SOBER SEX

SEX IN EARLY RECOVERY

(link to Big Book page 68-71 sexual inventory)
“BIG BOOK SEXUAL INVENTORY PAGE 69” (see in pop up)
Open a popup window

“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct” pg 69 Big Book.   (a*r*b*i*t*e*r-a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter.)

“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct”, so it states in the Big Book and rightly so!   Translation:  Unless someone asks for advice don’t give it.   We thank you for that clarification Bill Wilson.  BUT a big BUT!  It just so happens that  sex is a hot topic in and out of the rooms and “not being an arbiter”  doesn’t mean we can’t read and talk about what sober sex is all about.   In accordance with the 12 Steps of AA (the good and righteous principles) we  should live by truth, respect, humility, faith, hope, Love, charity and more,

BUT WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES? (click here for complete principles of AA)

Core Spiritual Principles of the Program:  Willingness, Open-mindedness, Honesty

AA’s Code:  Love and Tolerance of Others

Gratitude, Acceptance, Love, Honesty, Tolerance, Unselfishness, Strength, Serenity, Giving, Fortitude, Faith, Brotherhood, Service, Understanding, Courage, Wisdom, Humility, self-forgetting,  compassion, Love, kindness,  persistence, faith, hope, wisdom, harmony, willingness, fair minded, Good Judgment, Courage, Humility, Sincerity, Forthright, Generous, Prudence, Serenity, Patience, long-suffering, Admission of Defeat.

Sober Sex

Ok these are all wonderfully spiritual qualities.  And theses virtues are what Step 12 service work is all about…except, from what I have learned we don’t  do step 12 service work to help others as much as we do it to help ourselves.   We do step 12 to keep us sober, another “rightly so”.  If we don’t take care of our sobriety first then we are no good to anyone and certainly no good in a lasting intimate relationship  if we go full blown addict again.

Rule #1 Get to know a potential partner

Get to know this person way before you even think about having sex with them.  Do not say I love you, do not move in with them, do not get engaged, do not profess we are soul mates until at least absolute bare minimum of 90 days.  He/She could turn out to be a psycho maniac controlling hostage taker.  Or he could be the 13th step king of the club and as soon as you sleep with him he intends to mark you off as a conquered foe.   He has no intention of seeing you again after you comply.  After you make the choice to give your precious body once…he will move on to the next conquest.  And that is his prerogative and your choice.

We are building our self-esteem presently not looking to tear it down.    To this sportsman you are just his secondary addiction.  There’s one like him in every AA Group and it doesn’t mean that you are a victim.  We make our choices and if we choose to sleep with a man of this caliber we are an adult and it is our choice.  WE ARE NOT VICTIMS when he kicks us to the curb.

These type serial sex junkies are not a good choice for us even if all we want is sexual satisfaction because they don’t respect anyone that will sleep with them that makes the encounter kinda dysfunctional.

And lets not be too hard on him ladies.  He is scared to death of commitment and he is also afraid if you get to know him too well you won’t like him much.  Rejection is tough and it scars us all.  The survival skills we have developed tend to look kinda mean and selfish but all they really are underneath is hurt.

So get to know the person you are attracted to.  Find out if they are someone who is kind.  find out if you have anything in common.  Talk about everything and anything.  Does he believe in God like I do?  What is his past like?  Find out how he treats his X.  The healthiest X’s neither hate each other nor do they still sleep with each other, they have moved on and forgiven one another.

Jumping into relationship commitments such as moving in and saying I love you before the first 90 day probationary period is typical people-addiction behavior.  Again if we “need” a relationship then we are not ready for one.

GET TESTED

Rule #2 If you want to sleep with me you will have to get tested and show me the results on paper.  If you can’t resist sex in the mean-time absolutely use a condom especially if you haven’t gotten your own results in yet.  You could be committing murder.

DEFINE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Rule #3 Walk through the Fear-Show Self-Respect and mutual respect.  The fear of rejection is big in early recovery.     Actually not just early recovery it’s a prime characteristic of alcoholics.   But to stick with the principles we must communicate our desires to our new or potential sex partner.  Again we should not be needy, if we are needy we are not ready to date.  These days sex kills so monogamy and sexual commitment are things that are not so far fetched even on the first date.

