Singles Anonymous -- The Program for Developing Long Term Romantic Relationships

A New Twelve Step Fellowship

New Phone Meeting: Thursdays at 6 PM PST.

Dial-in Number: (605) 472-5350
Access Code: 890102

At the time of this writing, the actual statistic is that there are 100 million singles in the United States. Other Western countries as well as elsewhere have the same problem. While we do not say being married is better than being single, often more marriage in a society is a sign of more stability and maturity in the people. SGA is often about people developing greater stability and maturity than many in the society, instead of people with character defects feeling like they are less than average. Many adults reach the age of fifty having only had a few short term relationships. To "the world," a group like Singles Anonymous seems like a group with a stigma. But it's actually the opposite. Recovery in this program could make a person have a better than average -- or at least better than many -- track record with a long term relationship. No one should promise that doing the 12 Steps in SGA will guarantee one a long term relationship. But it can help overcome the character defects which make interacting with the opposite sex so difficult in the modern age. SGA also aims at overcoming all bitterness and resentment that one may have developed for the opposite sex due to one's dysfunctional relationship patterns.

There seemed to be a "type" of person emerging from long term use of multiple 12 Step meetings. While everyone is of course unique, many people who used multiple 12 Step meetings became very good at creating "boundaries" with people, and often did not have many significant others in their lives. The "culture of recovery" has actually been in Western culture even before the big 12 Step Recovery boom of 1980's and 1990s. Many people in sex and love addiction type programs were actually there for "relationship anorexia" -- they actually had not been in a relationship for a decade or more.

When the founder finished the writing of the work on the website, and published it, he entered into a relationship. In that sense, the program works!

At this point, the founder and his Higher Power believe that it's better that Singles Anonymous recovery remain a purely positive experience for everyone involved, than a situation that causes personalities to arise which become a major focus, instead of the principles. The need for a SGA group of some type is real, so that healing may come from discussion with others that have a similar problem. But we want it to be grounded on a spiritual foundation.

There is now a small group of people who are supporting this program and which has formed an unofficial "board" like every other 12 Step program utilized. We have official AA sanction for use of their 12 Steps. Although contributions are not tax deductible, we are accepting donations to expand this work. They can be sent via paypal to para mind at paramind.net (Please remove the spaces and form into a regular email address).


Note: Regarding telephone meetings. There are hundreds of telephone Twelve Step meetings which occur weekly. They are at no cost except normal long distance phone charges. The information on them can be found at the individual website of the programs.

This writing is fresh and we are still proofreading some of it. It will change from time to time. We will soon publish a contact email for us.

The development of family mindedness in the single may be one of the last pieces psychologically to get right. For some in recovery, it may be as important to focus on this as it is on money, overeating, or other issues.

One spiritualizes the romantic bond and one no longer sees it in terms of dirtiness, or stress. One instead sees it as a way where people can become "God with flesh on" to each other, temples of God's Spirit to give each other warmth and love. One sees the relationship as something God wants, and even what God has created for both people. The committed relationship furthers God's purposes in ways that short term, sex-based relationships do not. This isn't to say there isn't a good sex life in a committed long term relationship, but a relationship based on surface values cannot endure when deeper problems threaten.

The goal of Singles Anonymous for all its member is not necessarily to become married or have one long term commitment. Only we ourselves and our Higher Power can determine if marriage or any one relationship is right for us. The goal of Singles Anonymous for all its members is, however, to overcome our character defects and, by so doing, to be more able to be married or in a long term relationship. The goal of Singles Anonymous is also to have a more spiritual experience when courting someone or dating. Our goal is to overcome the resentment and the lies surrounding a gender, the lies against marriage, and to overcome these lies in ourselves and with those who need our help when we do our 12th Step work.

 
1

All Twelve Step programs have a way of knowing if someone is "getting the program." When people get the program in Alcoholics Anonymous, there are various principles that they understand which begin to give them the attitudes that make sobriety possible. When people get the program in Singles Anonymous, one way they show it is experiencing the positive family relationship aspect of one's partner. Growing up, compulsive singles were not taught enough to care for the person that they are in a relationship with. They fail to use the principle of bonding on the level of a new family member. For example, if a woman has children, and she develops a relationship with a man, she must eventually see the man as in a relationship with her like he was a new family member, in the same quality as a new brother, sister, father, mother or, in some sense, her child. We are not inventing something here, just describing how happy marriages function. This doesn't mean that he becomes, on some imaginary level, equal in neediness as her child, but that she infuses some aspect of the family quality to the man she is in a relationship with. This becomes the attitude she takes with him.

Sometimes people need to learn to take the time to take care of themselves, to prepare themselves for a life as an adult, which in some way they have not properly learned before. Sometimes people have not learned to treat their romantic relationships with long term respect, and are unable to see how serving and prolonging the relationship is a way of taking care of their needs.

Treating romantic relationships with respect is a skill that we learn in Singles Anonymous. By treating the romantic relationship with respect, one fully learns about all one gets from this relationship, and how, by valuing the relationship, they are valuing themselves. This is almost the exact opposite of what much of the world teaches today. People are taught that, by getting out of a relationship, they are taking care of themselves, but they are seldom taught that by taking care of the relationship, they can be valuing themselves, also.

When we think about an important person who is balanced and well-loved, and about the relationship with his or her mate, we do not think about the kind of petty squabbles that accompany short-term marriages. It is hard to think that a long-term marriage of an important and spiritual person could be accompanied by a spouse that bickers with them, puts them down, and treats them with a lack of respect. Such an important person would not tolerate that kind of life, because they must keep their focus on the things in life which bring them so much pleasure in mastering. This is the type of relationship members of SGA hope to achieve, because successful relationship patterns are able to be duplicated with spiritual help.

Singles Anonymous literature may be helpful for those who are married or in a relationship but who have a history of having problems in a relationship. Some of these traits may include posturing to get a type of self-esteem in which one's feeling of self comes from the experience of others when seeing one. This may not have been a problem when single but is not a healthy behavior when married. It could be seen as a type of emotional adultery, or flirtation.

We can see that as we live to please our partner, we can become healthier people. We can exercise more, eat better, groom ourselves better, and life opens up to us in better ways. This can be part of the focus of our spiritual life, to pray to our higher power for more help in exercising, eating better and so on.

"Money Twelve Step" programs, such as DA, BDA and UA, can help a religiously-addicted person to relate to money in healthy ways. They might say it's good to check your balance daily, it doesn't mean one is greedy. SGA helps people addicted to unhealthy "toxic religious" ideas to have a healthy way to look at their romantic interests, that is not lust or promiscuity.

2

Making our Thoughts Whole by Linking Ourselves, Others, and God

Where there was once coldness or lack of warmth from the trauma of cruelty, there is now love threefold:

Our Higher Power's love for us
Our love for our self
Other's love for us

It may be helpful if we view the necessity to see love coming from these three different areas. If we do not love ourselves, we may not be able to value ourselves enough to experience God's love for us, or trust in others when we sense they love us.

Before, we may have only tried to see God's love, or our own self-support, or perhaps mainly only others' love for us. We might see how we may have felt a lack of these loves at times. If we do not feel God's love for us, we may be failing to see the entire view of our lives in a spiritual way. Often a person focused only on material things cannot believe God loves him or her, because they fail to see God's support for them in other important issues in life.

3

No Sex Before Marriage?

There is no rule in Singles Anonymous that a member is required to wait until marriage before having sex. However, this has historically proven to help people develop the relationship skill to pick appropriate partners. It may prove to be a very valuable experiment for us to try.

It may be the first time for some of us to wait until marriage to have sex. This allows a whole new side of ourselves to develop. We will see ourselves and others in a new light. It is a perfect opportunity for growth into something more, something deeper, and someone more likely to find the right partner.

One member shares about this in the following way:

 "I was thinking of the value of my Singles Anonymous recovery and how that can affect many new areas of my life that previously have not been affected for very long periods of time. How I now see a woman in a relationship is that I see her as how she would be as a potential family member with me. I see that kind of long range bonding. Before, I just looked at what was her dedication to the ideas I held important, what kind of intelligence I thought she had, and her looks. That kind of thinking got me nowhere. I now know if we can wait until marriage for sex, we can get to learn more about the core issues of our lives, and how each other responds to these things."

The sex act is a major act of "communication" - it involves communicating something about ourselves and receiving a communication about another. In a way, it is like a "brain download" with another person. The sex organs are the most sensitive parts of our body, and in order to be sensitive, this means they are made of many nerve cells. The brain is also made of many nerve cells and the sex organs connect to the brain through the spinal cord. When two people have sex, their bodies connect in this way and "communicate" much more than we can probably realize. People talk about the importance of body language and how it can communicate much to a person. Sex operates in the same way. All the other types of non-sexual communication are more related to how people exist together in a long-range relationship. If those things are correct, the chances are great that people will also be great together sexually. This is why people wait until marriage before having sex.

