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Old 05-01-2009, 07:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sex


Each week I take a AA meeting into the prison down the road. It is a year long treatment program for inmates who because of alcohol and drugs are serving their sentence. Many are coming off of years in the mainline. If they qualify for the program they get to spend their last year in treatment. We usually take a topic from the steps and the spiritual principles involved in the steps. We finished up the steps last week, and we usually take a few weeks of just random topics before starting the steps again. Tonight I picked the topic of sex. It wasn't easy standing up in front of over 130 guys and presenting the topic. It actually turned out to be a very good meeting that was informative. I find that many people don't like to talk about sex in recovery. I also find that many have relapsed because of sex related experiences. The Big Book say that we should do an inventory (written) on our sexual lives.

Share this with me from page "69" of the big Book......

"We got this all down on paper and looked at it.
"In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. We subjected each relation to this test, was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed."

Pretty good advice..........anybody got anything they want to share?
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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"To sum up about sex: We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing."

page 70
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice."

Page 69-70
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I swear, I hear crickets chirping in this thread!

We had a meeting just a couple of weeks ago on this very same subject, and it turned out to be a pretty damned good meeting.

For a long time in my recovery, I didn't apply the steps to my sex life, and I created a lot of pain for myself.

I know when I was actively drinking, booze and sex were intertwined. My first marriage went down the tubes due to my infidelity. When I drank, I couldn't keep my pants up, and I always drank at the nightclubs/bars while hubby was home watching the little one. That tends to ruin a marriage.

Today I've made amends to that man, and I'm grateful we have a good relationship. He's a good man, a 'normie', and surely didn't deserve what I dished out to him.

Today I apply the principles of this program in all areas of my life, including sex.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I swear, I hear crickets chirping in this thread!

We had a meeting just a couple of weeks ago on this very same subject, and it turned out to be a pretty damned good meeting.
A lot of people shy away from the topic of sex, but the truth is that some do, and many may relapse when the sex drive is out of line.

Good to hear from you Freedom.....you guys get enough rain in KS??

I have not forgot about asking you to speak sometime over the state line. I know you work your program and have overcome much through AA.

thanks for sharing and being honest...............toad
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We're fairly waterlogged in our area, Toad! It's a bit toasty at 84 degrees today, but the wind is blowing and things are drying out. Looks like hit and miss rain through the weekend after today.

When the time is right, the opportunity will present itself to speak to the good people in your neck of the woods.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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toad: You're very brave...and I mean that 100% seriously.

I'm not a biker and I'm Al Anon...but I have quite a bit to say on this topic because, somehow, I seem to have become a to go-to person in my area for whenever anyone wants someone who's willing to talk about sex in recovery. And, even though it gets a bit old sometimes, it never fails that, whenever I do this, I get people coming out of the woodwork to thank me and to share their E,S & H with me. The first time I did it, I had an 80 year old man who'd been sober more than 30 years at the time call me from out of the blue and tell me that "that was the most important piece of 12th Step work" he'd ever seen. It's very humbling...and somewhat intimidating.

And also a bit disturbing that it is still so hard, in general, to get recovery folks to talk about it openly and honestly. For myself, I know what my ideals and my values are around sex and I've written about that elsewhere on this site several times. But this is a complicated issue and I've found that it's often very hard for people to distinguish their own values from religious and societal taboos and from the expectation/judgments (real and/or imagined and/or feared) of others. And this is all even complicated further when you throw in the increased guilt and shame that often effects those whose lives have been touched -- in any way -- by alcoholism. Guilt and shame, like dishonesty, are just total intimacy (sexual or otherwise) killers.

It's a mess.......and sometimes it makes me really sad to think about how much self-discovery and joy and pleasure people deprive themselves of because this remains such a (relatively) untouched subject even in the rooms. But you know, you are doing what you can about it and that is awesome....and it is important 12th Step work that a lot of people are hesitant to do!

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Old 05-09-2009, 07:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks freya, good input. I especially took note of this:

"sometimes it makes me really sad to think about how much self-discovery and joy and pleasure people deprive themselves of because this remains such a (relatively) untouched subject even in the rooms."

