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Relationships by Eugene “Tree” H.

Relationships for me were always a difficult thing. Major lack of trust because of past unpleasant experiences, and my own infidelities, drunken and drugged-induced affairs, created a record of mishaps, pain, distrust and disharmony, betrayal, fear, and anger.

Either I took people hostage or they took me hostage. I had, at one point, consigned myself to a life of noncommittal one-night stands, or relationships that were called free-fall. I was NOT a happy person. I wanted love, to be loved, to give love, to be committed, but I was so afraid of getting hurt, used, disrespected.

I was riding on about 6 months of sobriety, working a good program, feeling more at ease with my recovery program, and building a little self-esteem, concentrating on the suggestions being offered.  The one that stood out around this time was the one about not getting into any major relationship during the first year.

I was somewhat okay with that because I was still afraid of being hurt, but as my health got better, I started dressing better and feeling more comfortable in recovery. I started noticing how well the ladies in recovery were looking, and my eyes started wondering with appreciation. I remember being in a meeting, looking across the room and catching a lady looking at me, and by the end of the meeting, in my mind we had gone on vacation, spent a romantic evening together, made passionate love under the stars, and I was now planning and saving for the kids’ college fund.

One day my sponsor came to me and said, “Eugene, I’ve been noticing the progress in your recovery, and I think it is time for you to maybe start a relationship and I think I have the right person in mind to introduce you to, if you’d like?”

“Wow,” I said, “that would be great,” but first I asked, “Do sponsors do that, you know, hook you up? If so, this is a great sponsorship program AA has.”

He smiled and said, “Yeah. I imagine you want someone you would love to go to the movies with?” I said, Oh, yeah.” He said, “I imagine you would want someone to spent a quiet, loving dinner with, have a meaningful special moment with?” “I said, “Oh, yeah, Sponsor, you know me very well.”

“Someone you would love to introduce to friends, family and co-workers, and be proud of the relationship.” “You’ve got it. I am ready for you to introduce me to this special person,” I said, with a broad smile on my face, trying to figure out who in the rooms he was talking about.

My sponsor said, “I can introduce you now if you’d like.” I said, “Yeah! Yeah!” almost slobbering out of my mouth. It had been quite some time since I had enjoyed the pleasure and company of a female. Coming into the program, I was not the catch of the day and had not been the catch of the day for quite some time; I’m talking years.

My sponsor said, “Eugene, I’d like to introduce you to Eugene,” as I stood looking dumbfounded. He explained, “I want you to get to know Eugene, build a relationship with Eugene, find a fondness and loving appreciation with Eugene yourself, take yourself out alone, to movies, to dinners, spend time meditating, and find comfort with being alone with Eugene, building a strong, loving relationship with yourself. This will invite a higher power into your life and thus give you the opportunity to build a relationship with your higher power and yourself.

So I took myself on long walks on the beach, out to dinner, and events that I used to like. I went on AA functions, without thinking and hoping to get lucky. I just wanted to enjoy the friends around me and the joy of being accepted. I went bowling, to movies and luncheons with AA friends, both male and female.

I had found an opportunity to learn about myself, my fears, to accept me for myself, my past and present faults and assets. I learned to laugh at myself and feel a little more comfortable in my own  skin. I learned to laugh with others and at myself. I began to let go of the past and start looking toward the future without having to have someone in my life to define me. I stopped judging others and I stopped judging myself. My higher power and I were more than enough.

I must have stopped looking desperate. Close to the end of my first year, I started dating, and it felt good to make decisions about who I would see, to be honest in my interactions, and to enjoy the company, pleasures, and love of another. By accepting myself first, I now could accept others and share honestly with another.

Today I am committed first to the program and my higher power, secondly to myself and the lady my higher power has placed in my life, to enjoy, be committed, and share special moments. I am a married, committed, honest, loving person today.

So if your sponsor ever tells you that he or she has a match made in heaven for you, beware, it only gets better.


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