Time for a new 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?
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Real_Army_Wife
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Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Real_Army_Wife » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:12 am

I just moved from the East Coast to the West Coast about 6 months ago. I have 18 months sober and have gone through the steps completely with a sponsor once. She was really great and made time to meet every week. I was looking for a sponsor here and thought I found one but ended up firing her because she lived out of my area and I don't drive. I went to a women's meeting 40 minutes away on the bus and thought I found a sponsor. She can only meet once a week for half an hour and even with two scheduled times to talk on the phone, I am having a hard time reaching her. A couple weeks ago, I was nearing 18 months (longest I had) and started to get squirrely. I tried texting and calling her telling her I wanted to drink and she never got back to me. I called a few other women and they picked up and walked me through and I am still sober (thanks to them and my Higher Power). I started having some anxiety about not being able to really connect with her and was calling her twice a week like we agreed on and she wasn't picking up all the times I called. I know she lives an insanely busy life and meeting with her for 20 minutes to half an hour a week is not enough to really cover step work or talk without being interrupted. Should I find someone closer with more available time? I talk to her voicemail more than her. Thanks.

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avaneesh912
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:23 am

I have 18 months sober and have gone through the steps completely with a sponsor once.
What do you mean went through the steps once? Have started working the steps 10 and 11? 10 every moment and 11 in the morning and evening, are you vigourously trying to make amends? If the desire is still strong to drink, you probably are right, find a sponsor in one of the big book study groups, if you have one around where you live and re-work the steps again.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

chefchip
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by chefchip » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:48 am

First, welcome to e-AA. I joined about a month ago and have found this place to be a near daily addition to my program. I hope you will find the same! Also I'm very happy to read about your continued sobriety and celebration of 18 months. I hope today is a continuation of that sobriety!

I "only" have right at 8 months. And for the past 7 months I have listened to people with varying degrees of sobriety talk about how they still struggle, how they still have to occasionally fight the obsession. That puzzles me. In my admittedly short eight months I only had to "fight" the obsession during the first 4-6 weeks. That doesn't mean I don't occasionally think about alcohol. It just means the thoughts don't own me anymore. Please understand that I am in no way questioning your commitment to your program. But I have a couple of thoughts, from my own experience.

First, regarding a sponsor. I found I really needed one when I was new to the program. My thinking was off-base, my judgement was not the best, I had a problem telling myself the truth about anything. We worked the steps together. These days I rarely rely on a sponsor. He has other people who are insane and need him. If we talk every couple of weeks it is a miracle and, then, it is usually only to say hi and catch up on each other's lives. Once I "got" the program of AA and had my spiritual awakening I was able to move on. That doesn't mean my sponsor(s) won't be special to me and always a big part of my life. But it does mean I don't need them like I did in the beginning.

Second, you said you worked the steps completely once, in 18 months. Once is great. Twice and more is better. Sure, some steps may only need to be worked intensely once. But the steps are a way of living, also, and some need to be worked every day -- 10, 11, 12. Heck I have made most of my amends but every once in a while I run across someone that I completely forgot about and I'm faced with another 9th step amends because when I first did that step I also committed to being willing anytime the need arose.

Finding people who support us in our program is important. Having a good sponsor to help us learn the program and to place our feet on the path of a spiritual awakening is vital. I guess what I'm trying to gently suggest is that the program is more than just a sponsor, more than just working the steps one time. And it is definitely not having to fight the obsession to drink for the rest of our lives, even if that only occurs every year. I close with my favorite passage from the Big Book about being recovered.
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone-even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality-safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition. (pp. 84-5)
You are in my prayers,
Chip
The only constant in life is change.

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ann2
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by ann2 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:51 am

When i found online AA I got introduced to the idea of Trusted Friends in AA. I had taken the steps and achieved the result step 12 talks about, but i was still alcoholic which to me means doomed to drink unless I apply a vigorous treatment. Personally i enjoy the vigor of it all and the more trusted friends I have to call on, the more active my treatment is. In fact, it has meant working in a group of these trusted friends, here.

They cut me no slack and that is a blessing. I really hope you take advantage of this online opportunity for contact day and night and in-between!

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

Real_Army_Wife
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Real_Army_Wife » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:09 am

@avaneesh - when I said I worked the steps completely, I mean I did 1-12. I made most of my amends and live in 10-12.

Thank you for welcoming me. I am a people pleaser and don't like admitting that something is wrong in my program but if I can't reach my sponsor when I want to drink and I'm doing everything she's asks for and suggests I do and she doesn't have actual time to meet then I don't see a point in her having the title of my sponsor. I rather have someone who has more than 20 mins to meet every week- as I said before I don't drive so to spend $5 to get there and back for 20 minutes isn't worth the trip.