It may have seemed that nobody ever said a chronically single person was "worth it," that is, worth the journey of a marriage. But most likely, in reality, that is probably how such a person felt about him or herself. Do they feel worth it financially to have a standard of living of a couple - or to be able to provide for children? It seems this valuation starts by taking the sexual vows seriously. No sex before marriage can allow God to instill in us the other character assets that make us attractive to the type of partner we truly want. We see sex as the natural reward we will get for being ready for marriage. The pledge of no sex before marriage becomes the glue for the relationship that is needed for it to work.

The state of spiritual, social and psychological teaching on why we should learn to overcome differences, must be based on the benefit of the teamwork and togetherness that comes from the prolonged marriage or monogamous relationship. The reason why many cultures have had the rule about only having have sex in marriage comes from an understanding that is not easily communicated in a modern culture. It is, simply: The relationship itself helps those who make it up. Having two people living together gives one twice as much power for having a good life. It is not often good for a person to be alone. We are not interested in just a good sexual experience. We are interested in a life companion for everything.

The ultimate purpose for a marriage or committed relationship is to be like God in God's love to our partner. All else pales in comparison and that is why it was prohibited in earlier days. When one fully experiences true love, the consummating of these feelings sexually is not as important as knowing one has a deep commitment to another that goes beyond being satisfied sexually.

It has been hard to communicate the understanding that the committed married person has about their marriage. Others who cannot stay in romantic relationships for long, seem to put too much emphasis on looks, the ease in the relationship, the need to control their mate, or some other trait which those who have long-term relationships don't seem to be focused on. Why has it been so hard for those in long-term relationships to instruct those who cannot be in them? Perhaps there is a quality of loving someone that isn't as much understood today as it was in the past. The powers that be, the media, the advertisers, need to promote surface level values to sell their products. An emphasis on these surface level qualities makes it hard to value the deeper qualities. Our hearts are only capable of handling a certain amount of values, we often cannot cherish as much as we think we can or desire to.

If having someone who loves you, cares for you, has sex with you, and is there for you, year after year, is better than a life of romantic isolation, why isn't the map there better known? Why are there so many singles who want fulfilling relationships? It is uncanny why Singles Anonymous recovery has not happened earlier. It seems organized religion and psychology were not able to help many people develop the understanding to take care of their long-term romantic bonding issues. Instead they seemed just grateful that some people, almost mysteriously, did bond and stay married for decades. Some psychologists might state that people who are succeeding in some areas may unconsciously need others to fail so these people can feel secure when they seem better off. Why did it take an "Alcoholics Anonymous" so much time to form, and the other Twelve Step groups decades to form after AA did? Things sometimes take a long time to happen because of a lack of love and understanding.

How do we make a long-term relationship with a caring partner seem as beautiful as our relationship with God, music, art, poetry or even the attraction we have to the sexual? Maybe it is a different, more central and life-changing kind of beauty, the beauty of family, a spouse that is stable, loyal, helpful, and who charms us in many ways with their beauty.

In Twelve Step work and probably other support group work, the group ethic of being at one, having unity, makes some with unstable boundaries vulnerable to accepting as their own others' dysfunction which they may have previously overcome (with God's help). We don't want to go backwards on God, or for others, or for ourselves.

We recover the pure way of loving and accepting the natural joy of sexuality, bonding and family relationship. Most likely, when just coming out of puberty we had a strong view of our capability of long-term bonding in a more natural way, that the confused nature of modern life had not tainted.

We are interested in being made reasonably happy on a daily basis, by making our partner reasonably happy on a daily basis. But we realize that in a large part happiness is an inside job, that is, only our own willing to be happy can ultimately make us happy.

We are interested in building things and events together, organizing our living space together. making nutritious food together, exercising together, traveling together and so on.

There is a certain "no values" attitude that sometimes arises regarding certain things in compulsive singles. There must be a look-out for the aspect of lack of values in those who do not value commitment first. It goes into other areas of a person's life. No values in one area may mean no values in another.

A good society rewards those who value what is high in life. There is a great probability that if we consistently value what is high in life, we will have high self-esteem. This is because we will be reinforced by the good in society for valuing what they also value. If we value what is low in life, we will have low self-esteem for the same reason. Not only will we be criticized by those having high standards, we will see that it is others with low standards that are the ones who accept us as their own. This will lead to our own low self-esteem, perhaps in an unconscious way. Even if it may seem like pornography is accepted in popular culture, people still know that it is the artwork of prostitution, and they look at those unable to form relationships because of chronic masturbatory fantasies as sick people.

4

Addressing the Issue of Money in a Relationship

At one time, it was unthinkable that problems with money would lead to a divorce. Part of the marriage vow is to stay together "in richness or poverty." In the past, married people would frequently go into poverty together, seeing the bond of love to be more important than the idea of one person failing them financially. The pricelessness of a family relationship was understood, and even the couple without children saw each other as family.

It was sometimes even impossible to get a divorce because of problems with money because of strong values in the culture about the sanctity of marriage.

A commonly held idea is that people must be focused on earning money to be responsible enough for marriage. We can see how it is also important to be serious about goals and standards that don't require money. We do not have to be more selfish, or more mean to others, or less spiritual, to earn more money, and we don't always need more money to do more in life. We strive to balance the correct attitude about money with our sense of family commitment.

5

The Relationship as a Garden of Positive Emotions

One good analogy is to compare a relationship to the cultivation of a garden. The emotions that come up in the garden can be weeds, or good plants, like beautiful flowers. A good romantic relationship is made of people that have decided long before marriage to be committed to positive emotions. That way, they will naturally avoid letting arguments develop into the weeds of prolonged and harmful negative emotions. Science has proven the value of positive emotions and the harm that negative emotions can have on health. Those who are committed to positive emotions should seek each other out, because many people are not aware enough to stay focused on the positive in life.

Looking at the relationship between expressing negative emotions and self-esteem, one may ask, "does suppression of certain types of negative emotions make it impossible to gain self-esteem?" Is there a type of emotion that might seem like anger that can help a person out of a helpless mental or emotional condition? Often, anger is the focus of psychotherapy. Some spiritual teachings focus on the need for qualities that seem like anger, that help one shun the non-spiritual in oneself with a force that helps one gain freedom. But such manifestations, like manifestations of real grief or sadness, are not negative emotions but can turn into them if not watched.

We eventually have that sense of enlightening gratitude that we personally may not have been able to feel or understand how good God and others have been to us. Many human beings want us to measure things primarily in monetary ways when in fact that is a completely twisted and inaccurate system of valuing character. God can take care of us in other sufficient and even very abundant ways. We may not have gratitude for His care if we use the monetary system as our only guide.

It is said that people who have success in many areas of life are future-oriented. Future-oriented people are those who make exciting goals for themselves, have more structure in the days/weeks/months/years in the present than those who do not make strong goals. Why do some only associate this with money? We can see in this planning to do things in the future, freedom and also competence, of using will power in a positive way.

6

The need for a new "romance" program.

Singles Anonymous is not a new "sex" program, because the issue of compulsive singleness does not have as much to do with sexual acting out as one might imagine. It is more of an issue of bonding, communication, accepting our humanness, allowing intimacy, and how compulsive singles fit in with the community as a whole. In the Twelve Step meetings related to sexuality, one would see that there was a difference between people, namely, those who were able to be married or stay in committed relationships and those who would not allow themselves to. This is not to say one type of person is more psychologically or spiritually fit. Often singles for some reason, either consciously or unconsciously, feel they are somehow worse than married people. It must be remembered that sometimes even people who were found out to be dangerous criminals were able to sustain long-term marriages. Recovery from compulsive singleness has more to do with the levels of commitment, or empowerment one feels towards members of the opposite sex, than the complete moral or spiritual aspect of the person.

The Twelve Step programs that address sexual addiction do not seem to address the deeper abilities that help compulsive singles bond. A sex addict can be someone who has been married for over twenty years, or someone not even able to sustain a relationship that goes beyond the one year mark. Such people have some radically different personal psychologies and lifestyles that they've grown accustomed to. It seems like some people become more full of boundaries than perhaps they are conscious of having. Overcoming a state of singleness is actually about consciously losing some boundaries with one specific individual. One does not use the terms "addict" or "codependent" when describing positive long-term relationships.

7

Working the Steps in Singles Anonymous

(This step guide for compulsive singles is a work in progress and will be added to in the near future).

Our Adaptation of the Twelve Step s

Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our inability to form lasting intimate relationships - that our romantic lives had become unmanageable
Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who were compulsively singles, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Step One: There are 100 million singles in the U.S.A. at the time of this writing. This is a statistical fact. It may be a serious problem for some, by how they are interpreting it personally, but it doesn't have to be one with a stigma. Staying single without a history of being in long term committed relationships is often just a choice and not a lack of past opportunity. The problems of being single are often overlooked or made light of but they can be very real and destructive. This situation is different for different people. The problem is different than Sex Addiction, which is always destructive.

