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Old 04-13-2012, 12:19 AM   #1
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Icon20 No new relationships your first year in recovery?


I am currently 91 days sober and i am single. I met a girl early in my recovery. We met at a AA meeting... i have more sobriety than her.

I have been very serious about having no relationships in my first year of sobriety as my sponsor told me it was very important.

After i realized me and her had feeling for each other i quit talking to her (i had less than 3 weeks sober). Knowing i had to keep my sobriety first and not start relationships in early recovery, i just told her i had to work on my sobriety.

I am now having seconds thoughts about staying single for a year because we recently started talking again.

I'm not sure i can stay away from her, I actually dont wont to stay away from her at all now... I havent had a relationship in 4+ years. I am having these emotional feelings and "attention" from a female that i havent had / felt in years. I know it's not love... but it could be later on... the feelings are overwhelming and very very enjoyable. I feel like i'm in high school again and having that puppy love sensation...

I am scared because of 3 things:
  1. She has less sobriety than me and our DOC is the same. If she relapses... i would be in a very bad spot and could possibly relapse with her. Setting myself up for failure or whatever.
  2. If we broke up, or whatever.... it would make my homegroup uncomfortable since that's where she goes. My homegroup is my main support system for being sober and i would hate for something to make me feel uncomfortable in the only place i feel comfortable...
  3. Everybody is telling me it is a bad idea to date her (aswell as any other relationships). I dont want to share to my homegroup one day about how i relapsed and should have listened to everybody instead of ignoring them and involving myself in relationships (that is if i make it back into recovery)...

I just started praying about it, I have mentioned this to my sponsor, and talked to my parents about this a few times. (they are active in al-non and are very involved in my sobriety, there a huge support system for me.) But im just not able to take this situation day by day or hour by hour... or just forget about it. I want to believe i will be in the low percentage of people that succeed in "early recovery relationships" or that this rule just doesnt apply to me.

Please help! i'm scared because i'm losing focus on my sobriety AND knowingly dont care that i might be putting my sobriety in jeopardy. Are there any biblical scriptures or Big book quotations that i can read? Where is this rule found in AA literature... Anything at all would be greatly appreciated. I need help regaining focus on my sobriety.

Last edited by props2bob; 04-13-2012 at 12:26 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:27 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by props2bob View Post
Please help! i'm scared because i'm losing focus on my sobriety AND knowingly dont care that i might be putting my sobriety in jeopardy. Are there any biblical scriptures or Big book quotations that i can read? Where is this rule found in AA literature... Anything at all would be greatly appreciated. I need help regaining focus on my sobriety.
Thank you for sharing. There are no rules in AA, only suggestions. Think twice about ANYTHING that would compromise your recovery. Knowing that a relationship might put your sobriety in jeaopardy and not caring is not a good place to be. Continue to work with your sponsor, DON"T lose focus. If the realtionship is meant to be, then one year won't make a difference. I will be praying for you.
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:39 PM   #3
Craig A.
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Alcoholism works in many different forms! The reason people say don't get in a relationship right away is for one you possibly maybe taking advantage of her, second you are not being true to yourself (chasing that feeling), and threeyou don't really know yourself yet. There is no set rule to really anything thing in life but there are suggestions. If you didn't follow this suggestion in the beginning why will you follow any later on especially if this seems to work out. With all this in mind stay with your program remember honesty might be tough but lying has more drastic consequences so no matter what you do be honest about yourself and what you do remember a secret is a secret no matter what you feel about it or what other people think.

A suggestion would be to find another homegroup preferrably an all mens meeting where you can share everything. In my experience I haven't seen a relationship really work that started this way but a one or two have so maybe this will help you work a stronger program or maybe this will help you find yourself all over again. Just remember this is a one day at a time programthere is nothing that a drink/drug can make worse!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:46 PM   #4
Ed C.
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Hi All,

props2bob, I can't give you any advice other than my own experience in this type of situation. When I first started out with my sponsor, his advice was to cool it with the relationship thing for the first year. I actually had several women that tried to start a relationship with me with-in the first month of going to my home group. In fact I had one from rehab that called me for several weeks after leaving there. I heeded my sponsor's advice and politely told each one of them that I was serious about becoming sober and that was all that I was going to get serious about.

