Finally making some progress on the 8th Step. Without realizing it, I had once again let my fears of screwing things up stop me cold in my tracks. Once I gave myself permission to just do it, however it gets done, it started getting done. And it’s going a lot faster than it was last time I picked it up.

Meanwhile, also studying the Traditions as they apply to personal relationships. I found a copy of the study I took that includes searching questions at the end of each Tradition, so, being the perpetual student that I am, I am writing these out and giving written answers. That helps me a lot.

Big changes are afoot. While I’m surprised, I’m not scared. Never have I felt so strongly that my Higher Power has put me exactly where I need to be, and that I can do exactly what I need to do. That is an awesome feeling!

Sometimes one day at a time is too much to expect, and I have to hand my concerns over to God one hour or one minute at a time. I can do that. This is particularly helpful against worry or obsession over an event in the future. I just give it to God for the next [period of time] and then do the next right thing. Right now I’m at work so the next right thing is the work task right in front of me. Easy, right? Well, simple, anyway. Not always easy.

I lamented recently that I’ve never had a healthy romantic relationship. I said, “I just don’t have a good recipe for relationships, one that works.”

I was answered with, “Of course you do. You’ve got the Traditions.”

Holy moly! I had even done a workshop about applying the Traditions in our personal relationships, although I think at the time I took it as a lesson in working these spiritual principles into relationships that exist already. There’s no reason they can’t be used in blossoming relationships as well.

So lately although I’m plodding right along in my 8th Step work, I’m also studying again some material from the workshop. It’s not conference approved, so I’m not posting a link, but if you feel interested in searching for experience, strength, and hope on using the Traditions in personal relationships, use that exact phrase in your search and you will find some of the same material.

I’ve never been at this stage with a prospective partner within a spiritual framework. What I mean by that is that I’ve frequently been in that delicious state just beyond friendship where two parties are deciding just how close to get, but I’ve never been there with someone along with a Higher Power.

Admittedly, a little weird. I don’t recall ever praying with someone other than my sponsor, not counting group functions – I mean intimate and personal. While it feels weird, it also feels warm and secure. Usually I pretty much barrel ahead with whatever I want and just hope God lets me have it. Now we’re moving a whole lot slower and praying a lot more and listening for guidance. If we’re doing what God wants for us, we can’t really go that wrong, can we?

It’s really intimate, praying with someone. It’s vulnerable and scary. My relationship with God is quite intimate, even though I don’t communicate nearly often enough. To draw another human being into that gives me the jibblies, but I feel good about it too. Especially due to the level of respect and support the other person is showing me.

About the function I was going to attend in the summer – I RSVPd “no”. I’m also considering a lot of things I hadn’t been willing to consider before. Let’s see what God has to say about them.

Sometimes I have big powerful feelings that I don’t know what they are. That happened to me today. I called my sponsor and she talked me through it, through feeling my feelings and not attempting to label or judge them, just to figure out if I want to continue to feel them or decide that I’m done with them now and set them aside. Just looking at them from that point of view took the panic out of them and made them feel smaller in scale, so I let them run their course.

Still don’t know what they are, but I don’t have to force it. It’s good to have feelings. I’ll probably know eventually what these were. At the very least, they made me pay attention to my life.

New step in my journey.  I hoped this was in store for me, but didn’t try to make it happen, trusted my HP to let me know if and when, and made sure to leave room for opportunity.

Here I am spending time with someone with whom I want emotional and physical intimacy, and they seem to want the same with me We’ve shared a bit already. We’ve reached a point of decision and are working through it.

It’s scary.

It’s someone with experience working the steps and using the traditions in interpersonal relationships. They know how to do what I want to do: they know how to build a trusting, loving relationship using the tools of the program.

I have heard from them and from others how the last relationship went. It only ended when death took their partner. It was a really good relationship, and it was good because they both worked together to make it so. They weren’t perfect; they learned together how to work with their HP and the steps and traditions, and their mistakes make for good stories as well as life lessons. I wish I could have known them then, as a couple.

So here we are, the remaining mate and me. Time has passed for them and for me. All my recipes for relationships have turned out some bitter cakes; I know they don’t work. Some came closer to working than others, and there are definitely life lessons from them that I can use, but I’ve never had a completely healthy romantic relationship. I’ve never done a relationship in-program.

To get what I want to have, I don’t do what I want to do.

Sometimes my short-term desires have gotten in the way of my long-term dreams, especially when those dreams include a stable and loving relationship. One of the recurring themes of my love life has been that of the extramarital affair – usually my partner was the married party, though not always. I have to confess, that though I never started out with the intention of winding up in bed with them, I never slipped and fell on anyone’s genitalia.

There were a series of events, a series of choices, that led up to every indiscretion.

I’m not married now, and neither is the other party, so that’s a relief, But there are other types of unavailability. If it turns out that the other person’s boundaries preclude going any further, I have to respect that, and I have to make choices that support continued respect for that. I have to make choices that don’t give my sex instinct the chance to run amok.

I also have to communicate to the other party that my sex instinct isn’t the only one in the room. 🙂 Too often I’ve been maneuvered into the role of the party who’s supposed to put the brakes on if we’re approaching some boundary we must not breach. I’ve utterly failed at that role. I won’t accept that role again. It doesn’t do much good to want to respect someone’s boundary if they are not respecting it.

And then, in the process of figuring out where we are and what we want, I have to consider the choices I’ll need to make to preserve and support the relationship. I’ll need to consider the feelings and needs of the other person, what levels of exclusivity is called for, what levels of communication.

I have a social engagement coming up in the early summer that could impose a risk to any new relationship. I’d be visiting someone I have strong ties with, and it could become easy to compromise the new-found trust developing here and now. I’ve missed that person dreadfully the past few years and have wanted to visit them again and share things again that we shared before with a great deal of delight and joy. The opportunity is coming. I’ll have the time and the resources and a grand occasion to celebrate. But it could cause problems for what’s developing right now.

Am I futurizing? Possibly. Possibly not. While trying to predict the future is foolishly impossible, trying to plan for it is to some degree inevitable. Airfare has to be purchased, for instance; it’s something I’d have to travel for.

Today is where I live. Just for today. Just for today I live in this place that my HP saw fit to bring me. Just for today I have the time and attention of a good human being who cares about me. Just for today I want to give this person whatever I can because I care about them. Just for today I can make choices that make me feel right with my HP, with humanity, with myself. With my partner, if I get the blessing of having one.

  • If having a list takes some of the magic out of a romance that’s okay. Sometimes magic comes at a price I’m unwilling to pay.

My first sponsor suggested I make a list of what I want in a partner. It looks like a partnership may form soon, and I’m making lists now out of what I want in this situation, what private things I want to be careful not to let become secret, these sorts of things. That first sponsor taught me that making lists organizes thoughts, and sometimes patterns or ideas emerge as a result, and my experience has backed this up. At the very least the clarity helps.