Steps Two and Three are often the same in any Twelve Step program, but the insights of most of the other steps differ more from program to program. That is, our belief in God and decision to turn our will over to Him depends on how we look at God which is independent of whatever problem we may address through the Twelve Steps.

Step Two is the beginning state in Singles Anonymous. We came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and even help us to be our best physically. We came to believe God would teach us who is the right type for us, and help us understand why we need someone in our life for more deep fulfillment out of life. Even if we do not find a partner, we can lose our resentments and negative self-image reflections that dating in the past may have brought us.

In a way that really matters, do we feel unattractive at the core of our being to the opposite sex? Just as many compulsive clutterers may have aspects of obsessive compulsive disorder, many compulsive singles may have aspects of body dismorphic disorder. This problem manifests as average looking people, or even above average looking people, who believe they are unattractive. We examine ourselves for manifestations of this type of wrong thinking. Some may want to seek professional help who have serious symptoms of this problem.

Steps Four and Five

Steps Four and Five are centered on making a fearless, moral inventory. Such an inventory can contain things such as:

Grandiose delusions about ourselves as romantic entities, that we should only date people younger than ourselves, that we should have people who are physically fit even if we are overweight, and so on. A grandiose delusion can be seen as a lie against everyone who ever loved you, allowing it may shame them, and hurt them. It is against God, yourself, your loved ones, and if taking credit where it is not owed you, it is against those it is due.

One may not have good courtship skills. One has to believe that God will show one what is acceptable and attractive to the opposite sex, most of which is in our power to change. One has to learn how to accept risk into one's life to meet the right person. One has to believe that God will show what one has to recover from in past experiences that might be negative. Inventories of character defects in SGA can involve all of these areas.

A moral inventory in Singles Anonymous may be centered on not taking sexuality as seriously as it should be. It may be that in some way a person is addicted to sex or pornography.

When we see all that was or is wrong with us, we may only want to see the goodness of God in this insight, instead of shame or overwhelm. This may leave us with a feeling of there needing to be something more in order to be blessed with a good relationship. We decide on changing our patterns and this creates hope for the right relationship to develop. Maybe we are making progress and need to develop a feeling of satisfaction and gratitude with that. Do we have a romantic relationship with a person now in addition to all these insights?

It is said that the steps work together and form groups. We hear the phrases, "Steps Four and Five" and "Steps Six and Seven." Actually, Steps Four through Seven work strongly together. They start with "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. " and end with "Humbly asked God to remove these defects of character." When we see our inventory clearly we can strengthen the resolve of the First Step. When we see the goodness of having our character defects removed, then we gain conviction that this is the work of God, and not any "insight" of our own, which we doubtless had before we came to the program.

Step Six, "Were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character" may mean that we are actually trying to overcome our specific character defects in real life. We see what the new life would be without the character defect, and we actively desire it. We are ready to have these character defects removed because we can see they are in our life and we cannot get rid of them by our own will power alone. We do not have to just make a mystical commitment in Step Six to a sponsor -- many of whom it is said do not do very well with Steps Six and Seven. We should feel Step Six by experience...we were ready because after doing our Fourth and Fifth step, we understood the problem, and were ready to have God remove the problem because we see its ugliness and we were tired of having it around.

We saw the life of the good and healthy around us, and we wanted to be like that. We knew we could, if we did not have these character defects in the degree we did. We no longer resented the healthy people at times -- perhaps as a type of unconscious jealousy. We no longer made excuses that we were somehow better than they.

We look at concrete examples of character defects for compulsive singles. One might be, if we are older, that we should focus on people around our own age. Or, if we are males and do not take an active role in searching for someone because we have a -- probably wrong -- idea that women are just as likely to approach us.

Men may need to realize that there are many other men who are seeking the type of women that the media and marketing forces say they should be interested in. As more men may be interested in these types of women, they believe they have to act somewhat competitively. This active role may be counter to how the spiritual usually think. Didn't people with long lasting marriages just happen upon each other? That may be true or may not be. One person in fact may have a great resilience in the dating process. What seemed like just finding someone right away may to someone else seem like a torture of enduring rejection after rejection. Some people may discover that they have been too sensitive in the dating process. What seems like hassling another person for a date might be seen by someone as giving a compliment to the person being asked. It's because one person was naturally brought up to have a "thick skin" in the romantic process, that it is a natural part of life, and yet another was not taught anything at all, was shamed, or learned to be overly sensitive about it.

Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to take away our character defects.

This may mean that we keep trying and not give up hope. Even if a character defect such as we don't emotionally feel like looking for people seems present, even if we may have had a rejection, we keep having our character defects removed.

Fear shows us where we need to grow. Hope allows us to pray for that area. Self-discipline brings with it a focus on our powers of attention that allows us to pray long enough for something to happen.

8

Spirituality and Singleness

Recovery in Singles Anonymous takes a view that God allows one to become married or in a committed relationship. If one believes that God is calling one to be celibate for a spiritual reason, it will be hard to ever get recovery in this program. It's the history of some religious denominations and spiritual groups to have a type of "single class." To have healthy and consistent thoughts about personally getting married, one has to believe that God will give one the freedom to be married. One has to believe that God is not suppressing one's opportunities to find the right person.

Among singles who are interested in spiritual ideas more than the average person, a problem lies in believing one is being directed by God to be single. This concept in some manifestation may be a big occupation in a compulsive single's mind. Is it a type of pride? A type of grandiosity? A psychologist might say it is giving one a value by an open denial in an area where one is lacking. That is, one experiences inadequacy when dating, thus by believing that God wants one to be single, one no longer feels inadequate, one feels spiritual.

If it is not a real direction from one's Higher Power, what are the possible causes for the experience of God saying "I want you for myself?"

They may be:

A) Security. By not being exposed to risk in the world of people that we try to date, by being non-involved in it, or by giving up after a short time with others, we may believe we keep our self-esteem higher. Except this doesn't work if we want to be in a relationship, because we will feel lower self-esteem by not having a relationship.

B) Egotism, or known by other words like narcissism or pride. We think we are "saints" - too spiritual and needing to be used by God for some spiritual purpose that others cannot provide. But if we have a track record of being in many romantic relationships it may be that this really isn't our calling.

C) Disowning our power, or disowning the life drive. Mistakenly feeling our Higher Power saying we should be single is the opposite force to the libido. When a person disowns their power, there is a lessening of the life force. Such a person will often feel somehow turned against themselves by self-doubt, procrastination, and so forth. When an insecure person begins to own their own power, they may become afraid and try to not own it by sensing God saying to them, "I want you for myself." This is like saying, "Now you are strong, and you may go out more into the world and be hurt by people, become weak again and be safe, by having a delusion that God wants you for himself. " This kind of thinking grants a person a delusive victory. It can be used in other areas of life besides dating.

If there is nothing that holds us back in a spiritual way from a lasting romantic commitment, then we can rethink our spiritual interaction from a delusional self-serving one to one based on building up another human being with our committed dedication. This phrase "spiritual interaction" at first may not seem specific enough. Spiritual interaction with whom? In a way it is with God, with others and with ourselves.

The whole problem of this kind of grandiosity lies in the idea of being "controlled" by God, that we must have to live a certain kind of life. And because this is the case, because of this artificial comfort and sanctuary, there really is no easy way out of it because one can always experience a counterfeit of God's guidance towards singleness. But this gives up free will. It is said the world is the way it is because God has given us free will. A theologian may say that allowing free will allows us to love God more.

As Chapter 11 in Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions states, there are some who believe they know God's will in all situations and get in trouble because their certainty becomes a type of vanity. This becomes the heart of grandiosity, of putting burdens on oneself that one's Higher Power did not mean for one.

Some think about God as the Great Romantic, and only ascribe attributes to God that healthy spiritual people can ascribe to God and to their spouse. Is God as the Great Romantic a valid analogy? Perhaps it should be looked at carefully, because to use it carelessly in one's life may lead to the unexamined life. For instance, calling God our heavenly father or mother is different than calling God our heavenly friend. Friends are not required to discipline each other the way a father or mother is required to discipline their child. Can God be the gardener of our life, changing events in our lives in a somewhat painful way? If God tends the garden of our heart, God may put events in our lives to stress us to see what we need work on in our character. Our mates shouldn't have this kind of behavior as that would be prideful, and having a romance with someone with that attitude would be very difficult. There isn't a sense of equality in the term, "Higher Power" - as higher can only mean one thing. Our mates are not our higher power.

It is the exact same principle in explaining why God is a jealous God. God is jealous of our time because what we put our attention on, molds us. We can put our attention on God in a dysfunctional way, as the book, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" of Alcoholics Anonymous points out in the chapter on Step 11. But those who approach God humbly will have their time invested richly rewarded. Remember, what the Twelve Steps faced in people were almost always fatal conditions. Or, they were such negative conditions of life that life had no longer been worth living. We can't forget this because without our programs, many of us revert back to our old behaviors.

