Having a tough time with my sponsor *update, fired sponsor*

Most of us who recovered with AA's program did so with the help of a "sponsor". But what is sponsorship? How do I get one? Who can be a sponsor? What makes a good sponsor?

Having a tough time with my sponsor *update, fired sponsor*

Postby LearningMama » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:06 am

Hello all,
I have been sober and in AA for 377 days. I’ve had my sponsor for about 9-10 months I think. I am serving in my 2 main meetings. I call her every day and at the very least read an AA devotional daily. We’ve been working slowly through the steps (which is fine with me) and I am going back to do 4 again specifically for my dad and big resentment there.

My issue/question for you all is with my sponsor’s constant advice on every aspect of my life. When I call I tell her about my plans for the day and she talks about hers, and she advises me on absolutely everything. I say the kids were really loud today- she tells me I should send them out into the neighborhood to make money doing something for neighbors (my oldest is 12). I say I don’t get to the library as often as I would like because of the parking- she insists I need to make it happen and find some alternate route or a farther parking lot we can walk from.

So none of that is a big deal, just slightly annoying almost every single day. But recently she’s insisting I need to leave the kids with her or someone and go do something by myself. It has come up before like I need to get groceries tomorrow and she says you can leave them here and go alone. I homeschool so the only time I’m away from them is when I can leave them home with my husband for 2 of my meetings. But I’m fine with this and don’t like leaving them with other people. She said it hurts her feelings I won’t leave them with her. And today she said she thinks me not wanting to let others watch my kids is connected to my resentment with my dad.

So I don’t know what to do here. I’ve been writing about it and praying about it and I don’t know what kind of conversation I need to have with her. I just don’t like leaving my kids with other people and my husband agrees. If I’m shopping they help me and they learn how to do that as well as keep appointments or whatever we do, normal life.

On top of just not wanting to do it, I actually wouldn’t feel safe leaving them with her specifically because she absolutely has to nap in the middle of the day (she has MS) to the point that if I catch her on the phone while she is about to lie down or is just waking up, she is talking complete jibberish and I tell her I’ll call back later. And later she doesn’t remember that I had called. She can be very forgetful even when we are having lucid conversations. I am not planning to say any of this paragraph to her.

I don’t even know what I’m looking for here. And thank you if you’ve read this whole thing. What do I say? How do I make this boundary clear? What, if anything, am I not seeing about a connection between the dad-resentment and not wanting my kids in other people’s care? And if it’s connected then why am I being pushed to do this thing I don’t want to do before delving back into my 4th step again?
Last edited by LearningMama on Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
July 3, 2017
LearningMama
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:46 am

The responsibility of a sponsor is to help you understand the whole program and help you work the 12 steps so you can get connected to your higher power so you can be led by your higher power. I would look into other options. Look around and see if you find other sober women who can help you progress.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
User avatar
avaneesh912
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 4865
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby positrac » Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:15 am

Sponsors are the back bone of the understanding and helper for steps and talking through what got us into AA and our move to another life sober. Now if I were to keep it strictly on AA and nothing else I guess that could work. But I am human and the friendship or bond is sometime part of a lot more growth.

I do believe that if you are having issues with your sponsor as regards to what you wrote then look for another sponsor and make sure they have a sponsor as if they do then they should be sound mind and about the program. Look it needs to be understood about the possibilities of getting a new sponsor. Hopefully they don't get a resentment and feel rejected....?

Maybe you should talk with her and let her know what is on your mind first and get a read on the future.

Well done on your sobriety and keep coming back.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.
User avatar
positrac
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 1258
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby Brock » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:41 pm

What do I say? How do I make this boundary clear? What, if anything, am I not seeing about a connection between the dad-resentment and not wanting my kids in other people’s care? And if it’s connected then why am I being pushed to do this thing I don’t want to do before delving back into my 4th step again?

Congrats on your sobriety so far, but I am afraid it looks like you have a control freak for a sponsor. We do get questions about sponsors fairly often, it’s easier to ask here, because we can’t even safely ask others at our meetings, since they might tell the person.

To me the short answer would be to thank her for her help, and say you are looking for someone else, but then she would want to know why, and being a nice person you would have to tell her. So maybe tell her upfront, I want to keep you as a sponsor, but it’s none of your business if I go to the library, have time for myself, etc etc, and I am certainly not leaving my kids in the care of anyone but my husband or family, that’s the way I am. She can then take it or leave it, hopefully without any hard feelings. Also, if I were you I would cut down on telling her your plans for the day, even speaking to each other every day, is usually just something some sponsors do for a short while, so you could cut back on that as well.