It feels awkward but, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE SLEEPING WITH A MAN (or woman) WHO  INTENDS TO SLEEP  AROUND WHILE HE/SHE SLEEPS WITH YOU AS WELL?  My support group asked me that question when I started dating in my first year.  I surprised myself with a big HELL NO!  Sexual commitment is not marriage, it’s not going steady and it’s not a way to control someone or take them hostage. It doesn’t mean I love you.   A sexual monogamous commitment with a partner in this day and age is for safety and mutual respect and consideration.  It means that while we two are dating if he or I decide we want to sleep with other people we will have enough respect for each other to tell the other partner before we sleep around.

Remember it takes assertiveness to be candid and reveal who we are with complete truthfulness.  Doing this the first time will be hard because of the fear of rejection.  Having a support group is so important to back you up on doing the right thing until you get used to standing on your own two feet in a place of principled morality and Loving respect for yourself and others.

Even Oprah talks about “defining our relationship” its not just a recovery thing.

Work Your AA Program First

GO HOME AT NIGHT, AND KEEP GOING HOME AND GO HOME NO MATTER HOW BAD WE MAY WANT TO FALL INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE WE ARE building a new and sober life.  We are finding out who we really are.  And we are also re-creating who we are.  It’s best if we can live alone to grow spiritually for a year or so before we commit to sharing our life with someone else.

The window to recovery is open for you now.  Now is your time.  It will be easier now than it will every be.  Get to a meeting and meet some new friends.

Life will be good!

SOON TO COME “A MANS PERSPECTIVE ON EARLY RECOVERY AND SOBER SEX”

I am currently looking for a sober man 4 years plus to write this article to the men new to recovery.

 

 

 

 

 

AA Is Getting a Bad Rap

 

Recovery Farmhouse thanks our most recent guest, published (“Last Call” a Memoir) writer Nancy Carr for sharing her stories and articles with us.   You can find Nancy’s book available in the left sidebar.

AA is getting a bad rap lately by Nancy Carr

I’m hoping I can change that rap.  Over the last few months AA has been in the media and not in a good way.  When I saw Gabrielle Glaser this past March on CNN discussing her most recent article in the Guardian, “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous”, I was super irritated.  Who the heck was she to eschew a “way of life” for millions of alcoholics and addicts in recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body?   I don’t know why she felt it was her duty to take on the AA organization as a whole and discount what an amazing social movement and Recovery Fellowship it actually is.  This Fellowship helps people and saves lives.  Period.  If it’s used properly of course.  I should further state what AA is not: 

It’s not a speed dating venue, it’s not a place to go meet your new neighbor, it’s not a place to go looking for drugs, it’s not a place to further your career and reach your sales quota, and it’s also not a place to find a babysitter. 

AA is a place to get and stay sober.  More on that later. 

Back to Gabby and her irrational AA article.  I’m so grateful that Jesse Singal wrote a counter piece entitled, “Why Alcoholics Anonymous works”.  He went on to say, “Glaser’s central claim that there’s no rigorous scientific evidence that AA and other 12-step programs work is wrong.  Glaser is simply ignoring a decade’s worth of science.”   Further on in his piece, Jesse gets input from an addiction specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “No, that’s not true,” said Dr. John Kelly.  When Glaser’s argument was run by him, he countered, “There’s quite a bit of evidence now, actually, that’s shown that AA works.”  Further Kelly said, “In recent years, researchers have begun ramping up rigorous research on what are known as “12-step facilitation” programs, which are “clinical interventions designed to link people with AA.” 

Well, thank goodness Dr. John Kelly and Jess Singal were around to back up some of Glaser’s BS.  According to an 2010 article in Wired by Brendan Koerner, “the 200-word instruction set has since become the cornerstone of addiction treatment in this country, where an estimated 23 million people grapple with severe alcohol or drug abuse—more than twice the number of Americans afflicted with cancer.  Some 1.2 million people belong to one of AA’s 55,000 meeting groups in the US, while countless others embark on the steps at one of the nation’s 11,000 professional treatment centers. Anyone who seeks help in curbing a drug or alcohol problem is bound to encounter Wilson’s system on the road to recovery.”  Brendan’s article further goes on and list the pros and cons of AA and why it works for some and not for others, but the basis of his article was that it works, if you work it and if you want it.  It’s also not the only method to get sober, it just happens to be the method that worked for me and one that I truly believe in.  So of course I’m going to be an advocate and supporter of the 12 step program.   