We can't give up on something deep inside us that made life really worth living. We may have forgotten what it was that we gave up. Sometimes, people are said to have died a little before having actually died physically. The depth of the rewards of a good romantic relationship is much more than the sex that the media tells us is the end all of life. We elucidate what these things are, and we strive towards them.

Many of us have felt despair about romance. Sometimes we have let this despair and abandoned hope color our views of ourselves, romance, marriage or our Higher Power.

Getting over despair with God about romantic issues may be helped by these following steps:

1) Focus on what God possibly can help us with, since the despair often comes from what we believe He didn't help us with. What did God help us with? Exercise? Health? A job? New friendships? Do we have gratitude for these things?
2) If isolation could be personified as a horrible monster, realize that this despair is what the forces of isolation want. Resist isolation and you will overcome despair eventually.
3) Did we really do the thing ourselves that we blame on God doing to us? Did we expect God to prevent our own free will?
4) Can we change our mood and state of mind with something other than a focus on religious topics? This is important for frequent readers of spiritual literature to think about. Despair with any aspect of God's help may come from an unhealthy obsession with religious ideas instead of enjoying the life that God created for us.

9

A Relationship Really is For More than Sex

What are the other changes besides a sexual life when we have a romantic partner or a spouse?

We are no longer alone. Psychologists have shown that some problems can be increased by loneliness.

Our house may be more organized and clean because of the commonly held theme of a beautiful home.

Better cooking because it is important to another person, and one person can cook when the other person focuses on doing the dishes.

Someone to be next to when sleeping, watching a movie, or just cuddling.

We have someone we can take care of and make a beautiful difference in their life.

We have more acceptance with other people in our lives because they know we can commit to someone. It may even seem like we are not an adulterous threat to their spouse, and so they feel safer in that way with us. There is sometimes a little higher status many give to people who are married, and we become entitled to that.

10

TOOLS

Overcoming Hidden Sexism

This is the problem with seeing one sex or gender as inherently better than the other. Many people have been conditioned to distrust the masculine, but in nature and the animal world, we would not criticize one gender over another. We see the goodness of our creator in both. Would a woman having a male child want to give him less of an opportunity than another person's female child?

There are obvious problems when people are against the necessary emotional aspects of a gender. Bitter women don't see the benefits of masculinity. Bitter men don't see the benefits of femininity. Bitter men don't see the need to build their truly noble masculine side for the woman. Bitter women don't see the need to build their truly noble feminine side for the man.

Overcoming Bitterness

Forgiveness focused, forgiving the Femme Fatale, or the Casanova.

We overcome bitterness by being forgiveness focused. We forgive the world with God and all other spiritual people. This forgiveness in part cleanses the world of its error. This is not to say we do not believe in justice, but we know that justice will be measured out no matter what we can do about such things. This forgiveness is an important part of keeping the world operational. A man may have met a "femme fatale" type, that is the opposite of the type of woman that is able to fully bond and settle down long term with a man in peace, joy and harmony. A woman may have met a "Casanova" who is a male version of the femme fatale. Both are only able to relate on a surface level and incapable of living beyond a certain façade they create. One learns to heal from such people, not necessarily by not thinking of the kind of person they were, but instead understanding them at a deeper level.

For those who cannot tolerate differences.

Acceptance - acceptance of what they are, acceptance of what they are not. We have to accept the consequence of not accepting the person as exactly as they are. Otherwise, we are at the primitive level unmodified from early childhood.

Staying at a primitive level of dealing with the opposite sex, demanding that they do things for you that your creator would enable one to do for oneself, and if the other partner was busy doing something worthwhile, this is a primitive level instead of a disciplined or parented level.

Idealizations are a chief concept in psychology and are useful when studying the bonding processes that lead to long term relationships. An idealization is a false standard that people hold about others or themselves. By idealizing a person, one does not allow oneself to become like that person. In some dysfunctional families, idealizations are necessary by some to uphold in order for them to feel secure. If the idealizations about themselves are threatened, they may become angry.

Some types of people need idealizations to be held about themselves, in order to be content in life, or they rage. Some parents or siblings need unrealistic idealizations from their children or siblings, or they create difficulties in the relationship. These types of people often cause problems in the life of their children or least powerful sibling. These may be areas that compulsive singles need to look at to full mature into holding long term relationships.

The ideal partner we imagine actually becomes the enemy of the possible real partners. We realize who is the right one for us when we compare the person who responds positively to us and who we can have a desire for, compared to all those who responded positively to us but whom we do not have a desire for. Many compulsive singles seek out those who do not respond positively to them and continue to believe that there will be one just like them who one day will respond positively to them. For recovery, one must give up the "ideal" image in our mind for the one who measures up in other ways.

Dethroning Dysfunctional Traits

The trait of determining whether or not we think of any new person we meet as attractive may be a bad habit the compulsive single has. Being so use to looking for our mate, we may tend to be stuck in those parts of the brain that are focused on looks. Some aspects of it is probably particular to those who stay single and are frequently involved in dating. It is a bad trait socially as it gives the person an appearance of superficiality and neediness.

Denial and The Overcoming of Playmate Consciousness

We can understand the overcoming of the playmate consciousness in the following example. Imagine a single male who over a period of many years has had many online younger girlfriends, who don't seem to mind these relationships with older Western men. He is living out a fantasy relationship based on a type of narcissism. There may be some small basis in fact regarding "mail order brides" that is, men better off financially than him who can fly to a foreign country, meet and marry a younger woman and bring them back to his country. But even these relationships do not promise to be lasting. He has to allow appropriate local women into his life once again and give up these fantasy relationships. He may have gotten out of shape physically, socially or financially. If he persists in his "self-love" -- which is not self-esteem but instead a misguided lack of trust in sound principles -- he will only allow these shallow and short-term online relationships and not build a solid relationship that would benefit him much more.

He sees the women as his playmates which go away after a time and which he has no commitment towards. Others may also have a similar type of playmate consciousness with those they date, or even marry. When the relationships stop being about narcissistic fun, there are arguments and one feels infuriated at not being served.

Overcoming Isolation

One may be isolated because one is not good at prospecting for dates. One may think that one must be presented with the absolute sure mate instantly, and not have to search. One may not be willing to expose one's heart to any challenge or pain.

We may need to experience that we are exposing our truest heart over and over again in the dating process. We realize that we "need a thick skin" and not be susceptible to negative thoughts that we are being rejected. In fact we learn it is the higher power of "society" -- or what is right for all concerned -- that is showing one the right mate for one. We no longer feel any rejection, only recognize what is right in the larger picture of the world.

To be at the final state where one is clear of prejudices against the opposite sex.
The state of never being able to say goodbye. The state of marriage helped us to make that state permanent for our own good, even when we didn't think it possible.

We have to take the sting out of the surprise of seeing what happens when people don't follow good orderly direction when it comes to dating, courtship, or being in a committed relationship or marriage. God nor good people need people to experience the misfortune of not being able to take care of a romantic relationship. None who follow the right way require a person to become less so they can feel like they are more. An example of someone who is on this wrong path is someone who was following lust too long and has avoided developing the character building necessary for long term comfortable bonding. The process of changing for any human being takes a long time of exposure to God's nature and direction. We have to face God in order for God to work on us. Theologians would agree that God just doesn't work on people without their interest in this work taking place. The amount of true interest they have is the amount of true interest that God will have in changing them. When we start replacing the things that only God can give us with lesser things we lose out on all these greater things. The 12 Steps are one way of structuring our interaction with God in an intelligent and progressive way that helps change occur.

How do we heal from romantic trauma?

By sincerely looking at those who traumatized us, and also knowing our true powerful self. We then need to experience in visualization where we want to go in life.

11

Libido or Lust?

For healthy recovery, sexual desire is never to be looked at in an imbalanced way.

Psychologists have talked about the necessary nature of what they call the "libido." We must define what harmful lust is, and what is the natural drive that motivates us to bond with a partner. This partner is seen as one who makes our lives more fulfilling, the way our Creator intended it. When there is shame regarding the level of sexual desire that motivates one towards finding an appropriate person, it should not be looked at in an uninformed way. All healthy people are entitled to feel strong sexual desire for an appropriate person unless they desire to hinder it for other goals. The most vilified acts in human interaction involve inappropriate sexuality, and it seems this transfers over to people who are insecure about their normal sexual desires.

Just as stretching shows the full functional extent of the muscular body, when there is the ability for true love, the sexual ability shows the full psychological capacity for intimacy. According to psychologists, the libido in psychology is not just to be seen as the "sex drive," it can be understood better as the energy needed for a creative, happy life. That is not to say that celibates cannot have creative, happy lives. It is saying that the sex drive can be "sublimated" into other areas which make one happy. It also can mean that an unhappy and stuck person may not have a strong libido. We learn to see our libido in a spiritual way, even if we are singles. We are allowed to accept the physical beauty of people and see this acceptance as normal. It may be a concept that helps us court other singles and find the right person, without any pre-mature sexual relations being involved.

