Well, I received more questions after the "deadline" and will answer those soon. I hope that you will visit Lou at Subdural Flow II, Mary Christine at Being Sober, and Ron at An Addict in My Son's Bedroom to ask them questions, also.
I said that I would say what the "winning" question was. That is difficult. I will say that the one that was most thought-provoking and that you made the most comments about was that asked by Irish Friend of Bill. It's easy to think unkindly of alcoholics because most of us have been hurt in some way by them. So to be asked to look at where they do themselves a disservice made me mindful of my part too. And I am not devoid of self-centered ego. So to write an answer that balances my part with the inventory of the alcoholic was tricky. I felt a huge "Whew" escape my lips after reading Irish's question. So, Irish, I will be sending you a gift of appreciation.
One of the things that I learned from your comments is that Al-Anon WSO will be publishing a book on Intimacy in Alcoholic Relationships. Here is what WSO wants to include:
"The 2011 World Service Conference gave conceptual approval for “a new piece of literature on intimacy in general, including sexual intimacy, in alcoholic relationships.” The Literature Committee is seeking sharings from Al-Anon/Alateen members for possible use in this piece.
Alcoholism is an illness that warps and seriously damages our ability to form and maintain intimate relationships. In recovery, we find many ways to connect to others, and learn to replace fear of intimacy with a healthy set of boundaries. We hope this piece can reflect the wide variety of experiences our members have faced regarding intimacy, in many different types of relationships. Intimacy takes many forms, including emotional, physical, and spiritual. Sharings do not need to be limited to sexual intimacy. However, we do want this piece to cover issues around sexual intimacy more thoroughly than any other previous Al-Anon literature, without being either too vague or too explicit and offensive. Please share your struggles as well as your successes.
Intimate relationships, or the lack of them, can be connected to feelings of shame, insecurity, fear, and guilt. Other topics that could be covered in this piece include sexual compulsion, abuse, infidelity, and promiscuity, as well as hope, trust, safety, joy, emotional and physical closeness, and a sense of feeling cared for as well as supported.
Some questions to consider:
• How have the dynamics of the family illness of alcoholism affected my perceptions of all types of intimacy, including sexual?
• To what extent, if any, do I accept responsibility for the loss of intimacy in my relationships?
• In what ways have issues of intimacy within an alcoholic relationship affected my other relationships?
• When, if ever, have I used sex as a substitute for real intimacy? What was the result?
• How did I feel when someone I cared about tried to use sex to control or manipulate me? How did I feel
when I did the same to others?
• Describe the impact that issues of self-worth or other character defects have had on my intimate
relationships with my Higher Power, the alcoholic, family members, friends, or myself.
• How has building a relationship with my Sponsor and learning to trust helped me expand my capacity
• What other Al-Anon tools have I used to rebuild trust and intimate relationships?"
This should be a good read! And it is a topic that needs to be written about and discussed. I am submitting several of my writings to it. I hope that you will consider doing the same.