WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Well surprise, surprise, this is not an instruction booklet on how to have sex with an alcoholic! However, it does reassure me that I’m not the only one who has had difficulty in this area. Intimacy, especially sexual intimacy, is a topic rarely brought up in Al-Anon meetings. This must have been still true back in the early 90’s when this booklet was approved as a concept. Members sent in articles for “The Forum” magazine for 2 years & it’s from those, that this book was put together & published in 1993.
2. Almost all the writings are from women (as mentioned on page 5) & it seemed that each selection was just a bit too short, leaving me wanting more of the “how’s” & less of the “what’s.” …A few touch on the importance of having a sponsor & doing their personal inventory (from Step 4) as being helpful. And I do have to admit that Chapter 2, “Sex As A Weapon,” hit home with me personally as something I’m definitely guilty of doing in my past relationship. But I think I was judging this book too harshly because I had expectations before I even read it (go figure!) & I wanted it to solve my problems (which no book alone could ever do – let’s be real)! I had to take a moment & look back. Per page A-13 of the World Service Conference (WSC) Summary from 1993, it mentions that these “sharings are the opinions of members who are beginning their journeys with intimacy on all levels” & the reason all the sharings are short is because the nature of how they were submitted in the first place – as letters to “The Forum.”
3. The most important thing about this 44-page booklet, in my opinion, is that it was even made at all! It was a step toward lifting the taboo of this topic & inspiring members to talk openly – whether to their sponsor, another member, or in a meeting. Sadly, it was discontinued in 2002 due to low demand from the fellowship. But there is hope on the horizon… A new book on intimacy is being worked on! Not sure yet when it will be available, but it will discuss intimacy in general, including sexual intimacy, in alcoholic relationships. So there exists a possibility that doors that have once closed, might be re-opened to shine light on this topic. (FYI: If you’d like to contribute an article for this new upcoming book, click here to download the sharing sheet.)
4. I have 6 favorite lines from this book:
From page 9: “It has never been my experience that out of physical closeness a spiritual closeness can arise, only vice-versa.”
From page 32: “…love is an attitude in my life that I don’t have to prove or have proven to me.”
From page 36: “Today I believe that a good marriage is one in which two people don’t only enjoy things together… but one in which two people can endure things together.”
From page 39: “Also, I am married one day at a time. This simplifies my life.”
From pages 41: “It is in the atmosphere of acceptance that intimacy develops.”
**BONUS: Two stories from this discontinued booklet are still available to read in a popular book that is currently in print. (Hint: See “Putting Myself in My Higher Power’s Hands” pgs 114-115 & “Redefining Love” pgs 225-226 from item # B-15!)
***UPDATE (12/26/18): At Al-Anon’s 6th International Convention this year, 2018, the new book on intimacy debuted! See the post about Episode 12 of my “CAL Chat” podcast to find out more about item # B-33!