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Old 01-19-2008, 03:23 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Why Does AA want you to abandom those you love?

Hi I am new to this site... but I have a serious question about AA. First let me give some background.
I have been dating my boyfriend about six months. We have had for the most part a very healthy relashionship. We talk about our problems, we don't fight, we care about each other. On the flip side my BF has a problem with alcohol. Since Nov he has been attending AA meetings, and gotten very involved with the program. I have been supportive about his decision to be a part of AA although I don't agree with everything they do. Now here is what frustrates me and I don't understand.
In December my boyfriend comes over in tears telling me we can only be friends, that he cannot be in a relashionship...period. I listen to him and he proceeds to tell me that his sponsor has told him to break off the relashionship or he will NEVER recover. I cannot believe what I am hearing, why would someone force someone to end something that makes them happy? That does not contribute to their drinking?
Well we have not exactly called it quits. We are no longer having a sexual relashionship, which is fine. He calls me his "friend." But, he is now more depressed then he has ever been. He feels lonely. He trys to spend time with me, but then his sponsor makes him feel guilty. His sponsor even goes as far to ask him if he thinks about me when he masturbates. None of this makes sense to me. How can a program help someone when they take away those small things in their life that are positive? Depression is what leads him to drink, so how is this ever going to help him recover? I refuse to let this destroy my relashionship, that is healthy? I am I the only person who feels this way, had to deal with this craziness, feels like AA is hurting more then helping?::wtf2
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Old 01-19-2008, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Oh, sorry to hear that. I have been to many AA meetings and never heard of this before. They will tell you it would be a smart idea to stay away from people that drink. AA is to help a person not drink. They don't run a persons life.

Just trying to help
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think the idea behind some of that statment from his sponsor is that it is suggested not to get involved in a new relationship during your first year of sobriety. I guess focusing on one main issue of life staying sober has to be priority.

Your relationship with him is only 6 months new, his drinking sounds like it's been with him allot longer.

If he is not happy with the advice his sponsor is giving him and I do question some of that advise he needs to find someone else to help him in AA.
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:34 PM   #4 (permalink)

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I agree that I think most of this is coming from the sponsor. I even asked to read the Big Book. The sponsor was very upset that I asked to read it. I only wanted to read it to understand the program, to understand what my boyfriend was going through. I have suggested that he speak to someone else in the program with in a leadership position. Everytime he brings it up to his sponsor the sponsor suggests I am against AA therefore I am against him. We have put most of our relashionship on hold so he can recover. Again, my arguement is that the point of AA is to help each other to lead by example. I don't think it is the sponsors job to dictate his life. Trust me I know he was sick, I knew he had a problem. It was at my urging that he got help. I guess I am not sure what else to do... as I cannot contact to sponsor to express my concern as AA is annoymous.
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You can read the BB right now - online if you want. go to AA *dot* org.

it's all there.

and what you are describing .. is NOT there.

Being a member of the fellowship -
this kind of thing makes me jumpy ..
because I have a hard time with overbearing sponsors.
I've seen them do more harm than good.

been there.
seen it.
not gonna argue about it.
it just ... is.

at the same time -
if youre' willing to be in this long term committed relationship ...
I don't see how you're going to be able to do that -
without some sort of program for yourself.

like it or not -
work it or not -
the Steps and the Traditions ...
implement change.

I must be looking past the immediate pain
of a relationship with a shaky alcoholic
and remembering the long term pain
of a relationship with a shaky alcoholic.

And I know one thig .. it's quite commonly said in the rooms -
how do you know an alcoholic is lying?

I'm sorry - I just feel something major is missing in this.
Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad.
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Old 01-20-2008, 05:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Mean Thing, you can read anything you like, nobody gets to censor.

I agree with those above who suggest that this "no new relationship" thing is fairly common and helps the addict focus on their own recovery. If a person has been in a good relationship, then I don't think there is any reason to end it, especially if the other person is supportive of recovery.

That said, the only person you can control here is you, and maybe going to some meetings of your own, Alanon, Naranon and CoDA are three excellent programs that will help you understand your own issues and teach you how to live a happy balanced life...no matter how he is doing with his. Don't let the names throw you, they are not about them and their substance, they are about us and our codependent issues.

Meetings saved my life. Give them a try, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.