I also have to agree with Freedom.......this thread is so quite I can almost hear crickets chirping.
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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And also a bit disturbing that it is still so hard, in general, to get recovery folks to talk about it openly and honestly.
In my 31 years of sobriety, the closest I've come to drinking (so far, knock wood! ) was behind my own destructive sexual behavior. I hit an emotional bottom, and had a real get-down-on-the-floor-and-wrestle-with-it compulsion to drink so strong I was afraid to leave my house, for fear I wouldn't make it past the corner store. I'd never encountered that before and, God willing, never will again. Those pages are in the book Alcoholics Anonymous for a reason, and we ignore them at our peril.

On the plus side: After a few sessions with a counselor well-versed in the Twelve Steps, I was able to use what's on those pages to recover from that destructive pattern. I am grateful to say that, since that horrible night, I haven't hurt anyone else, or myself, with my selfish sexual behavior. I've been able to hew to the ideal established in that step-work, and grow to have a genuinely healthy relationship with a loving partner.

I attended a very interesting event in April. It was a couples-only AA/Al-Anon conference that's been held for twenty years. This year, for the first time, there was a session on sex. It was well-attended, participants were thoughtful and respectful, and the results were astounding.

The entire weekend was, for that matter. Couples were very bravely sharing even the most painful things, so they themselves could work through issues, and so their experience might benefit others. Jackie and I were blown away, and we're already looking forward to next year's conference!
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing your experiences and wisdom Bill. I've missed your sharing.

Last night I thought about sharing some of my experience here but was not really ready to open up. Tonight I don't feel so all alone here. I first remember having sexual thoughts, probably more of a couriosity, at the age of three. A neighbor (same age) and I looked at each others bodies. I remember I got in trouble for it. I have always been attracted to the opposite sex. From the time I was three until I was 17 (late bloomer) I tried to get laid. At seventeen after the sexual experience, I remember feeling like I had conquered the world. I had reached the top of the highest mountain. My ego was in full bloom. My first partner was my highschool sweetheart. We broke up within months of having sex and I was off hunting. I remember my second time, but not the third, fouth and so on. I do remember keeping count for the next couple of years, as if I was trophy hunting. I was truly self-centered in my sexual behavior from the git go.

I soon found myself in Southeast Asia and was experiencing a different kind of sex, the kind you bought and paid for. I had all the normal experiences of clap and crabs. After my return home in 1968, the "summer of love," I learned about "free love." The saying "If it feels good, do it!" became our anthem. I never realized that feeding these self-centered desires would lead to a life of shame, remorse, guilt, hurt, pain, and loss of freedom. I wish I knew then what I know now. Even still, "I do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."

The next ten years were spent in and out of relationships thinking only of myself most of the time. When I finally decided I might want to settle down, I was in my mid-thirties, and my alcoholism and drug addictions had taken full control. Looking for a mate, I found the pickings to be slim. Not many women wanted a worn-out junkie/drunk. I did get married at 39 years old, but we both were alcoholic, doing the maryjane maintence at most times, and working no program. We were married for 9 years, with some good times, but the alcohol and drugs, always came back to ruin our lives. We split, she died of an overdose, and a few years later I came back into AA (in and out for 25 years). Today I realize that self-centered sex played a major roll in my spirial downward.

Today at 62 years old..........I try and look at sex differently. I realize that love is not selfish. I learned this lesson the hard way. Thanks for letting me share, God has done for me what I could not do for myself.............toad

PS..........Hey Bill, when I give a lady a ride on my scooter, is it polite to ask for a kiss for luck?
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I am very blessed to have been born into a family in which everything was up for discussion and questioning. My mom, especially, was very open about educating us about sex when we were young and to discussing it openly and honestly with us as we got older.

The only real problem with her approach was that she is, herself, pretty sex-negative. She very often used to tell us, when discussing this topic: ""Don't worry about it; it's not all it's cracked up to be." Fortunately, she also taught us to think for ourselves and always encouraged us to question authority - even when that obviously meant that we often "practiced" on her, so I wasn't too far into my teens before I realized that I definitely did not share her "it's not all it's cracked up to be" opinion.