Pornography is the artwork of prostitution. It is actually, most of the time, a documentation of an act of prostitution in the general sense of the word. Although it is for some politically incorrect to say, those who use pornography condition their minds for a romantic lifestyle that is closest to the type of "romance" similar to acts of prostitution, not a committed romantic life.
 
Someone we are dating must realistically meet our spiritual standards. We can be willing to wait for them on certain things.

It is now openly accepted that healthy feminine psychologically is foreign to old beliefs about the non-sexual nature of women. It seems before the fall of the dominance of religious thinking in some parts of the world, the marriage bond was made vital and it was upheld by both men and women. Men and women both stigmatized women who engaged in sex before marriage, and did not allow the socio-economic meter from going forth. So an unmarried woman for the most part protected herself and her standing in the community by not having sex. This created the illusion in some peoples' minds that a woman naturally has a lesser sexual drive, or enjoys sex less than men. We can see this stereotype criticized as false many times in Western culture even before the sexual liberation of the 1960s. That is, the strong romantic drives of women were openly displayed, often, it shows up in the humor of the day. It seems in some pockets of culture, and in marketing products, the woman's desire to bond is downplayed for a "need" for independence. If a marketing force can sell two products where before there was only one to be shared in a married household, one can only imagine that some would unconsciously try to keep people apart for the profit motive.

Men have to keep a type of meter regarding how much they can feel like potent men, and not feel enfeebled by life. A mature woman knows this about her partner and so allows him to feel masculine.

All the good experiences one had as a child are just normal for a person with a "good enough" upbringing. This is where the normal self-esteem can reside. If we believe it has to do with religious blessing that is fine, or we can say it came from the goodness of our parents and siblings. A good marriage is likewise "normal enough" for many people. We do not have to idealize it, or say it can only show God's blessing on the few. It all works together, but one doesn't have to work too hard to "deserve it." One realizes it comes from one's upbringing not necessarily just one's parents, but one's friends, good teachers, and so on. Idealization could keep it always far away from us, and not show God's blessing, or our inherent worthiness because it is something we strive for and work towards.

Instead of shame coming up when our sexual desires are inappropriate, the thought can come up: "that is simply misplaced." The good feeling is appropriate but our heart and our heads need to be fixed so it can be appropriately channeled and expressed. In one respect, when there is a capacity for true love, it is this level of acceptance of oneself that allows sexual intimacy, otherwise it could just manifest as the sexual addiction problem.

Over time, feelings of meaningless sexual experiences seem to cancel each out feelings of true love in a dysfunctional person. What is a meaningless sexual experience? It is one in which there is no aim towards bonding long term, the result of which would improve the lives of both people. In the other person comes warmth and acceptance, and this way of loving, enlivens one down to one's inner essence. It becomes the thing we feel best brings out the best in life for us, a sign of our Higher Power's blessing life for us.

For the most part, people no longer follow directions simply because they are told to. Some may have been able to follow someone's directions because they sensed these people loved and cared for them, and then eventually they saw the good fruits that came from walking in that direction.

There is a certain shame that a pornography addict experiences after seeing they were in their addiction for perhaps a decade or more, when others were in fulfilling relationships, possibly even creating a new family. The pornography addict's Higher Power did not need to give them the sense of a punishing "surprise" for all that time lost, but instead wished to wake them up as soon as possible. It is the exact same principle in explaining why some religions describe God is a jealous God. We may experience the drive to work the steps because it seems our Higher Power is jealous of our time, our allegiance in time spent or attention on other areas. We do not receive the good life without an absolute commitment to change.

12

The Promises

We will replace feelings of meaningless sexual experiences with feelings of true love.
We will not criticize one gender over another. We see the goodness of our creator in both genders.
We will stop trying to control our partner's behavior and lives and feel secure in the freedom we give them.
We will learn not to idealize others nor idealize what we expect from ourselves and our loved ones.
We will learn to focus on the good and appropriate people in life and not concentrate on those we may have difficulties with.
We will be willing to expose our heart to any challenge or possible pain from romance.
We will no longer say negative things about our partner or potential partner because of insecurity about ourselves.
We will overcome the perfectionism that has kept us in isolation because of inhuman standards.

13

Spiritual Abuse and Twelve Step Groups

Spiritual abuse is a serious problem and Twelve Step groups are not immune from members participating in it. There are sponsors who require sponsees to do what they are told without questioning, and who, in strong and unkind language, give out insults to various people in the group. This most often happens in a type of gossipping, which there can be quite a bit of in 12 Step communities. For some reason, there are people in support groups that seem to accept depreciating others. At times it is well-hidden, perhaps meant to keep people in line and "sober" from whatever ails them. Often, this seems like a law of the jungle, where the tough survive and lord over the weaker and more sensitive. But sometimes this harsh language seems more like the product of the dysfunctional background a person came from, a type of abusive language that members grew up with. It is not necessary in an environment of healing. Some Twelve Step circles seem more sponsor-focused, with a clique of people bragging about their sponsors and their relationship with them, and the ill fate of all who do not have close relationships with a sponsor.

We believe we have to follow both the literature and the tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous, instead of going off in a direction of practice being handed down from one new Twelve Step program to another. Spiritual abuse is now a well-documented subject, whereas before the 1980's it was still rather ambiguous.

Alcoholics Anonymous, and other groups related to chemical addictions that wreck havoc on the physical condition of the newcomer and can cause death, often use a strong language. This practice has carried over to other programs. With some people, it is understandable that they themselves like to talk tough, especially about these life-threatening problems. However, many people cannot handle language like this and it turns them away from being helped.

Some times sponsees are heard in certain Twelve Step programs mention that they must call their sponsors before they make important decisions. While this is a situation that may seem to be working, time can only tell how much any one adult is willing to let another adult control their life in this way. Many of these other Twelve Step groups seem to have a dynamic that is not really a parallel to what is experienced in Alcoholics Anonymous. Sponsorship relations in AA work, more often than not, and there isn't as much switching between them and eventually quitting looking for a sponsor as one may see in Twelve Step groups with smaller populations. Sponsorship in these very involved forms is not required for participation in any Twelve Step group. There are some people who will use slogans like "those who sponsor themselves have a fool for a sponsor" and it will make the group have the dynamics that seem closer to a dangerous cult than a healing support group. This can especially be problematic in a group that deals with intimate aspects of oneself such as courtship and dating. We would encourage people to have certain boundaries with people offering to sponsor them in Singles Anonymous. There have been abuses of the Sponsor/Sponsee relationship in 12 Step programs, as well as in mentorship relationships in churches and other religious groups. Much work can be done by oneself, studying Singles Anonymous literature, and discussing the ideas with others, both with members of SGA and people who are not SGA members. Friends who have successful romantic relationships, clergy, and therapists all can be helpful.

For some time in forming SGA, it was wondered whether or not attempts at meetings should even take place. The idea was that the very concept of working the steps on romance was good enough. Many people benefit from different Twelve Step groups for the purposes of learning how to overcome various issues, not necessarily to stay in the fellowship for a long period of time. We thought that Singles Anonymous might just be a sign that this type of recovery in people was possible, and to create a body of literature that describes the successful process.

One reason not to have Singles Anonymous meetings was the imagining of what might happen in a program that did not structure itself on stopping certain types of behavior but in fact trying to start constructive types of action where there had been romantic "anorexia." The idea of not letting the bad limit the possibilities of the good was the concept that was the turning point in the decision to have meetings.

An interesting thing happens in Twelve Step groups in regards to finding romantic partners there. We are told that there are certain members who "13th Step" other members. What 13th Step means can be explained in various ways. Generally, 13th Stepping means when one develops romantic relationships with members of the same Twelve Step group. Sometimes, it may be done by those who are incapable of forming committed romantic relationships, and there isn't any intention of forming a more committed relationship. Men as well as women can be guilty of this. Or, it can just be the relationship pattern of already dysfunctional adults, going from one short term relationship to another, much as they would in any other social grouping they might be a part of. One thing that is very unfortunate is if all romantic interactions of a Twelve Step group become off limits in a person's mind. One could imagine that the unwritten rule of "not having any new romantic relationships within the first year of sobriety" could be as much trouble as it is something good.

The problem with any "no romantic relationship" rule between members of a Twelve Step group is that it may prevent a good relationship from occurring. Many successful relationships and long term marriages have developed between members of Twelve Step groups. Adding to the new legitimate rules of the group, such as no alcohol, no debting, and such, on top of new unnecessary rules (no romantic relationships between group members) could make a Twelve Stepper's life possibly more dysfunctional.

14

Regaining Positive Family Regard

When we regain positive family regard for the good of our family, we can move better into the roles that some of them may have accomplished. Many in earlier generations had a greater ability to stay married for longer amounts of time than moderns, and so by accepting the good of our parents, we can also mirror some of their positive traits.

We may often put prayer to our Higher Power between us and our birth family, as we do for our partner. We no longer have a lack of forgiveness. No matter what was done to us, we know we are strong enough to have love for all people.