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Old 01-20-2008, 06:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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"no new relationships" is commonly found in the rooms of AA and I have a real problem with it.

In your case, the relationship pre-dates the sobriety so it does not apply.

Also, this is NO WHERE in the 12 steps or the big book of AA or for that matter any AA materials. This is recovery industry BS IMHO.

I think your guy should get a new sponsor.
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Old 01-20-2008, 06:08 AM   #8 (permalink)

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Meanthing...there are alot of different tips in the rooms of aa.....no new relationships in the first year...etc...

It is my opinion that your bf got wrapped up in another one...some are sicker than others....Just because someone is a sponsor DOES NOT make them fit for the job.
I think it may be time for him to find a new sponsor. I wish you the best...

In regards to your question is aa hurting more than helping.....you probably already have your answer. God Speed to you and your boyfriend.
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I take Anvilheads point...there *may* be something you're ex hasn't told you about how your relationship is affecting him...

but me ? I think it's clear he's got a dud sponsor.

Not wanting you to read the Big Book ? that's NOT AA LOL.

Whatever his intentions, this sponsor seems to be overstepping the mark.

I know this whole thing leaves a bad taste, but this is NOT AA at work...
Should be said -I'm not AA - I'm just looking at it common sense like...
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:32 PM   #10 (permalink)

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Agree with those who say that if you two were together before he started, this then this is his decision and that his sponsor is just being hypercritical.
However, if your guy has a history of being a womanizer the sponsor may be trying to get him to look at that and try to not just have a superficial relationship with you.
Work on self that first year takes a lot of time and effort...it may be time well spent.
It depends on the rest of what his sponsor is doing for him...
is he walking him through the steps and genuinely being a positive influence in his life?
There's no gram like the program
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have been to many AA meetings and met a few different people about sponsorship and the general theme I get is that starting a new relationship is not recommended. I have not heard anything about ending a relationship unless the relationship itself was unhealthy (ie both people are actively using). A relationship can also mean a new job etc, I think the idea behind it is that a person who is early in recovery should avoid major life changes.
That being said, I agree with the others about a dud sponsor, maybe your boyfriend should look around and meet with a few other people to see if the advice is consistent.

I hope helps and I am so glad to see you and others post with great feeling and honesty!
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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hugs to you....i can understand your confusion, however i do personally think AA is a wonderful thing. My exabf left me after his sponsor "told him to", which in turn he didn't tell him that. I would wonder if your bf is leaving some details out or is not clear on the issue. I've been familiar with AA for over a year now and have never heard a sponsor "tell" anyone to do anything. I know they "suggest and listen" but don't tell what to do, usually.

I'm not saying this is your situation but my ex used his sponsor as his reasoning to break things off with me. I too was also with him before AA and knew that pre-relationships didn't necessarily apply. Keep posting and maybe once your bf gets back on his feet and is on the road to recovery you can see what happens then. I wish you the best.

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Old 01-21-2008, 07:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Please do not take the actions of his sponsor as typical AA as it is definatly far from typical AA from my experience.

I can not judge his sponsor but personally if my sponsor were telling me the things his is I would be finding a different one. What I look for in a sponsor is someone who can teach me how to live by the Steps and Principles of AA and destroying relationships is not living by those principles.

Just my opinion.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If any of my friends in recovery told me that their sponsor told them the same thing I would tell them their sponsor is overbearing and suggest they find a new sponsor.
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:05 AM   #15 (permalink)

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addiction comes at a price. so does recovery. love him enough to let him go if that's what it takes............

Brilliant, Thank you for this
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:48 AM   #16 (permalink)

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"addiction comes at a price. so does recovery. love him enough to let him go if that's what it takes............"

If that's what it takes.....that should NOT be for a sponsor to decide, I'm sorry. That's just ridiculous. Take this a step further, what if you two were married? Would the sponsor have you get divorced? Like someone else pointed out, the relationship was pre-existing. It should be a part of his recovery.

What a bunch of crap. We help EACH OTHER in this fellowship. Sponsorship in general is a bad idea, in my opinion, and it's not strongly supported in the Big Book.....
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by skinnyninja View Post
Sponsorship in general is a bad idea, in my opinion, and it's not strongly supported in the Big Book.....
I think maybe you base your opinion on some bad experiences or having witnessed others who have had less than ideal sponsors.