There is a pamphlet on sponsorship, sort of do’s and dont’s, but it doesn't mention things like this, just generalizations, like don’t lend money or play doctor and such. But in truth it might take a psychiatrist long hours with you, to come to the conclusion that not leaving your kids somewhere, is in anyway connected to any resentment, so she is way overstepping her bounds there as well. I believe that leaflet should say in big bold type, use your common sense while sponsoring, and if you don’t have any don’t attempt to sponsor anyone. The control she wants over others lives makes no sense, it’s not good for you and not good for her.

I know you didn’t directly ask for advise, RE: the 4th step repeat to get rid of the big resentment concerning your Dad. But I want to say that in reading both the 4th and the 5th, I can’t see that it is absolutely necessary or even expected, to have all resentments disappear. We grow emotionally and spiritually while living in the solution of 10, 11 & 12, and can later on find the ‘tools’ to get rid of resentments that stick. In certain cases, there may be things we simply can’t say with any conviction, that we had some blame in what happened. Like a member of my family who convinced my mother, at a time she was mentally incapable of such decisions, to change her will in their favor, this is a resentment I still hold against that person. But I have grown to where I don’t really act on the resentment, hardly crosses my mind, it’s just going away slower than some ‘smaller’ ones, which disappeared after the 5th step.

Best of luck in finding a smooth way to correct things with your sponsor, maybe you will let us know how it goes.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3492
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby tomsteve » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:34 pm

its ok to set boundaries with a sponsor
tomsteve
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby LearningMama » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Brock wrote:
I know you didn’t directly ask for advise, RE: the 4th step repeat to get rid of the big resentment concerning your Dad. But I want to say that in reading both the 4th and the 5th, I can’t see that it is absolutely necessary or even expected, to have all resentments disappear. We grow emotionally and spiritually while living in the solution of 10, 11 & 12, and can later on find the ‘tools’ to get rid of resentments that stick. In certain cases, there may be things we simply can’t say with any conviction, that we had some blame in what happened. Like a member of my family who convinced my mother, at a time she was mentally incapable of such decisions, to change her will in their favor, this is a resentment I still hold against that person. But I have grown to where I don’t really act on the resentment, hardly crosses my mind, it’s just going away slower than some ‘smaller’ ones, which disappeared after the 5th step.

Best of luck in finding a smooth way to correct things with your sponsor, maybe you will let us know how it goes.



Thank you all so much for your responses. Especially this part, which is very much how I was feeling. A little while ago she asked a hypothetical (what would you do if you had to help your dad find a care facility for your mom) and it really triggered me and I told her “no, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be involved with him right now. I’m not saying never but right now it just makes me feel panicked.” Felt like fight or flight just to think about it. My response was so strong, according to her, that she felt attacked. And I felt like “how am I supposed to be magically over this already?” It wasn’t some deep secret, I’ve talked with a few other people about the details of the emotional abuse and why I decided to cut off contact. Just the act of telling my sponsor didn’t make it go away and didn’t make me feel like my dad is a safe person or that I’m equipped to try to have a relationship with my parents right now. And that is why she’s wanting me to go back to step 4.

I do agree that she’s very controlling. I initially chose her because she’s very involved and consistently comes to meetings. At the time I wasn’t going to the women’s meeting so she was the only option I saw at that time. But she doesn’t have a sponsor herself, which I didn’t know until a few months ago.

She will absolutely take it personally if I tell her thank you for your help and I’m looking for someone else now. But she will probably also take offense if I have a conversation about a boundary with the unsolicited advice and trying to guide my life (rather than directing me to God for guidance).

This is really hard. Thank you all for taking the time to help me think through this. I certainly don’t want to be feeling like I know better than my sponsor but I know she’s human, and I’ve been feeling for a while that when I hear podcasts about sponsorship she is overstepping in some ways and also not pushing me to do step work.
July 3, 2017
LearningMama
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby PaigeB » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:28 am

It is ok to look around your community for a new sponsor. When I changed sponsors (because we weren't getting into the Steps) I asked the new sponsor how to talk to the old sponsor.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
User avatar
PaigeB
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 7637
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby tomsteve » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:46 am

LearningMama wrote:
She will absolutely take it personally if I tell her thank you for your help and I’m looking for someone else now. But she will probably also take offense if I have a conversation about a boundary with the unsolicited advice and trying to guide my life (rather than directing me to God for guidance).


and that will all be her problem- not yours.
a favorite phrase of mine:
not my circus
not my monkey.
tomsteve
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby LearningMama » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:06 am

tomsteve wrote:and that will all be her problem- not yours.
a favorite phrase of mine:
not my circus
not my monkey.