All of that lasted about 9 months. I picked up my 9 month chip and looked at it. It was purple, and it brought back memories of a woman that I had loved for many years while active in my addictions. Her favorite color was purple!

This woman had become sober 6 years previous to my sobriety, so I made the decision to try to contact her. Mind you I had not seen this woman for about 5 years, so I had no clue what had transpired in her life during that time; so I called her. She had heard that I was trying to stay sober, and we talked for hours on the phone. The conversation ended with me being invited to her house for a picnic in which quite a few of both of our friends were coming to.

I was dropped off at the picnic as scheduled. I had been to a meeting that day and told my sponsor that I planned on attending. He believed that I had my S**t together enough to at least carefully try to start a relationship with this woman. That was my intention and that was what I was going to do.

Now here's the thing. I had literally spent most of my adult life as an addict. Although I had many "relationships" throughout the years, even some that had lasted for long periods of time, I had never been sober for any of them. My intentions were for one thing and one thing only, that was to get laid. Even the long lasting relationships I had were riddled with unfaithfulness. Plain and simple I was as selfish as someone could be in any relationship that I had!!!!

Back to the picnic; I was really happy that things were happening so well between my old girlfriend and I. It seemed as though everyone was positive about the two of us getting back together as sober individuals. So I did what I knew best, I stayed after the picnic and after some talking we both made love for the first time since I had become sober. It seemed to me to be the most fantastic experience that I had even had. That was until it was over.

The facts were, I was still immature as far as my feelings. I had really never spent time with someone else as an adult. Oh sure I had spent nearly 21 years as an adult legally, but I had the emotional wellbeing of a teenager at best. I had no clue what an adult relationship was, and to tell you the truth, neither had my friend even though she had been sober for 6 years.

Yeah she had her S**t together a little bit better than I did, but we were pretty much at the same spot we left each other six years previously with-in a month of our reunion. It lasted almost a year, but it was complete misery. I had asked her to marry me, but retracted the proposal.

The only thing that kept me sober was I kept on going to meetings! I chaired them, I sponsored people, and I read the Big Book every day. I finally moved into my new house (alone) a little after my second year of sobriety. I have lived without having a serious relationship with a woman now for almost twelve years. I'm not saying that I have not had adult relationships with other adults, I'm just saying that it is hard to find someone who wants something more than just rolling around in the hay.

LISTEN, now that I have found out what it means to act as adult, I can and will be responsible for everything that I do. I'm not going to tell you that you can't handle a relationship without staying sober. It doesn't matter how long it is that you don't drink or do drugs.

It has been my experience as a sober individual now going on thirteen years of sobriety, that it takes an awful long time to learn how to control your emotions enough to be sober. I'm not talking about staying away from drinking and doing drugs, I'm talking about having peace in your soul. To actually know who you are and how you fit into this thing called life.

It takes a lot of patience and compromise to have a successful adult relationship, especially when there is sex involved. So you have to ask yourself; "Am I at the point in my sober life that I have healthy enough emotions to do it"? Just from reading your post I would say no! It's not up to me to make that decision, it's up to you. Listen to your conscience, it will tell you the answer! With Love and Respect, Ed C.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
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I still get emotional with my relationship, maybe I always will. It is my belief that it was my emotions that got me drunk and high. I don't drink or use anymore over them. To me, going without a relationship was hard, I was so lonely that it caused other emotional distraught. I guess we can do whatever it is we think we need for in the end we may become a statistic for either choice, but if we do make the wrong choice we can learn from the experience. Hopefully we can make it right before we use again.
The triumphant arch described in the Big Book of AA can be found over the month of March, connecting the 28th of February with April Fool's. A day is added to February once every four years to help time keep up with the Sun's cycle.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:38 AM   #6
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Somewhere in the Big Book it almost encourages relationships between recovered alcoholics but at the same time there is a reference somewhere to "boy meets girl on AA campus" not being such a good thing. The issue in early sobriety is that while all who are honestly trying to achieve a spiritual awakening through the steps, each will progress at a different rate, creating almost immediate tension. Secondly, as what we are seeking is a change of personality sufficent to recover from alcoholism, you will be a different person when you emerge from the steps, and so will she. Perhaps it will be safer and more loving to wait and see how you both feel after you have recovered.

