Meetings and Home Group

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?
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shamrock
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Meetings and Home Group

Post by shamrock » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:27 pm

I am coming up on my one year, and I have been doing really well. I started a new job 3 months ago that is amazing and have been working on improving myself daily.
I do have chronic fatigue, so when I get home from work I am exhausted.
I get to one women's meeting on the weekend and I feel like that is okay for me, but my sponsor keeps telling me to go to at least one more meeting a week. When I see my sponsor on the weekend at the meeting, it just seems all she says to me is go to another meeting, but doesn't seem to take interest in the good things I have been doing in my life. Or ask me about how my week was.
I wouldn't mind going to another meeting but I am so tired when I get home from work.
Just want t see what others think?
My sponsor never calls me, and I was wondering if this is normal? I sometimes feel she is not that interested in being a sponsor.

becksdad
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Re: Meetings and Home Group

Post by becksdad » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:27 pm

Hi Shamrock, welcome to the forums! My name is Ed, and I'm an alcoholic. You know, especially early on, my sponsor never called me. He was always willing to talk with me, take my calls, and offer suggestions on next steps, but he never chased after me, checked up on me, or tried to inject himself into any area where he wasn't invited. I believe there are valuable principles involved here. I had to want recovery for myself, and I had to go after it. If I asked something of him, he was always willing to share his ES&H, offer suggestions, but really..... it didn't matter much to him if I followed his suggestions or not. I don't mean in a cold, uncaring way. I know he was and is happy that I am sober. We have developed quite a close relationship, where even I can call him on his own BS now!..LOL!! He is a good sponsor.

This relationship developed over time, with willingness to work together towards the common goal of recovery from alcoholism. Although my sponsor is today my friend, what I initially needed was for him to be a sponsor, not a friend. Although you didn't mention anything about doing the steps, you did mention that your sponsor has suggested you get to another meeting each week. That might be a good place for you to start developing a better sponsor-sponsee relationship. I fully believe that as long as a sponsor is willing to work with someone, the rest of the onus is on the sponsee.

I completely understand chronic fatigue. I would be more than happy to explain why I understand that in detail via PM, if you wish. It need not stop or delay your recovery.

Congratulations on an upcoming year sober! Stick around and explore the site here... there's lots of good venues here, and lots of folks sharing recovery. Hope to see and read more of you! Welcome!

Thanks,

Ed

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Duke
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Re: Meetings and Home Group

Post by Duke » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:35 pm

Good evening. Interesting topic for me in light of recent events. I do have a few experiences to share.

I’ve sponsored quite a few people over the years. Let me make one thing crystal clear before going further. Sponsors are not authorities, experts or bosses. We are simply folks whose programs have appealed to our sponsees in one way or another. All we can ever do is share our experience, strength and hope. We cannot deliver the program to anyone.

What Ed describes (thank you Ed) is pretty much my approach to sponsorship. The only difference is something I’ll describe shortly. But my reasons for generally asking my sponsees to initiate contact are two fold. First, my experience is that I have no problem having regular, meaningful contact with people who are actively working the steps. In fact, the difficulty is usually in finding enough time to respond to all their questions. If I find that we aren’t talking very often, I make sure they know I’m available, but I leave most of the initiation of contact up to them. If they seldom or never make contact, it usually becomes clear in fairly short order that they picked the wrong sponsor or are not really interested in working the program. The second reason is simply that I don’t feel it’s fair to my family and others who need my time to spend it chasing or meeting with someone who doesn’t really want or need my time.

When I first accept a sponsorship role, I ask that we meet once a week to stay in touch and talk about their progress in working the steps. That’s what I focus on in our conversations. If I find we’re spending most of our time talking about how their kids are doing in school, their ageing parents or the like, I tend to let the meetings die of their own accord. While I care very deeply, I don’t really have any interest in developing new social relationships. Once again, my life’s pretty full already, and if we’re not talking about subjects related to alcoholism or recovery, I’m not really interested. A sponsor may end up being a friend, but getting a sponsor is not the same as getting a new friend.

The reason your post was so interesting to me at this point in time is because I’ve just had a down and dirty conversation with a couple of sponsees recently about this very subject. With both, we established our schedule of meetings and their adherence was sporadic at best. Neither was very interested in talking about recovery and we spent most of our time engaged in typical social interaction. This has been going on for quite some time. Both are regular “slippers”, one every couple of weeks, and the other about every six months. Typically, after a slip, their interest in meeting will renew for awhile, only to wane again fairly quickly.

In our recent conversation, I reiterated that I am there for them whenever they have a need to gain some insight into recovery and working the steps. I told them both that their programs are up to them, but my experience is that if you want what we have, you have to spend time every day doing something related to recovery. It doesn’t have to be a meeting, but it needs to be focused reading, writing, or talking about recovery and working the steps. I told them that they need to decide if they really want this thing or not. If they do, they need to make it a way of life, not an occasional pit stop. I told them that I’d still be happy to talk with them whenever they felt the need, but asked that they respect my time enough to make it conversations or meetings specifically about recovery and working the program.

One admitted himself to a treatment program where he was assigned a “sponsor” for after he left, who tells him, in detail, what to do each day. He says this is what he needs and he has been sober again now for a few months. The other continues to attend one meeting every other week or so, and also continues to “slip” every few weeks for a day or two. I guess time will tell with both of them.

So, maybe when your sponsor asks you about your meetings, it’s her way of trying to determine if you’re making this a daily way of life. I don’t know. We all articulate our experience differently, but the folks I’ve known who have the kind of sobriety I’m interested in, have all made the program and its principles a daily practice, so they’re usually interested in whether a sponsee understands this commitment or not. If you’re doing other things on a daily basis to learn and work the program than going to meetings, it would probably be good if you shared that with her rather than just explaining why you can’t get to more meetings.

I don’t know if any of this helps or not. I wish you the best in your journey.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

shamrock
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Re: Meetings and Home Group

Post by shamrock » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:06 am

Thanks so much for your comments.
I think I have been confused with the role of a sponsor, because it was never clearly communicated to me from my sponsor. Your responses helped clarify.

I have been trying to get in touch with my sponsor for a week, to see how I should proceed with my step work, but I think she has gone on vacation.

I have been working the steps in my every day life. I am currently doing step 7 and think I am ready to move on to Step 8. Any suggestions how I can proceed?

MitchellK
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Re: Meetings and Home Group

Post by MitchellK » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:34 am

It was written - "I have been trying to get in touch with my sponsor for a week, to see how I should proceed with my step work, but I think she has gone on vacation. "

Sponsorship comes with obligations and responsibilities. If I had a sponsor who went on vacation and didn't let me know about it I would think they didn't take their obligation seriously and I would immediately get a different sponsor.

Unfortunately, many in AA today don't have a clue as to what sponsorship entails.

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PaigeB
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Re: Meetings and Home Group

Post by PaigeB » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:08 am

Hi shamrock! Glad you thought of us with your question - here is a pamphlet

http://aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?category=4&product=17

Also, I have approved your request to the Women's Forum Board. On the main index page there you will see more post on Sponsorship and Other things e-aa has to offer!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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