Steering Clear of Emotional Entanglements

4 minute read

Today, I went to an AA meeting in Outer Banks, North Carolina. I wasn’t really feeling it, but I had promised my sponsor that I would do it. So I did.

It was a much smaller and more intimate meeting than my home group. My home group has 50-100 people every week, this one had like 10. The advantage of the big groups is that you can hide a little better. This group, everyone had to speak today. And it definitely had a more Christian vibe to it.

It was a beginners group, but all of the people in there have been sober for years, so I was really the only beginner. We read Chapter 24 of the Living Sober book which is called Steering Clear of Emotional Entangelements.

This chapter talks about being careful not to fall for someone - or to go the opposite extreme, and want nothing to do with sex or relationship. This was particularly relevant to me because I went on a date last week. And even though he’s a really nice guy with all the qualities I’m looking for in someone, I’m just not feeling it. And I guess that’s normal.

On the other hand, I’m also clinging to the dudes a bit in my AA group. And I don’t want to do that either. Falling in love with your doctor, nurse or fellow patient is how this chapter puts it. I’m not sure if love is the right word since it’s not a sexual or romantic interest. But still. Better not to cling.

"In the early relief and delight of getting well, we can whip up enormous crushes on new people we meet, both in A.A. and outside it, especially when they show genuine interest in us, or seem to gaze up at us in admiration. The giddy rapture this can bring makes us highly susceptible to a drink." AA World Services Inc. Living Sober (p. 61). AA World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Got it. Dating, new love, etc can actually excite you enough to take a drink.

"An emotional opposite can also be the case. We may seem so numb both physically and emotionally that we are almost immune to affection for a while after stopping drinking. (Physically, clinicians tell us it is common for people to have little interest or ability regarding sex for many months after stopping drinking— a problem that is often alleviated as overall health returns.) Until we are assured that the numbness will pass, however, going back to drinking can appear an attractive “remedy,” which leads to even worse trouble." AA World Services Inc. Living Sober (p. 61). AA World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

This is more in line with how I’m feeling. Numb. Indifferent. Completely asexual. Hopefully time will help that improve.

It talks about how our shaky emotional condition can affect friend and family relationships too. Fortuantely I didn’t have strained relationships as a result of alcohol. Most of my relationships were based around alcohol in fact. I’m a little concerned that those friends won’t be as close now, since we used to get drunk together. And go on trips to drink. I’m going to keep an open mind about it. I still love all of them and want to spend time with them.

"For others, there arrives a period of touchiness at home; now that we’re sober, we have to sort out how we actually feel about spouse, children, siblings, parents, or neighbors, then reexamine our behavior." AA World Services Inc. Living Sober (p. 61). AA World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I can relate to this part. I’ve definitely been a bit cranky since stopping drinking. My Mom and a friend have been commenting on it.

It goes on, again, to talk about not making any big decisions or getting emotionally involved. It can lead you back to drinking. Not sure what to do about the dating. I don’t want to offend him, but I guess I need ro worry about me and doing what is best for me.

"We should remember, too, that intense dislike also is an emotional entanglement, often a reversal of past love. We need to cool any overboard feeling, lest it flip us back into the drink." AA World Services Inc. Living Sober (p. 62). AA World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I’m fortunate that I don’t really have hate or anger. They just aren’t emotions in my nature. I couldn’t say that I hate or even strongly dislike anyone right now. Maybe the President? But I haven’t been following politics because it makes me angry and emotional.

When our sobriety has a foundation firm enough to withstand stress, then we are ready to work through and straighten out other aspects of our lives.

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