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paranoia? different worlds? naivete? - Terrafactive Armageddon

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March 2nd, 2008

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03:06 pm - paranoia? different worlds? naivete?
Chatting with my sponsor on the way home from our regular Sunday morning meeting today, we were talking about the writing retreat I'm going to next weekend. She asked how I was getting there, and then became worried that I was riding with someone I knew from online, but didn't know well in RL or meatspace or whatever we are calling it this week. I think her issue is that this person is male, rather than not being someone she knows. While I appreciate her concern, I found myself at an utter loss to explain why I was totally untroubled about the idea.

It seems to come down to my feeling that he's part of my community (SF, writing, books - I may be wrong about the first one but not the second two) and so garners a certain amount of automatic trust. She (my sponsor) doesn't have any overlap with that set of communities, so it's really hard to explain that trust to her.

She also seems to be a wee bit sexist, she'd rather I get rides (to & from meetings, say) and so forth from women. But she also thinks the women's only meetings are weird. *shakes head* Early recovery or no, I'm not going to stop interacting casually/normally with other humans simply because of what they happened to draw from the genetic lottery. [I'm not going to go into it any further than that or I'll be here for a Very Long Time trying to delineate and explain my somewhat amorphous philosophy of appropriate human interaction. Some other time, when I've got a free decade or so.]

It clearly disturbs me enough to make me write about it, trying to sort out my thoughts. Is she paranoid; am I naive? Or do we just not have enough similar community overlap for me to effectively explain myself. I'm banking on the latter.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 3rd, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)

some people can be really, really dumb about giving personal information to people they barely know but have met online. In particular, some women can get themselves into dangerous/unhealthy situations. And other people can be quite sensible about it, and form great relationships & friendships that way. So I think it is probably a matter of what she has seen others experience, if she's known people who have been dumb and risky about it...

As an example, back when I read a certain usenet quilting newsgroup, one of the women who posted regularly had married a man who she had met twice, because they had met online and had known each other online for a whole whopping month. He was abusive, and I'm sure that he was specifically looking for a vulnerable woman (she had experienced abuse in the past, which no doubt is part of why her judgment was so poor).

If your sponser knows one or two horror stories like that, I can see where she'd be twitchy and weird about it. But plenty of positive, healthy RL friendships have come from online friends, and so have positive, healthy romances.

So my opinion (not that you asked, but here it is anyway :) ) is trust your own judgment and have fun!
[User Picture]
Date:March 3rd, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
I appreciate it even if I didn't ask. This particular guy comes with the added bonus of working for the UW bookstore events staff, too. He comes well recommended by people I *do* know in RL as well. I'm just not used to anyone other than my mom freaking out about me doing this sort of thing, mostly I think. It's a carpool, not a weekend in Paris. :)

I'm sure you are right about the horror stories as well, in AA you get the chance to watch lots of people (myself included) make mistakes in early recovery. And late recovery. But I tend to make different mistakes than leaping into marriage, thankfully. *grin* *knock on wood*
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:March 3rd, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
That Tiptree story is brilliant, and yes. This makes me realize another facet of my unease about the issue probably has to do that in some fairly significant ways I feel like I know my sponsor less well than I do my workshop ride.

It feels like someone I know because, say, we ride the same bus to work these days is warning me to beware of a friend I know from way-back in college.

I hadn't teased that cognitive dissonance out yet. I think that is what was nagging at me the most.
[User Picture]
Date:March 3rd, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I wonder if some of her perspective comes from experiences within recovery itself, also. It is not unheard-of for men to take advantage of women in the emotionally vulnerable condition that the recovery process can have. A lack of familiarity with the kind of trust that can be established in online communities (and that is the key factor, I think -- not online acquaintanceship but shared online community) might make it hard for her to see past that.
[User Picture]
Date:March 3rd, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
I think you have refined it really well there. When you cast it in those terms I can easily see her concern coming from seeing or dealing with people taking advantage of that sort of recovery-related vulnerability.

I'm not sure how to reassure her, other than make it there and back again unharmed. We will be out of cell range at Lake Quinalt, as I understand it. But they have a land line and I'll give her (and post) the emergency contact info before I go.
[User Picture]
Date:March 3rd, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
This strikes me as a privacy issue: Either she trusts you to look after yourself, or she doesn't. If she doesn't, then there's not much constructive to say about it.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
True; but part of the onus of being a sponsor is to keep someone newly in recovery (whose judgment may be somewhat impaired still) from doing things or hanging out with people that could lead to relapse.

That's why I opt for the 'we're living on different planets' explanation.

I've been fairly successful in the past at integrating my various disparate lives as they have collided or overlapped or however it's best put - but this time I'm not so sure it's going to work. (I know which community I'll end up choosing if I'm pushed to choose one over the other, and the answer is not one to make my sponsor happy.)
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
(light slowly coming on over my head)

So this is now starting to sound familiar, like the stories I hear from people with alternative sexualities when they try to get counseling. The councilor will, as often as not, get terribly distracted by the fact that their client is gay, or into BDSM, or polyamorous, and eventually, all the problems the client talks about have their root in these unwholesome choices.

So after wasting a lot of time and money on that therapist, the client then goes on line to ask of any kink/poly/bdsm/whatever/- friendly therapists.

If this sponsor is so distracted by your choice of associates, you might try pinging the fannish community for possible sponsors- I'll bet you're far from the only such person in your area.

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