However, the most disturbing piece I saw recently was about the new documentary the 13thStep. 

I had heard about this film through the recovery community and didn’t want to give it more than a second thought until I read Amy Dresner’s article on the The Fix.  Amy who has been in and out of recovery for the past 20 years (currently she has over 2 years now in AA) wrote a review about Monica Richardson’s documentary,  The 13th Step, a film about predators in AA.    Amy goes on to write, “This film interviews a slew of women who have been sexually abused by men in AA, as well as the family members of women, like Karla Brada, who have been murdered by AA members. Brada met Eric Allen Earl in AA. He had nowhere to go so she took him in and was dead by his hands four months later.   After the fact, her family dug into his history and discovered he had 22 years of criminal activity including eight restraining orders and a stunning 52 court-orders to AA. Brada’s family are suing AA for wrongful death.” Additionally she wrote about Julie, “Julie knew a guy in the rooms of AA for three years and he invited her over for coffee at his home, only to slip a date rape drug in her tea and assault her.   When Julie complained to her sponsor about the incident, she was met with “Well, what was your part?”   I was less than thrilled when I read this and even more so as to who the hell Julie’s sponsor was? But that’s not the point here.  The point is that AA may not be the healthiest environment to walk into, but not all of AA is an evil breeding ground for criminals and predators.  I’d like to see the documentary that focuses on the real recovery of AA and how it does help alcoholics and addicts regain their lives back. How families are mended back together, how marriages are saved, how parents learn to be parents again and how sober citizens finally can get a chance at a true and sober life.  Where is that documentary?

I highly recommend reading Amy’s piece, and as disturbing as it was, it really annoyed the crap out of me.  Not Amy’s piece, but the content of the documentary.  I’m actually sad that AA isn’t a safe place for a newcomer, or anyone ignorant to the 12 step environment, to get sober.  I get that AA has these sick freaky dudes and we are not a group of healthy folk, Well Peoples’ Anonymous it is not. 

When I found out, in my first 30 days of recovery, what 13 stepping was – I was shocked.  I couldn’t believe that men, who seemed to be so nice and supportive towards me, wanted to take advantage of my vulnerability and ignorance.  I was a shell of a person when I walked into the rooms, so to have my sponsor tell me what 13 stepping was, I was just mortified.  I had this old dude who kept asking me out for coffee and I was so naïve as I didn’t know how to say No.  My sponsor told me to tell him “No way” and to blame it on her.  Verbatim, she told me to say, “My sponsor said there is no reason for you and me to have coffee outside the rooms, so no thanks”   I was so relieved that I didn’t have to be rude to him.  I was actually worried as I didn’t want to hurt his feelings!  Crazy talk!  Same thing could be said for the “hugging” that goes on at meetings now a days.  I’m not a hugger if I don’t know you.  Just because I met you at an AA meeting, doesn’t mean we are friends and we can hug.  What is with that? Dudes just think that women are open game to hugging if you say “Hello” to them at a meeting.  I’ve come a long way since my early sobriety and figured out early on who was “safe” in the rooms and who wasn’t. 

Amy goes on in her piece to say that AA is a breeding ground for predators and sick people, which makes complete sense.  AA alone is not a remedy for our disease and what ails us.  It’s not a cure all for everyone and most people in the Fellowship, like myself, need to seek outside help for other issues.  The 12 steps, sponsorship, meetings, service, and the Fellowship are all fine and dandy, but they don’t work for everyone.  It’s true that most people who come into AA are not just addicted to alcohol – they can be dual diagnosis; either drug dependent, mental disorders, eating disorders, sex addictions, adult children of alcoholics and other co-dependency issues are wide and varied.   AA is a place for sick people just trying to get better and if everyone who came to AA had a genuine desire to get sober and do what is suggested, I’m sure we wouldn’t have all these predators and sickies trying to get one over on us. 

I myself was 13 stepped by a sponsor.  Not in a sexual way, but in a manipulative and deceitful way.  She was very well respected in my Fellowship, well regarded as an AA pillar to many.  She sponsored a lot of women, she was asked to speak frequently at speaker meetings, she held a women’s meeting out of her home, she had a good rap and she ran a really great program.  She was the deal.  I wanted what she had.  BAM!  She was a fraud. 

