I’ve got a friend who’s trying to find herself. She’s got another third of her life left — easily — and wants to experience “Sober Intimacy”. It got me thinking more about what the common wisdom in A.A. tells us.
The first advice people give women new in sobriety is to “not get into a relationship for the first year”. I’m so freaking lost as to why they would even say this! I can’t help but think it was thought up either by a lesbian or some dried up old hag who couldn’t get lucky on “Nickel Beer” night. If she ain’t gettin’ any, no one should!
Let’s start at the very beginning: Sex is a perfectly normal activity. It’s not dirty or degrading, it’s part of a normal, healthy lifestyle. Therefore, if you’re physically healthy and NOT having sex, there’s something wrong.
It’s true that some women base their self-esteem on how much a man — or “Men” — like them. That’s not very healthy. There are better ways to feel good about yourself. So OK… They’re fucked up. So what. They were fucked up when they were drinking, they’re going to be fucked up when they have a year sober, or 2 or 3…. They’re just fucked up! Staying out of a relationship isn’t going to fix them. Matter of fact, I can see an argument that says if you take away the one thing that makes them feel good about themselves, there’s not much reason for them to believe they’re worth the pain of staying sober the first year. Just sayin’…
And then there are the women — many of them — who DON’T have this issue. Should we make them feel bad about themselves if they’re attracted to someone, or have urges? America — with it’s Puritan heritage — is the most uptight country in the world about sex. It’s sad!
The men are a different story. Many men get their self-esteem from their job. If every guy in the room got a $2/hr raise today, tomorrow it would look like a barnyard full of baney roosters, struttin’ around crowin’ about how great they were. But ain’t nobody tellin’ them they need to refrain from getting a job ’cause if they did really good, they might lose their humility and drink… Or if they get fired, why, they’d feel so damn bad they’d have to drink! No, they tell the men: “You need to be self-supporting, declining outside contributions! Get up and get your ass gainfully employed!”
I was a couple of years sober — maybe 3 — and I told the chair of the Jails and Institutions committee my wife was making me go on vacation, and I couldn’t chair my usual Wednesday meeting. I thought he was going to bitch and complain about having to find someone else, but his reaction surprised me. He said: “Why would you be sorry? We didn’t get sober to hide out in A.A.! We did it so we could be a part of life… possibly for the first time.”
With that in mind, how many things did we not do because our relationship with the bottle was more important? How much of life have we missed out on already? What kind of sponsor would encourage you to miss out on more? Especially having a loving relationship! Isn’t that possibly one of the most important things we can ever do?
Sure! You might screw it up! But you might learn from your first few mistakes and get it right on the 3rd or 4th try! You can say all day long that someone is “too sick to have a healthy relationship”, but plenty of people — like myself — come into the program married. Is that a sick relationship? Is it impossible to make it healthier as we grow healthier?
“I did what I knew how to do. When I learned better, I did better.” Isn’t that how we did pretty much everything in our lives, sober or drinking?
So ladies, when they said not to put anything mood or mind altering in your body…. Penis doesn’t count!