I haven’t been posting in a long time. It became a lot less convenient after Google took over Blogger and made a lot of changes. To preserve anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, films, and the Internet, I had to put my Al-Anon account on a separate Google ID than the rest of my life. So that meant doing a lot of login shuffle. And I … just didn’t.

So it’s been a few years. I’m not married anymore. My spouse changed my life without my consent, and I wasn’t willing to go further. I learned a lot about my program and ways to apply it during our marriage, and it was a growing experience. I remain sure my HP wanted me to have that experience, and I’m glad I did.

I am happily single again. My first sponsor would have told me right after the divorce that it was the right time to make a new list of what I want in a partner. I did give it a half-hearted attempt, but I just didn’t bring myself to do it. There are a few drafts in my various notebooks. Also I have started lists of what I don’t want in a partner.

Looking over my old list, I see that my former spouse did not meet some of these criteria, but I didn’t know it at the time. They did engage in criticism (I would say even derision and scorn.). They were not mature. They were indeed controlling and not dependable. How would I not get fooled again?

In any case, I am not looking for a partner. I am happily living on my own, in my own space, with my own pets. I have a good job. I have goals and plans. My program is not as strong as it was, probably because I’m not leaning on it as heavily. That’s something to work on. I would like to have great program regardless the circumstances.

I am working the 12 steps again and am now at Step 6. I have been for quite a long time. Maybe I’ll be “entirely ready” soon?

Somebody expressed to me one time a concern about a step study meeting. It wasn’t spelled out very clearly that the meeting was for studying the steps, rather than working them. So, what is the difference between doing step study and working the steps? Here are a few:
Step Study
Working the Steps
Involves developing as complete as possible an understanding of how to work the step, why work the step, and what the desired benefits of the step are.
Involves taking action to accomplish the steps. May include study as a component for each step, but study does not replace the need for action.
Can be done:
  • At group meetings
  • With one or more Al-a-Pals
  • With your sponsor
  • Alone
Should be done with your sponsor, with some tasks on your own or with an Al-a-Pal. You work out with your sponsor which tasks these are and when to do them.
Can be done at whatever pace you choose.
Should be done at whatever pace you agree to with your sponsor.
Should be done with Conference Approved Literature (CAL), although what an individual uses for their own benefit is strictly up to the individual and may include other sources. Any Al-Anon activities such as group study need to use CAL exclusively.
Should be done with Conference Approved Literature (CAL), although what an individual uses for their own benefit is strictly up to the individual and may include other sources. You and your sponsor work out which materials to work from.

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!

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.