When a sponsor says Love you.

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?
Bet
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When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Bet »

I've encountered and issue that I'm not sure if overstepping boundaries or not. My spouse is a sponsee to a same sex lesbian. Her sponsor has 25 years and is very controlled overall. She is a good sponsor overall and that is very obvious. I noticed the other day that she replied to a text with Love you. And in kind, my wife did the same.

I have to say in my sober years I have not seen this. This is out of character for my wife, but is it? She is 7 months sober coming up and she really doesn't text too many "love yous". Let's be honest, I'm the only one that she has ever texted this to.

I'd like to attribute this to my own insecurity. Insecurities that have been brought on by lies through the years, however I have no reason to think this is anything other than what it is.

Thoughts are appreciated.

chefchip
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by chefchip »

Bet,

To begin with, welcome! As I was reading your post, all sorts of things went through my mind. Having never been brief in my life, I will just say I will try to be brief. Please don't fault me if I don't succeed, again!

First, let's get disclosures out of the way. I am a gay man. One of the things I often find odd about AA is this insistence that men sponsor men, women sponsor women, so that we supposedly avoid sexual tension, etc. But, as we all know, when the Big Book was written and AA traditions were put forth, homosexuality was taboo, even criminal. I have a male sponsor, per recommendations. He is a great man, isn't bothered my the fact I am a queer, even considers it a non-issue. There is no attraction on my part. But I can see where this "tradition" can cause misunderstandings. Heck, it is probably worthy of a new thread in the Sponsorship board.

Here's my take. AA, when worked as it should be, is intense -- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. It causes us to take stock of ourselves, including our feelings. And some of us really get in touch with those feelings. I have quit counting the straight men in AA who know I'm gay yet still hug me tightly and tell me they love me. At first it really floored me. Anymore, I don't even give it a second thought.

Does my partner/boyfriend/husband know? Yes. Did it cause him to pause and question? You bet. Are a few of those straight men guys he would otherwise be worried about? Naturally. But he knows me and, more importantly, he knows a little about what I have been through, about the changes that are happening inside me. He compares it to being in a war, the shared experience with which only another soldier can possibly empathize.

In my way of thinking if, as you say, you "have no reason to think this is anything other than what it is" then the case is closed. And remember. There is "I LOVE YOU" and there is "Love you." Motivations, the intentions behind the words, are everything.

Again, welcome.
Chip

PS -- In my defense, I went back and deleted 2 paragraphs before posting this! :lol: :roll:
The only constant in life is change.

Bet
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Bet »

Chip,

I can't thank you enough for your reply, however I would have loved to see the other 2 paragraphs! I think my issue is that it's new. She hasn't told me about the texts. I was just on her phone when it came in. Hard to miss. And since we are same sex, and her sponsor is also, that is where this is all new to me.

She did tell me that she loves her sponsor. She was very clear in how she said it to me, "Like I love Tom" who is one of her oldest friends. In theory that should have been enough.

While I have no reason to think it is what it is, I find myself guarded...and concerned a little. How would your partner have felt if your sponsor was gay? Where we live there is a true 50/50 that you'll get a gay sponsor/sponsee.

I think what is running through my head, and this is being brutally honest [it is an honest program] is that I have 3 older experiences with close friends in AA before I started. In 2 of the 3 cases they were married. One was a gay woman who ended up leaving her wife because she had an affair with another woman, who turned out to be her sponsor. The other was a man who's wife was not in AA who ended up cheating on him. The 3rd left her husband before going in AA.

So my personal experience is a little influenced. I guess part of me thinks that her sponsor may have overstepped some boundaries...but from what you are saying, it's intense, and this is normal.

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ann2
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by ann2 »

Oh my gosh. First thanks Chip. Second, I am NOT someone who says "Love you." Sigh!

AA members taught me to do just that.

It's a good thing they did, because then my kids came along and as soon as they started talking it was "I love you! I love you!" a million times a day.