We want all people to be spiritual beings, to turn away from their wrong and have a life of love. As we forgive others, we experience a miraculous freedom from our character defects. We allow ourselves the humility to let our Higher Power change us. Humility allows an opening, while pride closes us off and keeps us full of questionable characteristics.

The spiritual work of forgiveness becomes something we focus on, not just nod our heads to. We do not forgive because of spiritual pride, we forgive because we willingly chose to, again and again if needed, smother the memory of hurt with healing love and intelligence.

We lose denial that our forgiveness of others is a small and meaningless thing. Just as we do not condone any offense that we forgive, we do not minimize the fact that we forgive someone. This is a private acknowledgment, not a public one. It would be boasting if we told people how much we forgave others, but to ourselves, we do keep it in remembrance as a sign of being loving people.

Re-examining and revisiting our forgiveness is like experiencing another act of love each time we do it. We do not to re-examine and revisit the offense, perhaps occasionally only to recognize that something once was done and we completely forgive the person for it. Since we take any thought of vengeance out of the memory, in that way the misdeed is forgotten in essence, even if we repeatedly experience the love of our forgiveness of the person. We of course are not talking about becoming abused by anyone again, but since boundaries are common in modern times to many, and there is so much written on them, we need not focus on them here. If we need professional therapy for someone, we can seek that, but remembering what the spiritual of all ages have said about the need for love and forgiveness.

Sometimes the people who have harmed us do not apologize to us. In many cases, this may show a spiritual sickness. We can only overcome this by praying for them. We cannot let the force of injury become greater by fearing it or the person who wielded it. We can only lessen it by praying for it to become smaller. By putting our Higher Power in the path of it, we block its image from appearing in our mind and soul. We pray that the offending party may have a spiritual rebirth.

We may use the affirmation: "It does not matter what my family does because I have unconditional love for them and I am a kind person."

How do we love unconditionally?

By focusing on these things:

1) Forgiving all.
2) Praying for all.
3) Wanting the best for all.
4) Helping all in practical ways.
5) Looking at the best in all.


15

Sibling Rivalry and Developmental Arrests

A system is only efficient if its parts can communicate with each other. A family is only functional if its members can communicate honestly and at length with each other. There also has to be a respect for each other and an ability to understand the other.

All systems become optimized when the parts of it can communicate with each other. This is because the information each part has can flow to other part, each separate region educates the other. Where there is knowledge, there is power, health, and all the other virtues that are necessary for any system to operate properly. The sum of the parts is greater and each part becomes stronger. Healthy families operate in this fashion.

Some family roles point more towards societal power, and some roles more to spiritual and artistic abilities. The roles that gain societal power often produce more money or more bonding with others, and money and social bonding brings with them more general respect in the family. Often, those more prone to the arts and spiritual groups do not acquire as much money as those who are not as interested in those subjects,
and are freer to earn more money in easier roles in society.

The empowerment of the less powerful sibling may be unconsciously resisted, since often the less powerful sibling is some way economically dependent. If the less powerful sibling were to gain power, they may be more of a "threat" in the competitive worldview that the more powerful family member daily experiences out in the working world.

The less powerful sibling may be unwilling to separate the world at large from the protection of the more powerful sibling. This can be a cause of dysfunction, since the more powerful sibling does not have any meaningful desire or ability to empower anyone other than themselves, and those who help them further their aims, such as their spouse, children, employees and so on.

The less powerful sibling may unconsciously seek support from the more powerful sibling, but the more powerful sibling may be unable to give it due to their own insecurity. Only a spiritually secure person can truly empower another.

It is hard to imagine any support would ever be sufficient, that is, they would always achieve more if they could divorce themselves from the disempowering need for conscious or unconscious support from their sibling. It seems to the weaker sibling, in one hand they are offered food, while in the other they are hit with a club -- in order that the more developed "strong" sibling can remain strong. The stronger siblings lose out too, because the family becomes like parts of a pie. The stronger sibling may enrich their artistic side by communicating more with the artistic sibling, or enrich their spiritual side by commicating more with the religious sibling. The abilities seldom overlap completely. One family member is a "safe" accountant type, one is the domestic type with little financial ability, one an artist, another a religious type. Of course, not all families consist of four members, so the roles may be combined in various ways. There are also other roles and qualities, such as promiscuous, addict, gambler and so on. The one who is domestic, may not have much creativity. The one who is the financially safe accountant may not be able to be spiritually active. In a functional family system, where there is ample communication and respect, the traits circulate and each area of each member is educated and strong.

When narcissism is rampant in the system, the other members of the family are seen as negligible, and so no family therapy or "talk sessions" take place.

The artists and more spiritually active have a tougher time succeeding, feeding and nourishing the world, because they are not fully loved and emotionally supported by their stronger silbings. They are probably not actively hindered, but instead they are not understood by their stronger siblings. The problem lies in each not understanding what the others get from being who they are. The lack of understanding must be overcome for each to live optimal lives. Since there is so much family dysfunction in the world, and therefore since too many do not lead optimal lives, there is not as much understanding for the motivation for family therapy to occur. Only those with insight will understand the need to change. The motivation can come by the artist having respect for the insights of the accountant, for the promiscuous to understand the security and warmth that the domestic one gets from their long-term commitment.

Stating the Truth in Love

The paradoxical struggle comes always in recovery work when one still loves one's siblings (or parents) and yet still understands them as powerful yet imbalanced. Without boundaries, created out of love for them and oneself, they become dangerous to one's functional wellbeing. This is one reason why Twelve Step support groups can be valuable.

Questions to Work Through

What are the traits of each sibling?
Is there any overlap? There should be if it is desired.
Why does the sibling criticize the other?
Does one sibling not understand the other?
Is there a need for more love and communication applied?

How does one heal from this situation?

Love by itself may be blind, and one-sided communication may be without love. Try to be loving and wise at the same time.

How many times can we replace a thought of warmth and quality in the area where it was not? This is how the thorough healing from abuse is achieved. This is how the healthy extroverted nature is formed.

A sibling might need and unconsciously request idealization in order to merely be, or else they rage.

Are we able to take pleasure in our mastery?

How do our siblings seem to relate to our mastering what they are also good at?

An affirmation in this area is: "I am able to experience deep satisfaction from mastering __________ in my life." Fill in the blank with the area that you are gaining mastery over.

If the more powerful siblings cannot share any power- if they do not have full responsibility to create good acts - the chances are that the less powerful siblings may have been chosen by the family system to seem more concerned with morals and ethics, but they may have no power to show it, or be acknowledged for it when they show it


16

The Oedipal Victory

Probably the most important psychological concept for compulsive singles is called the Oedipal Victory, which of course comes from the study of the Oedipus Complex. The Oedipus Complex is well known, but just like the concept of the libido, it is probably not fully understood. Among various other things, it basically states that in dysfunctional families there is a lack of maturing in some children that comes from the parents not preparing the child well for an adult role in life. The Oedipal Victory takes place when one no longer focuses merely on the bond with the parents, but instead is able to create a new life with a partner that is more focused on the child creating adult roles for themselves that were previously held by the parents.

The Oedipal Victory takes place when one no longer feels obligated to please the parents in these areas of maturation, even if one senses that the parents have an interest, which is probably unconscious, in keeping one there.

There is a dysfunctional tendency in some, especially when they do not have children to actively care for, to not mature past the casual dating level that one learns in late teens and early 20's. There is a lack of seriousness in a person who does not see younger people as people they must in some way be responsible for, or set a good example for, instead of seeing them as sex objects. The pornography industry is of course geared towards people having that kind of predatory attitude, as is other forms of media which advertise products and attempt to get a large audience based on focusing on superficial aspects of youth.


Questions to Work Through:

These are only to be thought about therapeutically and not an excuse to be unloving in understanding one's parents.

Theme: How do you feel your parents were not a success in life?

1) Did they have a communal, fraternal, political, artistic, or philanthropic relationship with society? Give some examples of these things, or lack of them.

2) Could they appreciate the artistic lifestyle that was necessary by the great
artists to produce their art? Give some examples of these things, or lack of them.

3) Did they become bitter, miserly, hedonistic, or make racial or sexist remarks?

4) Did not allow self-autonomy of others, ie could not bring up into world his children as well-instructed and disciplined independent people.

5) Could they appreciate social or philanthropic attempts at "heroism" in their children?
What about in society in general?

Older Writings

We are in the same place today with regards to singles as we were in the 1930s when AA started with alcoholism. The church and psychology are often unable to teach those who are chronically single how to develop the ability to become intimate long term with another person. It will only take those who understand this condition, by having it themselves, and working together to overcome the character defects which bind them to certain kinds of isolation. This is because there needs to be first hand knowledge of what exactly is going on inside the heart and mind of the chronically single. Are there events from the past that they carry and do not share, hence by not sharing, not knowing how their partners would accept the core of them? Is there an inability to face their own averageness and the conditions of being a human being, set in place by standards of perfectionism? Are there forces in culture which take away from their ability to form lasting partnerships, and which they are not able to recognize by their own power and insight?