If all the sponsor does is help the sponsee through the steps, guide them through the big book, and offer their experience strength and hope, how can this be a bad idea?

Sponsors meddling in their sponsee's personal lives and handing out orders (as opposed to making suggestions based upon their own experience) is another matter entirely.
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:07 PM   #18 (permalink)

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I was with an alcoholic for 6 years, the last one of which he started going AA which was wonderful as he was at rock bottom and had got into trouble due to drink...At the beginning of our relationship which had been rekindled after 14 years, we had been together briefly as teenagers, it was a new start for both of us, he had come out of a relationship 2 years previously which was unhappy and so had I...He had actually been working in a pub and living above the pub, which for an alcoholic was not a good place to be...We have since then been together for 6 years, but he was very much I think still mixed up about his feelings for his ex partner whom he did not get on with but who used his daughter to try to hurt him on numerous occasions....kinda like a weapon, which was awful for him as even though he had problems he ws a good father and his daughter is wonderful...he also has a son by another relationship, who I feel has suffered through his dads drinking more than anything...anyway...his anger and frustration made me an easy target for his frustrations, as i am very excepting and quiet...Its not been a relationship thrawt with conflict, but I did have to pick up the pieces everytime he was in a crisis....I don't drink but do suffer from depression and during our relationship lost both my father and mother which did not help my state of mind....
When he got into trouble he was introduced to AA, which I being a Christian thought it was an answer to prayer...but it was clear that when he started going, I was slowly being pushed out...at first he was saying I should do the steps with him, that maybe it would help the depression....I attended a couple of meetings with him.....but it was apparent he didnt really want me there, which led me to being very insecure....he had at least 3 sponsers at the beginning and they had said things like you shoouldnt have relationships during the first year...which he said as an excuse for pushing me away...I had lost my mum and also been through a termination not long before which I regret so much...I stood by him through everything, which he had admitted at times that I was the only one who had....but he changed like the weather....he said other alcoholics were his first priority and started socialising with other AA members including women...He now has pushed me out completely and basically said we argued and thats why....but the thing is we didnt, well not anything more than differing opinions which occur in any relationship...I just feel that for 6 years I was used while he was at his lowest but when he was better he ditched me ...he gave up smoking also, which I tried to do and did for 44 days....but now I feel like a failure and that he feels now I am beneath him....Is it possible he did not love me in the first place and thats why he treated me so coldly....I am heartbroken....I have 2 children that are seeing me at the moment so upset all the time....and I feel I was only needed before AA came along....although he had stoppped drinking in the past with my encouragment...I don't want to hate him, but why has he hurt me so much?
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:40 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I am recovering from alcohol. I use AA as my guide, but don't at present attend meetings, not my choice really, simply extenuating circumstance. There is an adage in the "rooms" that it is probably unwise to begin a new relationship for a year or so.

I am in a short time (2year) love relationship. My drinking almost caused my very wise woman to leave. She signed up, after all, to "receive" as well as give. I understand that completely.

I am 8 weeks into recovery. I am recovering for me, not as a desperate attempt to avoid losing her. But having her love and support, as well as her not always soothing honesty is a godsend. I am truly gifted that I don not face this alone.

None is privy to the complexity and dynamics of your relationship. In my opinion, only a sponsor who is sure and has evidence that you are deleterious to his recovery has any right to suggest that he abandon you. He is no psychiatrist or family therapist. There is too much practicing without a license in AA and sometimes on these forums.

You and your man are the only ones who have a handle on your relationship. I would expect that he would offer more than "my sponsor told me so." Others tend to project their own experiences into such things, I think.

You can be a great asset or a great detriment to his recovery. Isn't it worth asking "Why?" Should you not have the opportunity to learn and respond? To decide as a couple? You have every right and motive to demand a sober mate. I agree that that takes precedence. The way I see it, you might well in fact be a hindering influence. Or, as in my case, you could be a huge asset. Only you can determine that. After all, it is only your lives that hang in the balance and no one else's. Is their pathology or synchronicity? That is the question.

Best to you,

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Old 04-13-2008, 06:45 PM   #20 (permalink)

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AA has no official stance on relationships or sex. If you want a an abusive relationship, have one. If you want to get married, do it. If you want to stay single, do it. Relationships are all had at your own assumed level of risk. You have a brain. Use it.
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