I’m a little discouraged. Generally, my spouse hosts a discussion group a few times a year that involve using the 12 traditions in our personal lives, and I’m now involved in hosting as well. Used to be, it was hard to get a seat in one of these, they’d fill up so fast, and people would have to wait for the next round.

We had one scheduled for January and had to cancel because nearly all the confirmed participants canceled the week prior. There’s one this weekend, and it too is being swept by last-minute cancellations. This happened for one of the sessions last year as well.

This is baffling. Is it God trying to tell us to stop hosting them? We usually schedule one when lots of people start asking us when the next one will be, expressing a lot of interest in participating.

We’ve decided that our boundary is going to be that when people start asking again, to tell them we’ll happily chair it, but they have to host it. I expect most if not all will decline, but that gives people a chance to find their level of commitment before we discover it in their last-minute cancellation.

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.

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.