The intention of this group is to bring 12 Step recovery to people who have problems forming lasting romantic relationships. The other 12 Step groups related to sexuality focus on sexual addiction, but someone may be single and not act-out sexually, hence these other groups do not focus on bringing recovery to this segment of society. Singles Anonymous would focus on educating members about why it is difficult for some in modern times to establish committed romantic relationships. We would do this by developing literature and forming a fellowship that would abide by the 12 Traditions. This group has been in the formation stage for three years. The following may help one understand why such a group is needed.

The focus of many with 12 Step recovery is on forming boundaries. We believe that once developed, a trait can become difficult to control, hence many may not understand how creating boundaries may become habitual and even not a desired trait in some situations.

Being in a committed relationship with an adult has proven to be a successful and proven way to make life a rewarding, capable, enriching experience. This is not just a concept or an idea to consider, but it has been a proven historically-verifiable fact. By easily breaking up with our romantic partners, many of us are in effect saying that they are not willing and ready to take part in the bond that helps them have a fulfilled life.

The idea of having a "family consciousness" with our partner is a greater perspective than whether we think our partner treats us right all the time, or if they act the way we want them to. With a family consciousness regarding our partner, we get to debate/discuss with them, but with the attitude that the partnership is "till death do us part," like the way our parents or siblings are linked to us through life.

There are currently one-hundred million singles in the United States, with similar statistics in many other nations.

Inventory

Those we harmed romantically, being picky about how people look when it becomes a non-spiritual judgmentalism.

Specific ideas about women not wanting a man in their life. Women not enjoying sex like men do.

We need to take a wider scope view of what the opposite sex experiences. A woman sees a man as larger than them, stronger, and there is attraction in this. On some level a woman is putting up a test to see what man can get through some basic defenses, because it's the nature of a man's sex drive to be more active. So, instead of being open and inviting on many levels, she in some way plays hard to get. A balanced man, and one who is an appropriate partner for her, knows this is not directed at him personally, because of who he is, what he looks like.

A man because of his physical differences is already on some basic level attractive to a woman. An insecure man not see this. He may feel like he has to develop some qualities that will make him attractive, whereas his Creator has already given him the physical differences which make him different from a woman. There are also personality and psychological differences between a man and a woman which make men desirable. These are naturally built into us. Science says men and women even have certain differences in their brains.

When men and women are insecure, they tend to focus on tiny facets of themselves that they believe need changing instead of seeing the overall, wider scope which make them acceptable and attractive to the opposite sex.

It's easy for some to have a romantic fantasy based on seeing an attractive stranger, but how easy is it for the same person to have a romantic fantasy based on a long term committed relationship with someone who deeply accepts them?

Singles Anonymous should provide the instruction that some parents were unable to bring into the raising of their children. Such parents were unable to see their children as needing to bond successfully with the opposite sex. In some households, the parents did not talk to their children about bonding with a partner. This in fact is the basis of what in psychology are called Oedipal- type struggles. Psychologists say it is not always consciously manifested that the children are in rivalry with their same sex parents, but at an unconscious level. Security is one of our chief instinctive drives, and so at "psychodynamic" level, perhaps parents do not instruct children to be interested in romance, sexuality via long term bonding because there is some unconscious insecurity on the part of the parents.

This takes a view of God that allows one to become married or in a committed relationship. It's the history of spiritual groups to have a type of "single class." One has to believe that God will give one the freedom to be married. One has to believe that God is not surpressing one's opportunities to find the right person.

One may not have good courtship skills. One has to believe that God will show one what is acceptable and attractive to the opposite sex. One has to learn how to accept risk into their lives to meet the right people. One has to believe that God will show one has to recover from those experiences that might be negative.

One may be isolated because one is not good at prospecting for dates. One may think that one must be presented with the absolute sure mate instantly, and not have to search. One may not be willing to expose one's heart to any damage.

One may think that one is exposing one's heart over and over again in the dating process and realize that one "needs a thick skin" and not be susceptible to negative thoughts that one is "being rejected" when in fact it is the higher power of "society" or what is right that is showing one the right mate.

If we look at something concrete, such as how we are older and should focus on people our own age....or the fact that as males we are not active in searching for someone but instead may have a probably wrong idea that women are just as likely to approach us.

We may have to realize that there are many men who are all seeking essentially the same type of women as we, and that we have to act somewhat competitively. This active role may be counter to how the spiritual usually think. Didn't people with long lasting marriages just happen upon each other? Maybe that was the way it was fifty years ago, but may not be the way it is today.

This may mean that we keep trying and not give up hope. Even if a character defect seems present, that we don't feel like looking for people, that we may have had a rejection, that we keep having our character defects removed.

Among singles who focus much of their lives on spirituality, the problem of their singleness may lay in believing they are being "controlled" by God to have to live a single life. And because this is the case, there really is no easy way out of it because one may experience what they believe is God's guidance towards singleness. This may however become the essence of grandiosity. In the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions book of Alcoholics Anonymous there is much said in the 11th Step chapter about the danger of being mislead by what we think is God's guidance.

If some of us have been with many people sexually, even well-intentionally, has this "ruined" us in some psychological way, even in some brain science way that has yet to be discovered, physiologically? How do we reconcile the fact that we have engaged in close physical encounters with people who we may have even hoped to have loved forever? Has the mating behavior become in some way only seductive, in some unconscious way, perhaps not for the right reasons of attracting to us a lifelong partner?

If there is nothing that holds us back in a spiritual way from a lasting romantic commitment, then we can rethink our spiritual interaction from a self-serving one or one that focuses on abstract goals to one based on building up another human being with our committed dedication. This phrase "spiritual interaction" at first may not seem specific enough. Spiritual interaction with whom? In a way it is with God, through prayer and working the 12 Steps. It also then is better suited to be spiritual interaction with others.

It is interesting to note that some of the areas of the recovery movement may have created part of the condition of singleness in some. Once a force is created in a person it is often hard to turn it off. If we are so focused on creating boundaries with others, it may be hard to turn off this boundary-making process and once again create intimacy. If we are so focused on sharing our deepest authenticity, it may be difficult to create the responsible type of social interacting with others that is required as an adult. Not all interactions with others require sharing intimate feelings or facts about ourselves. So, in reality, the fact that some of us have been in recovery for many years may not be preparing us to exit the life of romantic isolation and enter the life of committed bonding with a partner.

If we value what is high in life, we will have high self-esteem. If we value what is low in life, we will have low self-esteem. Valuing youthful beauty may give us a good admiration for the gift of youth that the Creator gives to all young people. However, when it is focused on in older people it only becomes a source of self-delusion.

Overcoming the difficulty of imagining true love starts by remembering all the times we felt true love

Overcoming singleness involves finding a true love. Regardless of what some might say, true love does exist and is provable by the fact that many millions of committed singles feel they have had its blessing in their lives for decades.

There are various levels of personality integration that may be needed for compulsive singles. The lowest level of this is what manifests in various forms of what is usually called "adultery." There is sexual adultery and then various forms of emotional adultery. Emotional adultery is any form of making a partner jealous or insecure around one, such as comparing others to one partner or not being careful about one's friendships with the opposite sex.

Traits involved in Compulsive Singleness

1) Not caring about what the opposite sex cares about (physical, social, intellectual)
2) Not trying to get what one wants, and in the right order one always gets it
3) Not understanding that one almost always can't find a "better mate" than the one that one has
4) Making generalized and negative statements about the opposite sex
5) Not realizing the opposite sex is attracted to the overall picture, not repelled by small traits you might be fearful about
6) Focusing on what other members of the opposite sex have done to other members of your sex.
7) Not willing to allow the other person to be dependent on us, or allowing ourselves to be dependent on them.
8) Not believing one can be casual around one's partner, even around the initial stages of the dating process.

We are ourselves: Why have we not been able to take care of ourselves enough to form a long term relationship with someone with which we can be intimate longterm? Taking care of oneself enough means that one can protect the long term relationship that can bring so much fulfillment to one's life. Understanding fully this fulfillment against the culture of divorce is vital.

1) Not caring about what the opposite sex cares about (physical, social, intellectual)

Some of us may have gotten out of shape physically. Sometimes, we find that women are attracted to certain masculine traits, and if we are a man, may have not given much attention to developing these qualities in ourselves.

2) Not trying to get what one romantically, and in the right order one always gets it

This can sometimes be called "anorexia" because it mimics what a food anorexic experiences.

3) Not understanding that one almost always cannot find a "better mate" than the one that one has.

Modern culture makes us feel that there is an endless possibility of finding a partner that seems custom made. Online dating sites give one the illusion of choice, whereas in reality many of the same people are rejecting others based on trying to find what they believe are perfectly matched traits. Some believe that by having many to choose from, the exactly right one will eventually come along. We can cross continents easily online and imagine that someone out there will be more appropriate that the one that most likely our Higher Power has put in our lives. We have to see a divine providence in who we have already bonded with. The fact that they are in our physical locations, and that we did meet them and initiated a relationship should not be taken lightly. We begin to see God's work where before we took this for granted.

