. Once again, "selfishness, self-centeredness! That is the root of our problem".

Today I love what those words say in the book. Up until yesterday I hated them, and even had the nerve to think they might apply to others, but not me. Today, I know I now have a choice. Actually, the choice was always there, but I was holding onto an "old idea" whose "reult is nil". Time to abandon. If there is a next time, I won't be disturbed to abandon "my dignity" if my loved one has to pay the price.

Another thing I used to hate to hear folks in the rooms say: "Would you rather be right, or happy?" Now most of the time I can say "That's the kind of thinking that will lead me to a drink". But for next time, maybe I'll just keep my mouth shut and "pass".

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Postby jeff070204 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:52 pm

Slam dunk, GV, on the proper AA interpretion of the simple, direct, and concise statement, "I made her cry".

Incidentally, one of my all-time favorite howlers from my travels in recovery came when the director of the last rehab I was at accused one of the inmates of having "analysis paralysis".

(I mean, isn't that the goal? Sounded to me like the guy was ahead of curve.)

One interesting thing I could point out is what exactly I said that made the woman in question cry. She told me some story about something she and her girlfriends did when she was in high school. The specifics of it escape me. But this woman is now in her late thirties, so we're talking about twenty years ago.

Anyway, whatever it was prompted me to respond, "Sounds like you were pretty self-absorbed".

Now, "self-absorbed", "self-centered", "selfish"...these are terms one hears at AA meetings with numbing regularity, right? I guess she hadn't been to quite as many meetings as I had, because that one offhand remark drove her to tears. I felt terrible. Not out of guilt so much, but out of sympathy. I mean, here was this sensitive woman who had the horrible misfortune of developing an alcohol and drug problem. Thus, she had a lifetime of "If they hurt you, it's really your fault" to look forward to.

Interestingly, though, now that we're not dating anymore, I've come to know this woman a lot better. As it turns out, she's just one of these people who cries all the time anyway, regardless. So, it's not so much that I made her cry, it's more like it was just time to cry again, and I happened to be there.

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Postby jeff070204 » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:29 am

I've neglected to include another fun fact, about the "self-absorbed" girl whom I made cry.

Some months after our, er, "relationship" had ended, a good friend of mine told me something. He had dated the same girl before I did, and probably knew her better than I knew her. Anyway, he told me that she had taken him aside, and with the utmost concern and seriousness explained to him that she thought that I had Asperger's Syndrome.

Neither of us was sure we had ever heard anything more hysterical. To this day, when we greet each other, he asks me, "So how's that Ass Burgers?" And I respond, "Ugh, god, this Ass Burgers is killin' me!"

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Postby Dallas » Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:56 pm

Another excellent example of...
its "All in a day's bun!"
:lol: :lol: :lol:

As we tune in to another episode of...
"As the lettuce wilts" and "The tomato turns!"
:lol: :lol:

Did she say anything about your cheese?
:lol: :lol:

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