i have a crush on this girl. She’s charming, timid and very pretty.
The problem is, i’m going to ask her out.
It’s a problem because i had no idea how complicated this is. And it is. Very. Hell, dating in civilian life is harsh enough without taking into account things like threats to sobriety, triggers and addictive thinking.
RelAAtionshps in AA
In Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a rule of thumb that newcomers (those with less than one year of sobriety) should not start new romantic relationships–neither with each other nor someone who has more sobriety than them (see the “13th Step“).
Also, and i didn’t know this at first, but ‘fellows’ of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending on which way you swing) are discouraged from exchanging phone numbers as a way of reaching out.
With these land mines in mind, i took a couple steps to make sure my sobriety came first.
What i Did
- Talked to my sponsor
- Spoke with people in the program who i admire and who have more sobriety than me
What they said
- Take things One Date at a Time: Think only about the date your on, not the next one. Or moving in together. Or babies.
- Go in with no expectations. That way, if things don’t work out, neither person is tempted to drown their sorrows in anything stronger than a Mountain Dew
As for what happens next, well, i’ll keep you posted.
It’s been a while, but i’m updating the GlosAAry page with a new definition:
An alcoholic who’s sober but still an asshole. Someone who put down the booze but still clings to the issues that put it there in the first place.
The Three Asshole Rule
When you meet your third asshole of the day, it means you’re probably the asshole.
Heard in the rooms last Saturday
A misguided aim to please yourself. The spark that makes you want to shoot yourself in the foot you will use to kick your own ass with.
ITSB and i often ride the same wavelength. In a comment to one of my recent posts, he introduced the theme of triggers, which i’d already been thinking about, as evidenced by the above definition added to the Glossaary.
The other day i walked between two people planted curbside so i could cross the street they thought had too much traffic to brave. i mumbled a polite “Excuse me” as i passed between them, but this apparently was not loud enough because the eldest of the two women looked up at me and barked “Excuse me”. Then again. Before she could do it once more, i looked her in the eye and told her i’d said “Excuse me” and continued on my way.
As i left, i thought about the way i’d dealt with the problem and was satisfied i’d handled it correctly, but that didn’t matter, i couldn’t let it go. For the rest of my commute i kept seeing the woman’s face as she reprimanded me and realized soon enough that i felt uncomfortable, obsessive and anxious. i was triggered.
i’ve always known what triggers are, but not what my triggers are. i decided to write them down as i believe framing things with words makes it easier to recognize them. ITSB already beat me to it by including his list in his comment.
I have a whole set of trigger for “awful thoughts”:
1) Stuck in traffic on my way to work
2) Too much caffeine in my bloodstream
4) Too much running/over training
5) Republicans making their opinions known
and the mother of all triggers:
6) Low blood sugar.
Any of these ring a bell?
i’ve been working on my own list for the last couple of days and here’s what i’ve come up with…
- Other people’s anger
- Being alone
- Euchre on my cell phone/tablet
- Sunday afternoon
- Drunk people in AA meetings
- One on one conversations with people
- Computer problems / broken electronics
The next step is to figure out what it is about these things that trigger me, so i can diffuse them.
In AA speak, the slogan “Think! Think! Think!” means stop listening to your gut and start listening to the voice of reason. As alcoholics, we were dogs salivating for booze as soon as the warning bells went off, and the more we drank the faster and louder those bells rang. We we drank instinctively.
“Think! Think! Think!” tells us to stop acting on reflexes and keep our brains turned on.
(In some rooms, the “Think! Think! Think!” sign is turned upside down to tell us that yes, we need to think, but we need to think differently than we did in the past because our alcoholic thinking led us into a bottleneck.)
i keep saying that coincidence is the language of God and lately the question of my thought patterns keeps coming up.
- i’ve been overly sensitive lately because i can’t turn off my brain when it comes to my problems
- i’ve been thinking about how i can’t wait to get to Step 11 in the 12 Steps where it talks about meditation
- My best recovery friend in the States talked about my “knowledge, IQ and ability to understand (recognize) situations and to give help to others” as a way to manage my overzealous thought patterns
- At our last meeting, my sponsor said that controlling my intelligence is a key to moving forward in my sobriety
To control these rampant thoughts, my sponsor has suggested writing them out as soon as i feel the panic setting in. i do know that keeping busy helps and that going to meetings really really helps, but if anyone else has any tips (other than more exercise, ITSB! lol) on how to keep the dogs of thoughts at bay, i’d love to hear them.
Thanks for being there, y’all.
To begin, here’s a new entry to my GlossAAry. (Yes, it’s pertinent…there’s a madness to my method!)
Where the pink elephants used to live, and what you have left now they’ve gone.
Right next to Cloud Nine, the Pink Cloud is the feeling of relief you feel when you stop pounding your head against the stone wall of inebriation, convinced you will somehow break through.
Not everyone experiences this high in the first year of sobriety, and usually those that do get it say that it lasts only a few months.
In my previous post, where i discussed how the second year of recovery presents some unique challenges, fellow Recovery Artist Mrs D left a comment saying,
Oh, I want to know more about this .. heading as I am into my second year…
i think in my case, one of the reasons i’m finding it harder to trudge the road of Happy Destiny in Year 2 A.D. (After Drinking) is that i did experience the Pink Cloud. If i remember correctly, it began in my 2nd month of sobriety and lasted about 2 months total. After that, the feelings faded.
Why? Since i was feeling good every day, feeling good became the new norm. If you win the lottery daily, there comes a point when you stop throwing a party over it.
How can we fight this complacency? One of the tools i use is the Gratitude List. Reminding myself of how far i’ve come and the misery i came from is powerful encouragement.
The only other way to really get a taste of the hell i escaped from is to have a taste of the hell i escaped from, and that’s just crazy talk. i’ll take a boring day in Heaven over a rough day in Hell any time.
Just to let y’all know i’ve updated the GlosAAry with a couple new definitions:
Someone with less than one year of sobriety. Because those new to sobriety are often spiritually and psychologically fragile, it is often recommended that newcomers refrain from making any major life changes (for example selling the house, changing careers, getting divorced) in their first year. There is an unwritten rule that other AA members should not become romantically invloved with newcomers because the relationship wouldn’t be balanced and the sobriety of both members would be threatened.
Be nice to every newcomer, they may be your next sponsor.
Part sage, part war vetern, the term “old timer” implies the member has seen it all, including tough love recovery and has some distilled wisdom to impart. While there is no set time limit when a member officially becomes an “old timer”, 25 years sobriety would seem like a minimum.
When I tell people I’ve been sober for nearly 45 years, I see them look at me like it’s a prison sentence. Condemned to 45 years of boredom and niceness. I’m here to tell you, the weird stuff is still out there. When you get drunk it falls in your lap, but when you’re sober, you may have to look for it, but it’s out there. The weirdness is still out there. –Heard in the Rooms