4) Making generalized and negative statements about the opposite sex

It is common practice for the chronically single to insult the opposite sex, or perhaps in some way even those who stay married. We learn to no longer do this. There is a spiritual slogan that says "resist not evil with evil but resist evil with good." This means that what we do not give our attention to endless criticism of something we may see as bad. If we do only put our attention on the bad, that focus eventually becomes all we can see in a situation. We choose not to focus on problematic members of the opposite sex and only focus on the positive.

5) Not realizing the opposite sex is attracted to the overall picture, not repelled by small traits you might be fearful about

6) Focusing on what other members of the opposite sex have done to other members of your sex. Focus on yourself and the person you are pursuing or are already in a relationship.

7) Not willing to allow the other person to be dependent on us, or allowing ourselves to be dependent on them.

8) Not believing one can be casual around one's partner, even around the initial stages of the dating process. There may be fear of intimacy and being "found out."

If we cannot be casual and at ease with our partners in the beginning of the courtship process, how can we expect to be casual when we are living in closer quarters? There is the obsessive tendency towards perfectionism which hinders some from bonding. These people need to realize that all people are built on the same principles. It is often our averageness with others that bonds us closer with them, not needing to be a star or have one-upmanship.

Some of us may not want to commit to another because of fear of what is in our past. However, for the most of us, nothing that we have done is any different than what most others have done, and if it is, it usually compliments the unusual things that our partner has done. Many people feel weak and unlovable at times and because of this are accepting of others and their faults. Eventually, we must try to tell our whole stories to partners in a way that has gelled with us over time to be a non-shameful way of understanding ourselves and others. There is a saying, "one is only as sick as one's secrets" and this is based on a sound spiritual foundation, that being we are all a part of the human family and our "sins" are forgiven by God and are forgivable by others. If others hold back from us, that becomes their problem and not ours, nor how our Creator sees us.

Singles Anonymous may be helpful for those who are married or in a relationship but who have a history of having self-serving and self-deluded problems in a relationship. Some of these tarts may include: posturing to get a type of self esteem in which one's feeling of self comes from the experience of others when seeing one. This may not have been a problem when single but is not a healthy behavior when married. It could be seen as a type of emotional adultery, or flirtation.

We can see that as we live to please our partner, we can become healthier people. We can exercise more, eat better, groom ourselves better, and life opens up to us in better ways. This can be part of the focus of our spiritual life, to pray to our higher power for more help in exercising, eating better and so on.

Positive Masculine and Feminine Attributes.

Of course, men and women may share various attributes and they can be virtues in either sex that they are manifested. Here are some traditional ones that help us be attractive and helpful to our partners and others.

10 Masculine Expression/States/Qualities/Looks

1 Concern for righteousness, partner with God, righteous judge.
2 Confidence to do things others cannot do physically.
3 Friendly imposing trusting look puts another guy on the spot with level of confidence in him, this is better than other traits of fear or over-competitiveness.
4 Potent, generative, "sexual" but not seedy or creepy.
5 Weapon builder, rocket scientist.
6 Handyman, householder
7 Respect for all aspects of the human condition. Medical doctor, even an undertaker.
8 Respect for women, children, other couples, family members.
9 Debonair, handsome, well groomed, well dressed.
10 Stoic under temptation by lewd woman

10 Feminine Expression/States/Qualities/Looks

1 At one with the child, even infant
2 Building up the male energy, benefits of having a potent mate
3 Stoic hard worker, high work ethic, -- even can be seen in the corporate world
4 Home beautifier, quality cook, tender of gardens and flowers.
5 Lover/cuddler/affectionate/physical touch healer
6 Holder out for the excellent, giver of times of the "silent treatment." Mysterious builder of man
7 Playful with mate, playful with children.
8 The beautiful, concerned with her own physical beauty
9 Romantic engineer, focusing on aspects like candlelite dinners, and so on.
10 Wise woman, healer, herbalist, midwife.

We have just received permission from AA World Services to be an official 12 Step Meeting using an Adaptation of the 12 Steps of AA.

Quote:

Thank you for your request to adapt the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous for use in a new fellowship known as Singles Anonymous ("SA") whose purpose is "to focus on educating its members about why it is difficult for some in modern times to establish committed romantic relationships."

A.A. does not object to your adaptation of its Steps provided that the following guidelines are observed. First, we ask that you reprint the Twelve Steps in their original form after your adapted version. Secondly, we ask that you use the use following attribution/disclaimer:

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have been reprinted and adapted with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. ("AAWS"). Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that Alcoholics Anonymous is affiliated with this program. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism only - use of A.A.’s Steps or an adapted version in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after A.A., but which address other problems, or use in any other non-A.A. context, does not imply otherwise.

If, at some point you elect to translate the Steps into a particular language, we would ask that you notify us of your intent, in writing, and that you use the existing A.A. translation of the Steps in that language as a guide in creating your own translation.

For your convenience we have attached a formatted copy of A.A.’s Steps for your adaptation.

If you are in agreement with the above, please respond at your earliest convenience by replying to this email. Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.

In Fellowship,

Intellectual Property Administrator

A.A. World Services, Inc.

End Quote

Here is our present charter and use of the 12 Steps

The intention of this group is to bring 12 Step recovery to people who have problems forming lasting romantic relationships. The other 12 Step groups related to sexuality focus on sexual addiction, but someone may be single and not act-out sexually, hence these other groups do not focus on bringing recovery to this segment of society. Singles Anonymous would focus on educating members about why it is difficult for some in modern times to establish committed romantic relationships. We would do this by developing literature and forming a fellowship that would abide by the 12 Traditions. This group has been in the formation stage for three years. The following may help one understand why such a group is needed. The focus of many with 12 Step recovery is on forming boundaries. We believe that once developed, a trait can become difficult to control, hence many may not understand how creating boundaries may become habitual and even not a desired trait in some situations.

For some, the goal of Singles Anonymous may not to be in forming a lasting romantic relationship, but to merely correct the ill-founding attitudes to prevalent in modern society. By working through them, we find our innocence and romantic purity, and restore a vital part of our self-image.

 

Our Adaptation of the 12 Steps

Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our inability to form lasting intimate relationships - that our romantic lives had become unmanageable
Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who were compulsively single, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

These are the original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
   2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
   3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
   4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
   5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
   6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
   7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
   8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
   9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The History of Singles Anonymous

Singles Anonymous was founded by a person who started his 12 Step journey back in 1989. He was present at the current peak of the popularity of recovery movement and, starting around the year 2000, saw a real dip in attendance in the smaller groups. Many smaller groups stopped having face to face meetings -- some that once had over 40 face to face meetings now rely mainly on phone meetings.

The founder believes, contrary to popular belief, that not all 12 Step programs are based on the same principles of the dynamics of recovery and what one is recovering from. A substance abuse, or dangerous process addiction program, is about something we can never do. If we merely avoid the problem, we have recovery. A few other 12 Step programs developed that are about developing new skills. Sponsorship relationships developed in these programs, and the founder of Singles Anonymous was concerned about what he saw in some of these relationships, but moreso about the group dynamic. Perhaps such concerns were unwarrented in all these cases. But there quickly seemed to develop a hierarchy in the group, which was:

1 People that were sponsors, of which there were very few.
2 People that were lucky enough to be sponsored by them.
3 People that either did not want a sponsor, or were unable to get one.

It seemed that the people that fell into the number three group were sometimes not treated with as much respect as the others. There were so few sponsors to go around, and some of them developed poor reputations by being fired by their sponsees. It did not always seem like a very healthy environment for spirituality. The founder of Singles Anonymous did not want a similar situation to emerge in SGA. The sponsors in those programs that are based on developing a trait instead of avoiding one demanded very much of their sponsees, which was not usually the case in the original AA program, and the first several programs that developed after AA. In AA, a sponsor often is more like a friend, than a guru. They will lead you through the steps, but it's as a peer. There have arisen a class of sponsors in AA that have a very rigorous approach to doing the 12 Steps, but in real life, some people who do the 12 Steps with great zeal do go back out and use their drug of choice again, some people who have not done the 12 Steps stay sober for double digit years and stay going to meetings. There is a slogan in AA that "Meeting Makers Make It," and this implies that the most important thing is to keep going to meetings, not have the best sponsor in the room, go to a highly advertised 12 Step workshop or retreat, and so on. Going to meetings in itself is a small form of service, and service is widely recognized as something that keeps one in recovery.

The possibility of the same kind of group dynamic occurring in SGA so far has made the founder balk on actually creating a format and starting a group. He has talked to many people about the program, and discussed the 12 Steps of SGA with them. He advertises the SGA website in various places so people know about it. Like the way a few newer 12 Step programs started out, anyone may work the 12 Steps on this inventory of compulsive singleness. They can be done with a spiritual sponsor who has worked the 12 Steps in a program. There is spiritual recovery from studying the literature here.