Yes, thank you for the reminder.
July 3, 2017
LearningMama
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby Service » Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:03 pm

Take a closer look from A.A P31 pamphlet, maybe next time try A.A rather than being a want-a-be to or from someone else rather than yourself?
Many claim they are recovering but never recover! HERE IS WHY in an original A.A pamphlet


What Does A.A. NOT Do?
A.A. does not: Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics
to recover; solicit members; engage in or
sponsor research; keep attendance records or case
histories; join “councils” or social agencies,
(although A.A. members, groups and service offices
frequently cooperate with them); follow up or try to
control its members; make medical or psychological
diagnoses or prognoses; provide detox, rehabilitation
or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or
any medical or psychiatric treatment; offer religious
services or host/sponsor retreats; engage in education
about alcohol; provide housing, food, clothing,
jobs, money or any other welfare or social services;
provide domestic or vocational counseling; accept
any money for its services, or any contributions
from non-A.A. sources; provide letters of reference
to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social
agencies, employers, etc.
NOTE: An individual A.A. member may do some of these
things on a private, personal basis, but this is not a part
of his or her A.A. membership. Many professionals in the
field of alcoholism are also A.A. members. Their professional
work, however, is NOT a part of their A.A. membership.
A.A. as such does not profess competence to
perform professional services such as those listed above.
Service
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:33 pm

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby Service » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:01 pm

It is known in A.A that ones PAST is our greatest asset if you be Alcoholic -Many have recovered and can intuitively handle situations that use to baffle them - SELF SEEKING will slip away! Suddenly you will realize GOD is doing for US that WE cannot do for OUR selves - The A.A Promises does not happen for co-dependent creatures really impossible no longer an inside job. I can always tell when God is telling me something (not always listening) it's when it doesn't come out of a mouth and label I know!
Service
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:33 pm

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor

Postby LearningMama » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:22 pm

Just wanted to follow up here since you were all such a big help.
For a couple month I tried directing the conversation more toward the steps and away from personal conversation (which felt like I was trying to control things in a way). Some days it worked and other days it didn’t.

But I continued to remember that a sponsor is supposed to take me through the steps, not tell me how I should be feeding my family or that I should remodel my kitchen (and all the reasons why).

About 4 weeks ago she bought me a book, then left for a 3 week vacation so her husband was supposed to bring me the book at my Saturday meeting. He forgot. Three times. Then when she got back she forgot at our Friday meeting, then her husband forgot again on Saturday. So I called and asked if I could just come pick it up on Sunday on my way home. She said that was controlling and we’d talk about it in later steps. Also made a comment about me being her sponsor now.

A few days ago I shared with her that the strong, unsolicited advice was bothering me (this was very difficult for me to do) and she was upset, asked me if I wanted her to just shut up and not say anything. I didn’t respond. She then said that she often holds back things that she wants to say to me. Good grief, I can’t imagine because it seems like she says everything that comes into her head.

I also asked her about the controlling and “me being your sponsor” comment and she didn’t even remember saying those things, but told me she was very irritated at me for wanting to come get the book.

So we ended things. We were both upset (for me, mainly because confrontation is so hard for me). But immediately after I got off the phone I cried and felt huge relief.

I saw her the next day at my Friday meeting and gave her a hug and she hugged me back.

Onward to finding a new sponsor and making some better progress through the steps.

Thanks again for your words here.
July 3, 2017
LearningMama
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor *update, fired spons

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:16 am

Good job.
...a score card reading zero...
User avatar
Spirit Flower
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 1364
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:49 am
Location: Texas

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor *update, fired spons

Postby tomsteve » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:48 am

good on ya, learningmama!
something that came to my mind reading your update- something from the BB:
We alcoholics are sensitive people. It takes some of us a long time to outgrow that serious handicap.

im certain that as you work the steps and learn, you will outgrow fear of what others' think or hurting their feelings and be able to say what ya want to say without concern.

my sponsor helped me greatly with that. keep it in and keep eating me up or let it out even if it comes out sideways. as long as the motives good, best to get it out and if it does come out sideways, theres a solution for that.
tomsteve
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: Having a tough time with my sponsor *update, fired spons

Postby LearningMama » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:00 pm

Yes, I know that one of the lessons from this was for me to work on saying how I’m feeling much sooner.
July 3, 2017
LearningMama
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:26 pm


Return to Sponsorship

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests