Post by northstarmom on Nov 1, 2017 15:07:41 GMT -5
I used to work in the substance abuse field. Alcoholics Anonymous did not give advice on whether to date a recovering alcoholic.However, some of the counselors who were members of AA told our the patients not to use another patient as their “13th step.” In other words, don’t use a romantic relationship as a substitute for following the recommended recovery program. Two sick people are not the equivalent of a well person.
Post by greatcoastal on Nov 1, 2017 17:22:13 GMT -5
One thing that made me think about AA was how they encourage you to be open about your problem, with others who share the same problems. To drop the fake mask, the fear, obligation, and guilt, and feel comfortable asking for help. To be a receiver. I see such a situation carrying over when dealing with a SM problem and a divorce.
Post by greatcoastal on Nov 2, 2017 8:44:33 GMT -5
Just to add on to my other post about AA, The other day at my men's bible study one of the men said " if churches where more like AA, and encouraged people to feel open about the fact that we all have problems, and you are not weak by airing them out, and saying "I could use help or advise, things are tough, today's churches would be overflowing with people".
It's so true. Especially when it comes time for prayer requests for men. We have been so programmed and conditioned to be "happily married, and no one needs to hear your problems, if your not happily married church is not the place for you. That is so wrong, and not how churches aught to be, yet here we are and things continue to go that way. Hopefully changing. The change is slow and long overdue. The change is also coming more on an individual basis - one person, a separate entity, helping another- instead of from the church body."
I see this at my Divorce Recovery classes that meet at churches. Very different than the experience when going to a Sunday morning service.
Just my 2 cents. Not meant to offend anyone or change anyone's beliefs.
What does AA say about that? Are you better to team up in a relationship with someone who is a recovered Alcoholic? Or someone who has never had a drinking problem?
AA doesn't really speak to one's love life. The only requirement is an earnest desire to stop drinking alcohol. As far as sponsors go:
A.A. experience does suggest that it is best for men to sponsor men, women to sponsor women. This custom usually helps our members stay focused on the A.A. program. Some gay men and lesbians feel an opposite-sex sponsor is more appropriate for similar reasons.
I would tend to agree with this wisdom because it is hard enough to stay sober without being turned on by your sponsor. Mine has a scraggly beard and I'm very seldom attracted to men with scraggly beards (whew!).
AA is all about getting your shit together. If you are wise and getting out an SM, you will get your shit together too - even better to get your shit together before you get out. Since I'm recently out of an SM and a relative newcomer to AA, I see these as two complementary processes. My sponsor and I were talking last week and completely agree that everyone should go through this program whether they have a drinking problem or not. I see many parallels between going through AA and getting through a SM:
In case you don't know the twelve steps:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. <<<<< This is where I am at right now *** 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. <<<<< I'm a bit of a narcissist (spoiler alert) and giving over control is causing me fits...but I'm trying. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Here is how I see this forum similar to AA:
1. I think it's pretty apparent that most people here are powerless in their marriages. 2. I think that for many of us here, this forum (a power greater than ourselves) can restore us to sanity. 3, I'm not sure that you would want to turn over your will and lives over to this group 4. If you are smart, you do a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. This isn't just about your marriage, just like it isn't just about drinking. 5. "Coming clean" on what unhealthy behaviors we have done to cope with the situation may have exasperated it. 6. This isn't a 12 step program with a spiritual component, but if you believe, it can't hurt. 7. Ditto. 8. This takes 4 and puts a name to a face. Easier to say "I was a dick at times" than "I was a dick to (fill in the name) at these specific times in these specific ways)" 9. Sometimes you can make ammends, sometimes you can't. BOC and I differ on how we view this step as it pertains to my ex-wife. She can't imagine ever making amends to her ex who put her through a 25 year hell. The idea of making amends to my ex fills me with dread and I rebel against it. But I do feel bad about how I handled alcohol during our relationship. I never beat anyone, but I did get us thrown out of places. I did get so drunk on Mother's Day I had to stay home throwing up while she tap-danced around both our moms. So those things I think I can apologize for. Granted, she is the reason I'm an alcoholic in the first place, but this step is about amends, not blame. Thank God, I'm a long way from this step. 10. Keep making the effort towards getting your shit together. This is especially important once you're out of the marriage. 11. I see this as keeping yourself humble, kind, and caring. I fail on all three pretty regularly, but I still try to improve through meditation. 12. This is the reason I think many of us stick around this site after we are out of our marriages. The principle of helping others going through trouble helps me just as much as it helps others. This dovetails into AA nicely. From previous posts, I believe this is why folks like baza are still here.
GeekGoddess I'd be fascinated to hear you pipe in on this.
I never realized AA had a religious component. I wonder how how it is adapted for atheist
Well, they have an entire chapter "For the Agnostic".
And to clarify, it isn't religious. It is spiritual. I know it sounds like the same thing, but when they say "higher power" what they refer to is a power outside yourself.
In step one we admit we are powerless against alcohol. I sure as hell am. Give me a drink then it's two then it's three then it's off to the races. Quite often, literally off to the races, behind the wheel of my car. Sometimes with the full family in with me. The higher power can be anything. It can be God for those of faith. For athiests, agnostics, and even Buddhists like me who don't believe in a loving god? Who will take my cravings from me? Well, believing in the power of your AA program itself can be a higher power. Many people use that, or something like that to satisfy the need for a higher power without having to resort to the supernatural.
For example, ballofconfusion has been amazing on helping me stay sober. She is a bigger cheerleader than any other friends or family I have. Every one month anniversary, I wake up to how proud she is of me and how far I've come. She is amazing. But she couldn't be a higher power. What if we had a fight? You can't lay your foundation on something that can have ups and downs.
For the first 6 months I was sober, before I found an AA group (BOC actually helped me find it after I concluded Houston didn't have one I'd like , my higher power happened to be my kids and the fear I had of them being taken from me in the divorce. It is only now that I'm out of the divorce and this threat is no longer real that I have to find something more permanent. This program is helping me deal with my SM, but also on my daily meditation. I'm hoping it makes me a bit less of an asshole, and become a better person in the process.
But there are probably millions of AA members who are atheists. That is why it is a spiritual program and not a religious one.
Sham's Law #1: Everything in life is simple. First you figure out what you want. Second, you figure out how to get it. Third you do it. The first step, unfortunately happens to be the hardest.
My exposure to a 12 step set up was through a group called GamAnon. This group is for family / friends of people where there is a gambling issue in the dynamic. It is an offshoot of Gamblers Anonymous which is for people who actually have a gambling problem.
I joined it in about August 2005 - at my wits end of trying to stop my missus'gambling.
It was a total life changer for me. I've written about it elsewhere here.
But here, I will confine myself to this "Higher Power" / "God" aspect. Those of you who know me are aware that I am not religous, although I have a half arsed sort of belief in some sort of higher power who throws opportunities and hints about randomly for us to act on or not act on as we see fit. The gift of "choice" essentially. What we do with that gift of choice is up to us. And sometimes, that "gift" doesn't really look much like a "gift" at all. Sometimes, it actually looks like a piano about to drop on you from a great height.
Anyway, my "Higher Power" is the collective wisdom I've found in groups like GamAnon, like Experience Project I Live In A Sexless Marriage group, like this very ILIASM group, like random shit that I see - hear - read in all sorts of aspects of daily life. Religious persons might be more comfortable in "God".
And the 12 steps underpin all that, and provides me with road signs along the path. It's the steps that are important, not what your "Higher Power" might be.
But as ever, tread your own path. 12 step programs are not for everyone. They can be highly challenging and difficult.
Post by GeekGoddess on Nov 2, 2017 22:13:21 GMT -5
Gosh, there's a lot good already been said. It's certainly not that AA says one way or another about what to do with/in/for relationships. In the rooms, there are lots of relationships going on though - some with other alcoholics, some with "normies" as we nickname the folks who can handle their booze/consumption responsibly. AA is really just a microcosm of the rest of the world - we just have this one thing (this one problem) in common. In and around groups, a lot of other similarities are found but that is not the mission of the meetings. The meetings focus on "our problems as they relate to alcoholism" Informally - I will say that my new way of life (sobriety) is a special thing to me and it is the thing that allows all the other stuff to go on (going to school would never have succeeded if I didn't get sober first). So - if I don't date another alcoholic then it must at least be a person who supports my sobriety nearly as strongly as I value it myself. No harping on "you're not going to another meeting?!" - because, yes, I will be going whenever I need to and that is pretty damn often still. Same goes for post-SM vs simply single. I do think that a person can have compassion for my SM experience without having gone through that themselves. Like northstarmom, I think a "normie" (in this case, a non-SM-escapee) may speak volumes for that person really knowing how to conduct a healthy relationship. But - escapees can learn that too - even if we did stay in a very unhealthy (one-sided) relationship for too long. I CAN learn, and am trying to. "AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution, does not wish to engage in controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." And - it works just great for atheists and agnostics. I first used ideas like physics and gravity as my "higher power" because they are definitely powers greater than me (my will). I've adapted and changed my concept(s) since - and no ONE idea has to be a permanent one. Just like my own self-development, my spiritual development can grow and change and use new ideas. Nature is a good one. Science is a good one. My AA program itself, handed down for more than 80 years - one sober alcoholic to another one still drunk, trying to dry out. That's a real good one. Love (purely defined) is a good one. Anything CAN work as the HP that I lean on, if I'm sincere. Great thread, y'all.