I started noticing some holes in her story, “from the podium” and started asking some questions about this and that and soon after so did a few other folks and lo and behold, it turned out that most of her story was a lie and she had also been embezzling money from one of her customers.  Soon the local authorities were on to her and she was sent to an out of state prison for a few years.  So, yeah, there was a bad apple in the bunch, but it didn’t deter me from wanting to be in AA. Nor did it make me flee AA and join another sober Fellowship.  I saw this person for what she was, a con artist.  I thought to myself, “Wow, what a great place to come if you want to take advantage of people.” 

I’m not one to say that AA is the only way to recovery as there are other programs out there, SMART, SOS, WFS, Celebrate Recovery, spiritual advisors, meditation, yoga and white knuckling abstinence.  What I am saying – and this is just my rant and my belief, is that AA has worked for me unequivocally.  It works if I work it.  It’s a program that has helped shaped me to be a better human being.  It has also helped millions of other people and it’s a place where people come back to.  It’s a place where we will welcome you back whether or not you relapsed for 2 days or 2 years – we just want to help you. At least the majority of people I know in AA do.  The majority of people in AA are good, honest, helpful and caring individuals.  It’s the 13 steppers, 2 steppers and bottom feeders who aren’t there for their sobriety.  They are there for themselves and what they can get out of you.   They are the folks you need to stay away from.  They are the bad apples of the bunch and my advice to anyone would be to trust their gut.  Guys with the guys and women with the women – at least for the first year until you have some sober time.  The unsaid rule of “don’t date in your first year thing” was a great yard stick for me.  I started dating right after my year and let’s just say I was able to start working on Step 6 pretty easily after that.  I should also out myself a bit here and say that my now husband and I started dating when I had a few years and he had 9 months.  So, yeah, I guess anyone could say that I was a 13 stepper!  In my own defense, we had a very communicative, open and loving relationship where we both kept to our own programs.  This is also not to say we haven’t had our ups and downs in our marriage, because we have, but at least we have a unified belief together that AA is where we want to recover and that we feel lucky that we get to walk this journey of recovery together as we both want to live a sober and full life. 

At the end of the day, I have to believe in the foundation of the program and how Bill W. wanted it to be, “an easy program for complicated people”, and “Rule 62, just don’t take ourselves too damn seriously.”

Posted by Nancy Carr at 5:58 AM No comments:

 

Dating and Sex in Sobriety

NO RELATIONSHIPS BEFORE A YEAR SOBER..SO THEY SAY IN AA.  the suggestion has much merit but there are exceptions to the rule.

We can quickly destroy all our loving relationships due to natural knee-jerk reactions that fend off fear and the feelings that fear creates.  Some deadly knee-jerk solutions are blame, criticisms, hate, playing the victim or the oppressor anything that relates to putting down and condemning others to make ourselves feel better if even just for a short while.  There is no shortage of people to condemn including ourselves.  In the meantime we lose what our hearts really need and crave…to Love and to be Loved, to comfort and to be comforted, to understand and to be understood, to follow our conscience and to live guilt-free.

If you want to read  what Alcoholics Anonymous’ take on dating and sex is read page 69 from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Also here’s the link to the Narcotics Anonymous literature on the topic.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

http://www.nawol.org/2012_ch16%20RELATIONSHIPS.htm

There are some awesome suggestions in both texts.  I feel obligated and inspired to write my own experience on the topic as an A.A. member since 2006.  My sobriety date is 04-15-06.  My name is Lori E. and I am a recovering drunk, heroin addict, crack-head, and co-dependent.  Given all of the things that I have recovered from including cigarettes I needed more than just A,A, to get better.

However without A.A. I doubt I would still be sane and sober.  I am the Chairman of the New Life Group in Gainesville, Florida.  I have done my share of taking meetings into the very jail I got sober in and the institution that taught me emotional healing.  Bridge House at Meridian Health Care.  http://mbhci.org/treatment-services/residential-inpatient-services/   saved my life and it cost me about $4 a day for 28 days if memory serves.  I do know at the time of my stay the government was footing  most of the bill.  They allow A.A. to bring meetings into inpatient on a regular basis including women meetings which at this phase of my sobriety are my favorite. Women open up on issues that are so pertinent to their healing that would otherwise be taboo in mixed meetings.  I remember they told us that only one out of the 30 patients in our group would still be sober after a year.  We proved them wrong due tothe excellent psychological therapy that we received from psychologists working there at that time.   There is a group of 5 or 6 of us who are pushing the 10 year mark of sobriety.  “Trauma in recovery” was the name of the therapy group.  And we had a “women’s issues” group also.   Out of the two therapists who saved our lives and taught us how to emotionally process (live with feelings) one has passed away and the other still works there.

