Step Four SEXUAL INVENTORY AA
(This article is based on my experiences in Alcoholics Anonymous for over 10 years. )
Why is it that there are more men getting and staying sober in the program of AA than women? Why is it that we women seem to have more emotional issues that need addressing than men? Partly we just talk about our issues more, men usually repress on a much larger scale. Nevertheless we woman that do stay sober are usually more of the “tomboy” type. The very feminine and highly fragile woman rarely can get through what it takes to stay sober.
Experience teaches that us “ruff” types often bi-sexual women have a much higher chance statistically of staying sober than do the frail and feminine. (taken from Triangle Club Gainesville, Fl statistics (Triangle club meeting schedule) Clearly experience teaches it’s the “alpha” females who stay sober in much greater numbers than the more submissive woman. However, we must learn to make ourselves vulnerable emotionally rather than protecting ourselves emotionally. “Sobriety ain’t for sissies!” So bone up ladies! You can do it but it’s gonna hurt! The bad news is…we can feel again, the good news is…we can feel again. Yes and we have a boat load of emotional issues and character flaws to give to our Higher Power and to ebb-away at.
Most addict women (who I have met) were sexually abused as children, (every stripper addict I knew when I danced (I took a pole) and the women I have gotten to know in recovery have shared this information with me). I have silent theories that this commonality is the “why” behind most addictions. The guilt and shame that a young child will place on herself for something she was not equipped to fend off is astounding and life-changing. We addict woman have learned by the age of ten or younger that we can use our sexuality against men (or women) to control them, manipulate them, and force feed them guilt to get whatever we want from them.
In spite of how men have wronged and abused us it is vital that we see “our part” concerning our resentments so we can not only stay sober but more importantly…learn to Love and keep Love close to us and in us. WE DEPLOY LOVE IN DEFENSE OF FEAR. I am saying Love is of greatest importance in our recovery however we are usually incapable of showing Love or even defining what true spiritual Love is. Often we are incapable of acting out of Love in a truly giving way when we are deep in our addiction. Sobriety must be our priority if we are to fully recover.
For those of us who were abused all we really wanted when we allowed the sexual-predators affection and didn’t run to an adult and snitch the assailant out was someone to Love us. We confused physical attention with Love and we thought to get Love we had to drop our moral boundaries. We thought we had to be hurt to get what we needed. Most addict women suffer in dysfunctional relationships, it goes hand in hand with our addiction.
I have heard many stories in AA. We normally share our story with the group by the time we have 1 year sober. We share “what it was like, what happened in AA, and what it is like now”. Some of us even sold our bodies outright for money to get drugs. We were exposed to many disgusting and painful situations. Some that we barely made it out of alive. It’s no wonder we learned to hate men. It’s no wonder we learned to hate women! They were our competition they betrayed our confidence! Screw woman we thought! We could manipulate men much easier.
But now we must put our “woman’s issues” on our fourth step. We will need other women if we are to heal and stay sober. So we pray for God to put the right woman in our lives so we can experience the “sisterhood of The Spirit”. Men absolutely are incapable of relating to many aspects of our personalities therefore they are of limited use to us in recovery when working through these core woman’s issues. If we have a chance to get into a woman’s meeting we DO IT! These meetings are much more intimate and women will share things that you absolutely will not hear in a regular meeting, shares that are vital for our healing
We begin to let our abuses out of our bag of secrets. We expose some shameful actions of our past in our fifth step with a sponsor and we expose other secrets in the rooms with the woman. We will find that doing so will put in place the connection that we need to other woman. When we listen in our women’s meeting we train ourselves to LOOK FOR THE SIMILARITIES RATHER THAN THE DIFFERENCES! We lay down our staunch invisible walls of defense and blame to let healing in.
Finding someone to criticize is an old survival skill that deflects self-guilt. Criticism feeds the ego that which it needs to go-on however, criticism is not what we need now…we need empathy, we need healing and that will never come whilst seeking differences so we can criticize others. We write ourselves a note “seek the similarities don’t criticize!” and we put that in front of us in every meeting we go to until we have trained our brains and have built a bridge over the sick neuron-pathways called addiction. Our brain-bridge is called “survival for the sober”. Building a sober brain-bridge takes work and a supernatural kick so we start by attending ninety meetings in ninety days and we pray for willingness, clarity, guidance, healing, and for our Higher Power to make a way where there seems no way.
We have deep and embedded trust issues that simply must be ignored to an extent so we can get what we need. We may not be able to trust but we will nevertheless choose a sponsor and work the Fifth Step leaving no debauchery uncovered. That which we want to keep secret the most should be at the top of our fourth step. The Truth will set us free.
We put the “blame-game” in the garbage. We are responsible for processing every feeling that comes into our hearts. If we have sex with a person they owe us nothing! It is our choice whether we have sex and unless we tell the person up-front a price for that sex…they owe us nothing. Not a phone call, not to fix things for us, not to make our choices for us, nor a place to stay they owe us nothing. If we expect something from a person we are in bed with then we should be up-front about it. We can propose that if they are screwing other people we will have to leave the relationship. They are adult they can do as they please. They can make promises they won’t keep. If they don’t respect us then we leave the relationship it is our choice if we stay therefore blame is off the table. Granted we can command respect but it is us who must draw the line in the sand and walk away when it is crossed. We cannot make other adults do anything we can only request and suggest.
If we feel we have been wronged we should call a woman and talk it out. If a law has been broken we may call the cops. We often find when we talk things out with another woman, it is our unresolved issues that are haunting us rather than the person we are in bed with in the present. We addicts tend to carry an ink-blotter stamping “guilty” on anyone we are intimate with once the fairy-tale phase of the relationship is over. Not anymore! Now we journal, we write “fuck you” letters (do not send) to vent our angers. We scream alone in our cars if we have to, it helps and releases endorphins. We beat the pillow, we talk it out with woman but we do not blame anyone anymore for our feelings ever.
Even if we are wronged…can the person process our emotions for us? No! If others had the responsibility of processing and dealing with our feelings then we would be slaves to other people which we are not. We are learning how to take responsibility for our lives and our emotions. It is not easy, it is not for sissies. But you recovery sister, can do it because ‘we’ are stronger and capable of a deeper Love than most women can even imagine. Why? Because of the deep pain you have suffered.
Your emotional pain has carved out a deep dark hole in your heart. You will process that hurt and replace it with Love. That is why we women in recovery are more capable of a deeper Love than anyone who has not been through the trauma that we have. Seek God and The Sunlight of The Spirit and you shall be a vessel of joy, Love, and happiness amidst the tears that have gone un-cried for too long.