Friday, May 11, 2007


"If we can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth then we can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment - it is a lesson." Robert Burney

In writing the sex relations part of my Fourth Step, I started thinking back over the past romantic relationships. I've been thinking since I wrote the names down and what I did and what harms I caused, that many of those relationships were just part of the lessons in life. I wanted to find out what it was like to be with someone and to share things with them. I wanted to have sex and experiment with all that entails. I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing but it is a lesson and part of the drive that keeps us going. And it is an enormously powerful biological drive.

Tangled up in all of that are expectations both from me and from the other person. Some of those expectations are fueled by the culture that surrounds us. There were the fairy tales that we all knew about with Prince Charming. There was also the music that I listened to that went on and on about love and having a relationship. I may be an AC/DC type of guy but every rocker seems to have love and sex as favorite lyrics. Then there are also all the TV shows and the movies that have couples promising undying love to each other. It's hard not to become obsessed with love and make the person you love your Higher Power.

I know that when I met my SO, I was addicted. It wasn't hard to be and it was as potent as any other addiction. I didn't have a very good foundation from which to learn that making another person your HP wasn't a good idea. Growing up with parents who displayed very little outward affection for each other made me wonder about love and relationships. I never saw my parents kiss or hug each other. I know that they loved each other but it just seemed hard to imagine them having sex. They seemed so disinterested.

So I didn't have much of a foundation from which to understand that the idea of having to have someone else to complete me wasn't real. Now I realize that the romantic notions about relationships was something that I concocted in my search for finding love. Making someone else my HP sets me up for all kinds of expectations that really doom the relationship. I know now that being in a relationship takes work. There are good times and there are times that are very painful and sad. If the painful and sad outweigh the good times though, there is something wrong. There are no guarantees about whether a relationship is going to last either. Sometimes, it just dissolves because people change and move on to some other plane.

I've learned from many relationships, both good and bad, that no other person can be my HP. And I've learned that nothing lasts forever when people are involved. A valuable lesson is to look back at the relationships that didn't last or that weren't good and from that I find out what a good relationship is. These are the lessons that I've learned.


  1. I have confused love and sex for most of my ife. I think I became sexually active before I was ready and just wanted to be loved and wanted. That led me down a path where after a few painful adolescent relationships, I found myself pregnant at the ripe age of 20, a child myself still, into a marriage with a man, a boy really, that I barely knew, him going part time to community college and bussing tables in a chinese restaurant. Way to start your future. He was and is an alcoholic. I still confuse sex and love and find myself that same confused sad lonely little girl kissing frogs who hurt me. I am working hard at finding a better HP than a man.

    Thanks for sharing,


  2. Having a relationship with an HP is for sure the one that lasts. Syd, do you think you could submit a post to my carnival on Sunday? Here's the link:,

    Thanks so much,


  3. I'm really glad I never looked to a significant other to be my higher power. But then, I am afraid to even rely on someone to open a jar of pasta sauce for me.

    All relationships, not just romantic ones, are opportunities for growth. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. This one is difficult. I think its all quite complicated and un straightforward. I don't think it can be neatly classified. On the one hand love and sex are separate, and in other contexts it is not. It can be either in different situations. I'm always very reluctant to pronounce any 'rule' as such. Everything is on a case by case basis.
    I interpret what you describe as being ? Flawed motives, more as a desire to be 'fixed' by a relationship. I know I keep going on about it, but I see this ? Hunger as the hungry ghost realm of suffering. An unsatisfied appetite for ? Completion. Its like the self cannot survive on its own steam or something, and looks outside itself for a prop. That's why the hungry ghost is all about addiction and compulsion. You can be very sexually prolific and have no compulsion whatsoever, or be very sexually inactive and be FULL of compulsion. I see the inner compulsion as a sort of internal dynamo. Like a runaway train. Or just some sort of momentum. "Restless, irritable ad discontent." The opposite of hungry ghost is internal stillness, peace. No knee jerk restlessness. I'm not sure what you mean when you say you make your partner your higher power. I make ANY source of greater wisdom than myself a higher power, in that I defer to that greater accumulation of knowledge. If my partner is a greater source of wisdom and objectivity than myself, then I would view him as a 'higher power', and I would have no problem with that. For me higher power just means they are more advanced than me in some respects. That's all. Perhaps you mean something else. I don't know.
    I think it would be foolish to presume that the complexity of human involvement could be neatly summarized by one label, or class of definition. There is a great deal of mystery in attraction. It goes way beyond logic. And I do not want to discover the mysteries that underpin it. It would be impossible anyway.
    Just accept what happened as your destiny, and if you want to relate better in future, concentrate on generosity. I just think of everything as a form of service. What can I do for you? Type of thing. 'constant thought of others' as the big book says. Generosity of spirit. Means acceptance. Not judging. Saying nothing when there is an urge to say something spiteful. Trying not to be controlling. These are all acts of great generosity. And that's what life is all about. Trying to do the right thing for our fellow man, REGARDLESS OF HOW WE MIGHT BE FEELING. That's it really. Going to any lengths to do the next right thing. It sounds easy, but its a VERY sophisticated skill and takes (at least one) lifetime to practice. It puts you on the right 'footing' for 'good things' to happen. Its a very PURE motive, and it powerfully attracts good ? things into your life. Just try to be a nice human and watch the cool things happen! By the way a 'generous spirit' is NOT a doormat. Generosity means taking responsibility for addressing the problem IN A COMPASSIONATE WAY instead of just letting it slide, and getting pissed off. Compassion isn't easy!
    Hahahha. Far too long. For some reason I type quicker after a long spell at the books. Right! Im off! Arrrgggh exams! Ah well. Soon they'll be over..

  5. Good stuff. Well said.
    May I refer you to a piece that I keep permanently linked from my sidebar? Look under the clock, under the heading of "More Highly Significant Stuff ..."
    Click on "There comes a time..."

    It's the best read I've ever seen on this issue.

  6. Working the Steps helped me learn much about me but it was the actions I took to change that transformed me.

    Hope you keep at it.

  7. Powerful stuff there Syd. I know for me, I also looked for 'someone' to be that HP, turning over my will and my life, my very identity to someone else. I'm so glad that today we can do differntly, and learn from our past decisions.

    BTW I tried to e-mail you when you posted your address the other day, it didn't work...
    Love and HUGS to you

  8. Syd,
    That's really strong stuff! I read that and see myself years ago. I'm going to print that out and force...yes, force my son of 33 to read it. He has been in so many lose/lose relationships. Methinks he mistakes the word love for sex...he doesn't know what a relationship is.
    As a parent I don't dare talk about sex in front of my sons of 30 & 33, that's a sure way of getting them to cry.."Oh, the visuals" as they run out of the house.
    When you spoke about making someone your Higher Power that really grabbed me. I think that's what my son has been doing for the past 10 years.
    Again, your post is inspiring and extremely thought-provoking.


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