So like I'm flabbergasted and have to answer love, love, love almost every other sentence :shock:

And it's good. And thank you AA.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

chefchip
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by chefchip »

Bet,

You're welcome. Thank you for clearing up a question I had from your first post. I figured you might be a woman, but on this board it is often anyone's guess! That gets rid of some of the awkwardness I would otherwise have about the correct gender pronouns to use! (Welcome to the 21st century!)
She hasn't told me about the texts.
My partner (in Kentucky we can't be married, yet...) is a normie -- no problems with alcohol. And, there were times he found this whole anonymous thing a little much. He would ask me questions to which I had to give rather vague responses. It took time. Things happen between myself and others in AA he will never know anything about. He understands that. But, in our relationship of nearly 20 years there are lots of things -- conversations, etc -- of which he knows nothing. Being together that long doesn't mean we are one person. It just means we have a shared experience, and a bond. Period.
In theory that should have been enough.
Sure it should. But, unless you have ascended to a higher plane of existence than the rest of us mere mortals, quite often it is not. Cut yourself some slack. In my mind, you did the right thing. You found somewhere you could talk about this instead of confronting her and accusing her of doing something that was entirely in your own mind. That is a big part of recovery -- doing things differently that we would have in the past.
How would your partner have felt if your sponsor was gay?
I think the bigger question will occur the first time I have a sponsee who is gay. :lol: Seriously, the more accurate answer to that question is one which should be left to a private message. It is not for general consumption on a public board. Please feel free to send me a PM if you wish on that subject. One thing I can say here is that a lot of guys are in and out of our place these days, guys he only knows by one name. And a lot of those guys could, if he wanted, cause him extreme jealousy. But he doesn't go there. Twenty years probably has something to do with that, I would imagine.
I think what is running through my head, and this is being brutally honest [it is an honest program] is that I have 3 older experiences with close friends in AA before I started.
Ah. The past always comes back to haunt us, doesn't it? What can I say except your wife is none of those people. And she should not have to bear the burden of their sins. And, if she has made proper amends, she should not even have to bear the burden of her own sins.

In the end it comes down to one elemental question. Is your wife's program working, helping her, keeping her sober? If so, this means you may have to accept things you are currently not so comfortable with -- like her having close non-sexual bonds with other women, her experiencing things you can never know about, even her developing beliefs that you don't agree with. I know my partner -- an unrepentant atheist -- is not all that comfortable with my newfound spiritual path. But since I don't throw it in his face, he tolerates it because he realizes it has given me the gift of sobriety.

Chip

PS - Ann... it is amazing how children totally upend our "comfortable" existences, isn't it? I have three, all grown. And four grandkids. Can't imagine how much I would have missed out on without them.
The only constant in life is change.

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Squawking Hawk
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Squawking Hawk »

I appreciate this thread. I myself have used the phrase "I love you" with some in the program. People I know from my f2f meetings as well as online. I do try to be aware of what I call boundaries, such as the relationship status of the person and the like. And I never mean anything inappropriate when I have told people "I love you." The importance of this thread to me is as a reminder to be careful and to take some of my "reserved nature" back and to not use the phrase "I love you" as it can be misunderstood and put people off. Or has the OP pointed out, cause problems with someone's spouse.

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Tosh
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Tosh »

Bet wrote: I'd like to attribute this to my own insecurity. Insecurities that have been brought on by lies through the years, however I have no reason to think this is anything other than what it is.

Thoughts are appreciated.
Can I ask why you were looking at your wife's phone? If the answer to this is innocent, why don't you just ask your wife?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Layne »

Bet wrote: She hasn't told me about the texts.
Does she tell you about every text that she gets?
Bet wrote:I think what is running through my head, and this is being brutally honest [it is an honest program] is that I have 3 older experiences with close friends in AA before I started. In 2 of the 3 cases they were married. One was a gay woman who ended up leaving her wife because she had an affair with another woman, who turned out to be her sponsor. The other was a man who's wife was not in AA who ended up cheating on him. The 3rd left her husband before going in AA.
This same thing happens in the medical profession. This same thing happens in graduate school. This same thing happens in Iceland. This is life.

I think and hope that you are over reacting. Whether you are or not doesn't change the bottom line truth of the situation. What you think, feel, and do right now at this present moment doesn't change the past one iota, it will have some impact on your future, but just some. There are lots of events and people providing input as to how our futures shape up, more will be revealed later, but for now we are best served by working with what we know right here right now. Know your truth and let it guide you.

Upon reflection, many things are not as first thought.