God bless,
Mike H.

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Old 04-16-2012, 01:18 PM   #7
McDaniel N.
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Been there done that. Even if my sponsor told me not to make any relationship or major decision in the first year of my recovery. Like some say there are no rules but suggestion. I done it and was token advantage of. Went whining to my sponser and other memebers. All said don`t beat yourself UP for being human but both her and you are sick. Learn from this and give yourself credit and important to learn. The RIGHT ONE well be in your life LATER NOT NOW. "NOW NOW"!!!! thats what we want not later. Suggestion on getting another home group I AGREE or you stay with who your with.My experience Work the steps with SPONSOR
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:28 PM   #8
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Welcome Props2Bob!
Thank you for you're honesty in opening and sharing your truth about what's going on right now. Some really good suggestions and experience have been shared with you...of coarse it's up to you to make that decision. What was shared with me in the beginning about relationships was not to make a major decision in my first year. (Divorce, Marriage, etc. To work on MYSELF not somebody else) To give myself a break to get to know me, (not the addict me and all the compulsive behaviors that come along with my addiction.) Recovery isn't sexually transmitted...If we are in a relationship and our horomones are raging, which they usually do in the beginning since we are starting to feel again, that I would be taking my focus off of me and my responsibilty to work my program and would be chasing that "quick fix" that I could get when focusing on someone else. Remember that our disease manifests itself in other areas whether that be in women, men, food, SEX, gambling whatever we allow our disease to take hold of. I was told in the beginning to make a list of the qualities that I would like to have in a relationship: Honesty, loyalty, compassion, drug & alcohol free, employed and the list goes on and on. When you meet someone, hold that list up and see if their picture is on it. Remember that it goes both ways, she should be doing the same thing too, getting a sponsor that has a sponsor, working her steps. Everything is going to unfold the way it needs to. Do the homework to the best of your ability and you will be amazed at the things you find out about yourself and your interests. That year will go by so quick and you may realize that what you have right now is not what you really want. God bless you and your Recovery.
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Old 04-20-2012, 05:58 PM   #9
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noTHING wrong

Originally Posted by props2bob View Post
I am scared because of 3 things:
  1. She has less sobriety than me and our DOC is the same. If she relapses... i would be in a very bad spot and could possibly relapse with her. Setting myself up for failure or whatever.
  2. If we broke up, or whatever.... it would make my homegroup uncomfortable since that's where she goes. My homegroup is my main support system for being sober and i would hate for something to make me feel uncomfortable in the only place i feel comfortable...
  3. Everybody is telling me it is a bad idea to date her (aswell as any other relationships). I dont want to share to my homegroup one day about how i relapsed and should have listened to everybody instead of ignoring them and involving myself in relationships (that is if i make it back into recovery)...
noTHING wrong
with having a friend
but we need to remember
God tells us not to have sex unless married
for good reason as I look back
we leave a little piece of our heart behind with each one
and also take a piece of their heart with us
we need to cause others no more heartache
and also need to protect our hearts -- for a change
God always knows best for us
we spent enough time not listening ---- right ??