And my family was also very much involved in and influenced by the poltical and social upheaval of the sixties and early seventies....but, for us, a lot of what it was about was responsibility and respecting oursevles and others -- all others. So, I guess that, even though I do have a realtively relaxed, comfortable, sex-positive attitude and have worked hard to give my own children the same, that has never been, for me, about selfishness and/or about using other people.

I've encountered a lot of people, both on this site and in RL, who seem for some reason to be absolutely unable to imagine any sexual expression that might fall anywhere in-between monogamous, life-long commitment and totally self-centered, immediate gratification. My personall experience is very different, as I have found it is possible to have good, meanignful, healthy sexual encounters that are anywhere from just good sex between friends to spiritually rapturous sexual communion with a spouse/life-partner.

My personal first choice is, obviously, always for the latter and that is a goal I strive for in my life...but the truth is that I have not always been in that kind of relationship and I do not personally feel obligated to deny myself sex just because I am not in a relationship conducive to the absolutely best sexual experience possible. (And, yes, when this comes up in the Women's Forum, lots of people are very quick to advocate for "sex-for-one" in times of need, and, far be it from me to rain on the parades of people who find that to be enough, but for me personally, that is not anywhere near the same thing as connecting with another human being, even if the connection is purely physical.)

For me, what distinguishes a healthy, good, but-more-casual sexual encounter from one of self-centered, immediate gratification is awareness and communication. If the people involved are aware of and comfortable with the encounter and are willing and able to appreciate it for what it is -- an opportunity to connect physically/sexually with another and to give and receive pleasure -- without dragging a lot of baggage or shame or unrealistic expectations into it, and if they communicate that honestly to/with each other, then, to me, that is just another manifestation of healthy human sexuality.

I do realize that part of the reason I feel and behave as I do when it comes to sex is because I do not personally equate/confuse sex with love (of the more than "love your fellow humans" variety). Of course, it's great when they come together, but that doesn't mean that either one of them without the other has nothing worthwhile to offer me. What I've found to be of the very upmost importance, in any relationship in which sex is occurring, is for me to be honest with myself and my partner about exactly what is going on and what we are looking for and expecting out of it. And defintely not to be pretending to myself or to anyone esle that it is something more or less than it really is or to be trying to manipulate it into being something other than what it is. I need to accept each relationship for what it is and appreciate it for what it is and not try (on any level or in any way) to make it into something that it's not.

For me, when it comes to sex, like anything else, I have made mistakes and I have sometimes acted without as much self-awareness as I thought I had, etc.......but that's true about pretty much every area of my life. I live and learn and grow....and a lot of the learning and growing part comes from my making mistakes. I don't expect or demand perfection...but I also most certainly do not wait for a guarantee of perfection before I even give something a try. Why should sex be any different?

freya
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I'd like to add something to this conversation (other than crickets) if I may. I'm al-Anon though, not AA:

I grew up with bikers, started riding when I was about 12. One summer I got myself into a bad situation, any older bikers here will know what I mean when I talk about "property" as pertains to clubs. It was involuntary, and lasted about two weeks before I was finally able to get away.

I was young and hadn't had much sexual experience at that point, somehow this became my "blueprint" for sex. I dind't have sex for many many years after that, but when I did it had to be impersonal, forced, and violent to some extent to arouse me. I never told my family, what had happened. I did work with a counselor however.

As an adult, I've moved past this mostly. That is to say that I enjoy sex, the simple giving and taking of pleasure and I don't need anything other than that to get me going, if you know what I mean. Not to say that a good healthy strident romp doesn't thrill me though

On to my main point: I've never been a romance novel reader, but the library I'm using now is soooo pitiful that I just grab seven or eight books at a time without checking titles. One of these this last trip was a historical/romance novel. I have to say that I'm shocked and dismayed to find that what I have been working on to overcome is glorified in this book as "romantic". No, this isn't ropes and whips, just inflicting some pain upon the female to "make her his".

It made me very uncomfortable to read. I wonder if maybe I've gone the opposite direction and become a bit of a prude...or if...well, I just don't know.

My share for the day, thanks for listening.
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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On to my main point: I've never been a romance novel reader, but the library I'm using now is soooo pitiful that I just grab seven or eight books at a time without checking titles. One of these this last trip was a historical/romance novel. I have to say that I'm shocked and dismayed to find that what I have been working on to overcome is glorified in this book as "romantic". No, this isn't ropes and whips, just inflicting some pain upon the female to "make her his".