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Tosh
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Tosh »

chefchip wrote: One of the things I often find odd about AA is this insistence that men sponsor men, women sponsor women, so that we supposedly avoid sexual tension, etc.
Mrs Tosh has no problem with me sponsoring gay guys, but she'd have a turbo-problem if I sponsored a lady of any sexual orientation. "It's okay, she's a lesbian!" just wouldn't wash with her because she knows I'd find them attractive too. Ladies don't even have to be conventionally attractive for me to find them sexually appealing if I'm to be honest (I'm lucky like that). I value Mrs Tosh's support and hard-won trust, so it's a fair one.

I was asked once by a lady in tight-leggings, who admitted in her share that men were also an addiction, if I would sponsor her. She said she had a female sponsor but had little or no contact with her and that she had always been a Tomboy and related to men better. I really liked her tight-leggings, but I did the right thing (though that wasn't my first thought) and suggested she just stick with a female sponsor.

People like me are best only sponsoring guys; despite any good intention I may set out with; I'm old enough to know it may not always turn out that way.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by chefchip »

Tosh,

I am in agreement with your share. My only point was that, for many gay men I know, and lesbians, it is probably best for them not to be sponsoring people of their gender any more than it is good for straight men to sponsor women. And I know more than a few who refuse to sponsor anyone, period, because of that issue.

Your share made me laugh a lot. Much needed today when I'm not in the best of moods!

Thanks,
Chip
The only constant in life is change.

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Brock
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Brock »

Ann spoke about not being much into “I love you” before her kids came along and started it, I can really relate with that. When I was young, (I will be 65 tomorrow), things like that were assumed but seldom said, and I knew my folks loved me because they took good care of me. Now in the apartment block in which I live, I often here young parents shouting from the car park “I love you,” as part of their goodbye message to their kids. In the 70’s I started hearing that from kids myself, if they wanted something really badly, or received a really nice gift, or did something terrible, the words “I love you” were used.

It gives me no pleasure to admit that the same applied to gays, when I was young these things were not spoken of, and since I live in the West Indies, unfortunately for many people it still is considered unacceptable behavior. I think this sort of thinking can be found anywhere you have a fairly large percentage of less educated narrow minded people, including inner city slums.

In the original post Bet said the term used was “love you,” without the I, in my opinion this softens the whole saying, making it much less formal, and I have often overheard lady members of the various groups I attend use it, usually to other ladies but sometimes to men also, and of course I think this is as it should be.

God bless all who contribute.
Brock.
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by TonyWARMS »

Sounds like jealousy, and just a touch of insecurity (not to worry, it seems to be a common symptom amongst us alkies).
As Brock said, that is a common saying for many people that doesn't carry a sexual connotation with it.
You could simply go to the meeting with her, and see for yourself if anything seems out of place.
If your wife asks why you want to go, explain yourself, gently. It has all the potential for a messy situation if she takes it the wrong way.
A solid relationship can withstand the question. You could also try making a little joke of it, and see the reaction you get.
Again, only suggestions.

Peace, Tony
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(I don't know where I heard this)

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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Blue Moon »

If you are being the best partner you can be, then you probably need have no fear other than all this jealousy and insecurity are just working to undermine the relationship - and really have little to do with sponsor/sponsee at all. If your spouse is going to jump ship, she will. Why are you unable to communicate with your partner about such concerns? I've had both men and women express love in fellowship without (as far as I can tell) any romantic intentions at all.

I've sponsored gay and straight, and a f2m trans. I service-sponsor anyone.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

Bet
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by Bet »

I have now read all of these replies and I thank each and every one of you.

Tosh: As for the texts, I was using her phone when the text came in. We often use each other's phone. Nothing sinister.

This forum helped me tremendously because it caused me to stop and think before reacting. I needed that time. It's a huge help to stop and think. I don't want my past or her past to dictate my thoughts or push me into a direction that logically seems so ridiculous.

We have since talked. And while the words may have been my concern, I let her tell me how she was feeling...and in her glowing appreciation for her sponsor, it was crystal clear... I am flawed. It's very obvious. But I hope to be a better person by trying to understand how our relationship is changing through sobriety. It will change and while we can and will make missteps, I find reaching out to people to find out what other's opinions are, has been invaluable.

chefchip
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Re: When a sponsor says Love you.

Post by chefchip »

Bet,

Just an observation. I dare say that when I read your latest post, compared to your first post, the difference to me seems to be serenity. With a little courage and wisdom mixed in. Your last share seems so much more relaxed. Good for you! :D

Chip
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