Lali
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Lali » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:16 am

Real_Army_Wife wrote:@ I rather have someone who has more than 20 mins to meet every week- as I said before I don't drive so to spend $5 to get there and back for 20 minutes isn't worth the trip.
I don't blame you. Get another sponsor. Sometimes a sponsor takes on a new sponsee when they really don't have the time to be a good sponsor. I don't think that is fair to you.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

TonyWARMS
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by TonyWARMS » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:37 am

I found my local AA through the AA helpline (find your local in the phone book).
I also found a sponsor (he turned out to be the person who was giving me rides to, and from meetings, dumb luck there).
The anxiety is understandable, but you can do this on your own until you find a sponsor.
Call that hotline if you start getting squirrely again, they will help you through that.
Also, come here as often as you'd like to get reminders of what we are all going for.

Peace, and welcome
Tony :)

P.S. You also can get a temporary online sponsor here. One of the moderators can post a link to help you find one.
"Nothing comes to stay. Everything comes to pass".
(I don't know where I heard this)

Real_Army_Wife
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Real_Army_Wife » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:58 am

Thank you. I am actively looking for a new one as just 15 mins ago I "fired" the last one. I'm also going to be making announcements in the meetings I go to also.

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Brock
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Brock » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:39 am

chefchip wrote: If we talk every couple of weeks it is a miracle and, then, it is usually only to say hi and catch up on each other's lives. Once I "got" the program of AA and had my spiritual awakening I was able to move on.

Of course everyone is different, and I know a lady at one of my meetings who is 14 years sober, we live in the West Indies, and she speaks to her sponsor in New York every day via Skype, about what I haven’t a clue. And this same lady has blurted out at a meeting, that I should not be allowed to speak since I don’t have a sponsor. I am not trying to judge anyone, and if someone needs this sort of support then so be it, but as someone who reads AA history, and enjoys learning new AA related things, this sort of thing is new to me. I do know from AA history, that some long term friendships were formed between sponsor and sponsee, but as Chip indicated it was of a “hi how are things” type relationship. Dr. Bob reportedly sponsored over 5,000 in his 15 years sober, what a problem he would have had if even 500 of them wanted to meet on a regular basis.

I agree with avaneesh about trying to find another sponsor near you and re-working the steps, everything in the literature indicates that the obsession should have been lifted long ago, although it is written that the very Dr. Bob spoken about above, had a rough time for the first couple of years. The transport limitations are a factor, but anytime you feel tempted it might be wise to find a meeting. I am sorry if my post sounds unsympathetic, I really wish you the best for you.

Brock.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

Real_Army_Wife
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Real_Army_Wife » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:55 pm

@Brock - I never said I was still struggling with not drinking. I no longer have the obsession to use.

Real_Army_Wife
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Real_Army_Wife » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:13 am

I got a new sponsor yesterday.

@Brock - you shouldn't be giving sponsor advice if you don't have one yourself...

chefchip
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by chefchip » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:38 am

Real_Army_Wife wrote:I got a new sponsor yesterday.

@Brock - you shouldn't be giving sponsor advice if you don't have one yourself...
Actually, sponsor advice from anyone should be sought and carefully considered. Some of the best advice I received was advice I disagreed with at first.. The Big Book is silent on this issue of sponsors precisely because they did not exist in the early days of AA -- at least not as they have come to be a part of what often passes for AA today. In the early days, sponsors were very temporary. They helped the newcomer understand the steps. The took the newcomer through the steps. And they showed the newcomer how to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. The idea of a sponsor for life, who will be there to help us through every situation and crisis, is not to be found in any of the literature of AA. At some point we are all expected to find our own way, to stand on our own two feet, as it were.

There is legitimate disagreement on this subject in the rooms of AA. As I said before, while I have a sponsor, I learned what I needed to from him. He, and others, helped me lay the groundwork of my recovery. Other people who are just starting out now need his wisdom and advice much more than I do. If I were to call him even once a week these days, he would rightfully question me, looking for the places where my program needed to be strengthened. These days, I call him or text him if I find myself slipping into old habits. But I'm glad, very glad, that I have plenty of recovered people in my life to whom I can reach out as well. It takes a village, at least for me.

In any case, I'm glad you found a new sponsor. It sounds like you have a need for a very active one in your life and filling that need is one less thing to worry about.
The only constant in life is change.

Lali
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Lali » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:12 pm

Real_Army_Wife wrote:@Brock - I never said I was still struggling with not drinking. I no longer have the obsession to use.
Real Army Wife, actually you did say you were struggling. From your original post:

"A couple weeks ago, I was nearing 18 months (longest I had) and started to get squirrely. I tried texting and calling her telling her I wanted to drink (emphasis mine) and she never got back to me."

So you were wanting to drink a couple of weeks ago, but now you are comfortable saying that you are not struggling? What has changed in the last couple of weeks? I'm sorry if I sound skeptical, but we can't really help you if you are not being completely honest with us and, more importantly, yourself. If the obsession has been lifted since that time when you were struggling, then that is great. Did you experience a psychic change?
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

Lali
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Re: Time for a new sponsor?

Post by Lali » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:36 pm

Brock wrote:...although it is written that the very Dr. Bob spoken about above, had a rough time for the first couple of years.
Brock.
Which kind of strengthens the argument that some will need more help than others and that is okay. Better to seek help, Real Army Wife, than feel that you "should" no longer need it.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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