It made me very uncomfortable to read. I wonder if maybe I've gone the opposite direction and become a bit of a prude...or if...well, I just don't know.

My share for the day, thanks for listening.
Still Waters: You are not a prude. Rape is not romantic. It is sick, and it is illegal. Your feelings are very healthy, and it is quite a credit to your healing work that you can now see this kind of garbage -- and the behavior it romanticizes -- for the sickness and trash that it is.

People can write what they want and people can read what they want...and, unfortunately, a lot of women in our culture (even if they haven't experienced anything as blatantly traumatic as you have) are brought up with many messages that warp their sexual expression in these ways. Some people are able to consciously address and heal these issues like you have. Other people are able to find safe outlets to express their needs for this particular type of eroticism with other informed consenting adults....

...but the idea that forced violent sexuality is glamorized and "fed" to uninformed girls and women under the guise of pop literary entertainment is indeed disturbing to any sane person.

As you can probably see, this thread has not exactly been a hotbed of activity -- you might want to bring up this topic on the women's forum -- I'll bet a lot of women would read your post and might feel more comfortable sharing on it there.

...and be careful what books you check out from now on -- no use in upsetting yourself or in supporting the purveyors of garbage!!!!

freya
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think I will freya (post it in the womens area), it's bothering me. I had no idea that this sort of thing was in those books.

Or, it might be that I'm overreacting to what I read. I'm not sure.

Thank you for your reply though, I do greatly appreciate it
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I think as long as people use sex as an escape, high, or a way to mood alter that it will be a problem.

I know many people who use sex as a way to say hello or for recreation. I know many people disagree with me but I think it is wrong to use sex in this way.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Very interesting thanks for giving me something important to think about this weekend. I haven't had sex nor been involved in a any kind of a relationship since I got sober 8/07 because I fear it driving me back to drinking. Never thought about applying the 12 steps to sex life, I was a drunken sl*t for so many years I don't even remember ever having sex sober.

I'm not a biker either
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:07 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I was a drunken sl*t for so many years I don't even remember ever having sex sober.
jamdls: I wonder if maybe it would be more helpful to you to think of your sexual conduct while drinking in terms of your not having been healthy and, therefore, not having behaved in ways that were healthy or safe or respectful of yourself or others? It makes me sad to hear women say things like: "I was a drunken sl*t." That statement sounds so shame-based and so riddled with dismissive, demeaning, negative judgements against yourself.

It is possble for us to be gentle and forgiving with ourselves while still being honest and addressing the issues we need to address. Ultimately, for me, working the Steps is about healing -- healing in all areas of our lives. I hear people in the rooms say all the time: "I am not a bad person learning to be good; I am a sick person learning to be healthy" (....or a wounded person learning to be whole). That seems to me like such a more efective, productive, empowering -- not to mention healing -- attitude; there is nothing empowering, productive or healing about shame.

Good luck -- freya
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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On the face of it, surrendering does not seem like winning. . . Only after we have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we hit "bottom" in despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety, which we could never accomplish before.
We must, and we do, surrender in order to win.
- Experience, Strength and Hope, pp. 155-56
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Old 09-19-2009, 01:20 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hey, Toad! That quotation is a powerful one but it's placement here is a little cryptic.....You doin' OK?

freya

P.S. ..and, yes, that's the former English teacher in my head goin' 'round-n-'round with "what does that mean dropped into that thread like that?....what does that mean??????" So, I figured I might as well just ask!
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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P.S. ..and, yes, that's the former English teacher in my head goin' 'round-n-'round with "what does that mean dropped into that thread like that?....what does that mean??????" So, I figured I might as well just ask!
No reason........the other thread had been up front for over a month with no responses, so I posted that quote in the sex thread that I started, because I though it might be read by some........and, that did happen.

here is another one:

"When, with God's help, we calmly accepted our lot, then we found we could live at peace with ourselves and show others who still suffered the same fears that they could get over them, too. We found that freedom from fear was more important than freedom from want."


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 122

This one could apply to "sex"............toad
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