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Old 04-28-2012, 02:59 PM   #10
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I know for me the first year in recovery was the hardest. I had a lot of my own emotional baggage to sort out and when my feelings arrived - I had a hard time dealing with the full reality of what life on life's terms meant. So I guess I am saying I had tons of work to do in rebuilding my relationship with Self.

Adding another newly recovering person to that equation would mean "double" the work. I personally could not do it - nor was I going to shortchange someone else and pretend I could.

I had a hard enough time sorting through my own stuff without adding another person who had not yet sorted through theirs. Not only would it have been double the work - if it didn't work out - it would have been double the damage. My sponsor told me it was a selfish act to "hook" up with someone in the 12 step fellowship because she said it is not a dating service - people are trying to save their lives and to side track that process is selfish and self serving.

My sponsor "suggested" that I work on a relationship with myself and my HP/God in the first year. I took that suggestion seriously because I took my recovery seriously and I wanted to save my life.

While I watched others not take that suggestion seriously - they often got sidetracked from their recovery, they no longer were connected to the fellowship or "others" in the meetings or going for recovery - they became exclusive to each other and were going to meetings to show off how good they looked as a couple.

Another thing to think about is - I watched couples begin to sensor what they would share in meetings because they didn't want to fully disclose how they felt because it might hurt the other persons feelings. When the relationship hit a speed bump - or went badly - or they separated - they started avoiding each other in meetings or going to different meetings all together. they took sides and other people got pulled into their orbit and took sides too. Back biting and resentment often got played out on the AA or NA stage and the whole purpose of "carrying a message" got convoluted.

There is a reason they suggested no romantic relationships in the first year - and it is NOT just an AA or NA suggestion. It is also a clinical suggestion in the counseling community. Initially drugs and alcohol make us "feel" good....often in full blow addiction ....the further we go down the path of deterioration the drugs and alcohol stop working...we cannot recapture the good feelings of the beginning of our dependency. Especially when we are new in recovery - we long for the ease and comfort drugs or alcohol brought....we seriously want feelings of well being again. Guess what mimics that? A new romantic relationship "feels" wonderful. As our bodies surge with hormones and dopamine...it feels good to fall in love - to have the butterflies of dating again, to be wanted, respected, and honored by another person. The dance of a new relationship can feel just like the dance of our drug of choice.

Arrested development also plays a role in early recovery. Some of us started using drugs or drinking at a very early age = what ever age we began using = we stopped growing emotionally. So we get into early recovery without our drugs or Alcohol as a crutch and when we begin a new relationship we find out we don't have the adult skills to cope with life's stressors. We are operating from the emotional stage of an adolescent looking all grown up in an adult body.

I have seen way too many people hit that wall of emotional immaturity all by themselves without having a relationship mirror it for them. Often when addicts alcoholics "give up" they throw the towel in on everything....not just one aspect of recovery.

yes your concern of "relapse" is very real - but there are many stages along the way that can side track both of you.

While I cannot say what is right for you - I just wanted to put out some food for thought.

There are those people who have had good experiences too = they work on themselves while they are still together in recovery, they have good boundaries and keep their recovery separate from each other, they go to different meetings and attend some meetings together. They work separate programs and don't become each others higher power nor do they take each others inventory. I have seen a few of these relationships blossom in the rooms, however they are far and few between.

Some of the strongest relationships I have seen in recovery is when people have matured in the rooms and they get together after they have built a solid foundation in recovery.

I waited 5 years to have a relationship in recovery and I still find it to be one of the hardest things to work through and also one of the most rewarding experiences. I personally would not have made it through my first year clean and sober having to face some of the emotional pain I have experienced in this relationship. I am a little over 9 years clean and sober now and I still find that this relationship has challenged me in ways I would not have had skills for in my first 3 years of recovery. Leaning to love and respect myself and building a relationship with me - is a lifelong journey. Adding another person to that is still double the work.

hope some of this has helped you

light and love

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, we can all start from today and make a brand new ending.
~Carl Bard~

"Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are right now, and all you are becoming." Melodie Beattie

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