SOBER RELATIONSHIPS and codependency

Three of the women that I got sober with including myself have been in long term healthy relationships that began during the first year of our sobriety in 2006.  Two of us are with men that have at least 7 more years sober than ourselves and we met these men in the program.  Technically that makes those two men 13th steppers but we can laugh about that now.   Thank god for the 13th step!  13th stepping is when a member with say a year or more sober preys upon a new and vulnerable member.  Technically this can be a very bad thing so I won’t make light of it without explanation.  I believe if we are over the age of 18 we are responsible for our choices and that includes when we are newly sober.

We women in my outpatient therapy group were dating early on but we took every action and choice that we made regarding our new relationships into the group for feedback and guidance.  We all spent at least a year in that therapy group 2 to 3 nights a week.   Since we had a support group we were not technically as vulnerable as your typical and newly sober woman.  Without that group I would not be in a mature and happy relationship today.  But it took allot of work on myself to change.  So two of us found our men in A.A. and the third women a total miracle because she found her husband in Bridge House.   Hers was what we call a re-hab relationship.  Re-hab relationships rarely last.  Usually what happens is the two people leave rehab and use drugs together.  Next they betray one another and the relationship ends in a total train wreck.  That’s the odds.

Even our wise counselor at Bridge House told us that from what he had seen people who get into relationships in their first year always relapse.  I remember in group one day Dr. Rand Maryowitz told us that he had never seen a relationship work that had started in the first year of sobriety.  Us women looked at each other reading one another’s minds we thought, “there is no way we are ending this relationship!  It feels too good.”  And it was good, the trick for me was to survive the crash of the fairy tale expectations which was one of my patterns of co-dependency.

I wanted to RUN AND BLAME

so many times when my feelings would get hurt and I felt he had wronged me.  That was me a runner and a blamer.  I was the victim.  Each time I felt that way I would call my new friends from group instead of running.  I would then realize one of two things, either my new partner had not wronged me at all or he had unknowingly done so and I just needed to communicate with him on an honest level and let him know how I felt and why I felt I was wronged.  Not so I could be “right” but so we could get to know each other and learn what one another considers disrespectful.  If you are with a partner that is willing to work with you and communicate at a core and honest level then you have a chance of gaining a life-long mate.  Soul mates     THE FACES OF LOVE

RULE NUMBER ONE- STOP BLAMING MY PARTNER FOR MY OWN FEELINGS AND MY  OWN CHOICES.

RULE NUMBER TWO- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR EVERYTHING IN MY OWN LIFE.  INCLUDING MY PAIN AND INSECURITIES

RULE THREE-LEARN WHAT TO DO WITH THE INTENSE FEELINGS THAT WON’T GO AWAY.

I had spent my whole life blaming others for my shit.  It took a strong support group, a good counselor, and A.A (the twelve steps to be precise) for me to make the transition into self-responsibility.   Here are some of the articles that talk about the solutions to relationship sabotage.  I really had no idea what a healthy relationship was until I got sober and allowed myself to be emotionally vulnerable and teachable.

The thing is we get hurt and betrayed then we put up walls that protect us from that happening again.  But unfortunately the instinctual walls of a sick addict push love out and bring fear in.  I had to learn how to be okay with me.  I had to let myself off the hook for all the mistakes of the past and make amends where I could.  I had to invite God into all the areas of my life that I had been shielding Him from.  Without a Higher Power the healing process does not have the supernatural punch needed for an emotional make-over.  Therapy, 12 steps and God.  Three ingredients to a super dooper recovery!  I know many people in A.A. have given up of intimate relationships.  Many times when they do give up then, finally they find their soul mate.  A partner cannot fix us.  They cannot process our feelings for us or build our needed self-esteem only we can do that by doing the next right thing.  And continuing to do the next right thing.  Here are some articles about relationships and what it takes to be a partner.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory-pg-69-big-book/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/the-power-of-choice-clearing-the-wreckage-of-the-past/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/relationships-alcoholics-anonymous/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory/