The first thing I’ll remind myself of as I do this study is that I have to row my own boat. I can’t worry too much about sponsees, what they are going through, and how I can “fix” them or teach them why I feel they might be off.
What’s concerning to me, however, is how one of my sponsees appears to be looking at dating and marriage. To me, it seems he thinks how attractive the girl is is the most important thing. Granted, you have to be attracted to a woman if things are going to progress; but friendship, relationship, connection emotionally, and openness and honesty, these things, to me, will be there when the attractiveness may no longer be there like it once was.
Besides, from my perspective, none of us as addicts really deserve any woman of value based on what we are doing currently or have done in the recent past. I feel lucky to be even married to my best friend; I have no right to think I’m entitled to anything.
I’ve always been physically attracted to Becky, and I’m grateful that the physical connection was not the foundation of our courtship, our friendship, or our marriage. What I’ve realized after being married for almost 14 years is that, as we’ve discovered what true emotional connection is, the physical attractiveness and physical connection have only increased substantially. I am so attracted to her, both the way the looks and the way she is.
What I want to help my friend understand is that there will always be a more attractive person than the person he’s dating. And, if he doesn’t understand this now, when and if he gets married, he’ll have the same problems then too.
I looked up answers to these questions on LDS.org and found this quote:
Women deserve to be valued for who they are, not simply for attractiveness. They are more likely to feel safe and accepted around men who treat all women respectfully, not just those they are dating…
Men can show admiration for women who dress modestly and uphold Church standards.
I like this quote too:
Sylinda is impressed when men ask out women they’re not sure they’re interested in. “Magic doesn’t need to strike before you go on a date,” she says. “Time and effort often need to be invested before that happens.” Besides, women don’t expect men to know if they’ll be interested after one or two dates—often women don’t know yet either.
I talked to Becky about this some and feel it’s not probably best that I talk about this at all with her. I feel it triggers sensitive emotions that aren’t helpful at all.
I sent this email to my sponsee just now:
Thanks for your work.
A request and recommendation:
Talking about “attractiveness” probably isn’t the best at this point in recovery. If attractiveness is all about being fit, outward appearance, and how “hot” someone is, it’s not going to ever be good enough – there will always be someone better, even when you’re married.
As a recovering addict, my definition of attractive has changed with time in recovery. To me, attractive today starts with the emotional connection I’m able to feel with my wife. As the emotional connection is true and real, the physical attraction only increases.
To an addict with little recovery, attractive could be the porn star one looked at recently or the girl in the skimpy bathing suit. Is that what I want in a wife – is that how I want my wife to look? Do I want other men lusting after my wife and fantasizing about how “hot” she is when I’m right next to her? Do I feel I can love my wife if that’s why I married her or is that really just being in “lust?”
NO, I don’t want that at all today. But the water is muddy for the addict and it’s hard to say what is really wanted and what God knows will be best.
This is one of the reasons dating and courtship aren’t part of the 90 day program of recovery. You’re hopefully in the process of cleaning up the muddy water, getting out all the dark and ugly sand and replacing it with clean and clear sand. You have to give yourself time before dating and trying to decide what you really want in an eternal companion.
I know this may seem difficult and I know it’s a tough place, but if I’m going to continue working with you on this program of recovery, I can’t have you talk about your current definition of what’s “attractive” and what’s not. It’s not fair to you, it’s not fair to me, and it’s especially not fair to the women you are comparing and evaluating.
I look forward to your thoughts on the matter.
I hope this is right. I hope this is being in recovery.
I am now going to study about a different topic – one that will uplift me and connect me with God.
I looked up God hunger on LDS.org and found this quote:
By providing a daily sustenance, one day at a time, Jehovah was trying to teach faith to a nation that over a period of some 400 years had lost much of the faith of their fathers. He was teaching them to trust Him, to “look unto [Him] in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36). He was providing enough for one day at a time. Except for the sixth day, they could not store manna for use in any succeeding day or days. In essence, the children of Israel had to walk with Him today and trust that He would grant a sufficient amount of food for the next day on the next day, and so on. In that way He could never be too far from their minds and hearts.
This is all about one day at a time. I like the scripture too – “look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”
I really like this too:
The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God.
This is recovery. This is healing.
Asking God for our daily bread, rather than our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread, is also a way to focus us on the smaller, more manageable bits of a problem.
This is all for today.