When is it time to find 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?
Serenity Seeker
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When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Serenity Seeker » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:20 pm

I have been sober for just over a year, and I'm starting to think my sponsor is not a good fit for me anymore. At first we got along great and I really enjoyed the way we worked the steps together and read out of the big book.

For the past couple of months it seems like she's really distanced herself from AA. She goes to a few meetings a week (she used to go to a minimum of 4), and doesn't have any commitments. I, on the other hand, am very in active AA and take my program really seriously. I am also her first sponsee. She can be very narrow-minded, and sometimes it's her way or no way. I feel like while I continue to grow as a sober person in recovery, she has hit a plateau and is keeping a routine.

What are your thoughts on outgrowing a sponsor? I've become very close with mine, so this resentment that is building towards her is a big concern for me. I don't know if I should keep trying to fix it or try to find someone new. (I'm in a place where there are plenty of AA folk, so finding a new sponsor would not be difficult.)

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Lali » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:42 pm

Why the resentment? How does what she does affect you? Does she not return phone calls? If she has taken you through the steps then you don't really need her anymore, do you? I know a few people here who would say you shouldn't need a sponsor after one year and I don't necessarily agree with that. Here, in the small town where I finally got sober, people keep sponsors forever. They don't necessarily call on them much for advice, but they do have them.

Anyway, you might want to address why you have this resentment before you make a decision as to whether or not to stay with her as a sponsor or get someone else.
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Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Tosh
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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Tosh » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:50 pm

My sponsor gives me very little direction these days. When I meet with him or when I phone him he tends to just ask about people I'm sponsoring; as in am I active in sponsoring?

I am. I suspect that he thinks that if I'm active in sponsoring, I'm also active in all the different areas I should be and trying to practise these principles in all my affairs.

I think what I'm clumsily wanting to say is that sponsors are great but they can only take us so far. After that it's up to us to learn to grow in effectiveness and understanding. My sponsor once told me, "Tosh, I can't do your growing for you!" He's a grouch sometimes! :lol: He also talks about 'leadership' and 'sponsorship' being related (or the same; I'm not sure), but what I infer from that, being ex army, is that I'm there to lead by example. So I try to be a good member of A.A., I have a homegroup where I'm active, I try to be of service by making coffee, putting out chairs, and being of service in general.

There are many helpful books and be quick to see where the religious are right are both good suggestions from our Big Book. But I think the real 'secret' to growth is by putting our emphasis on carrying the message; intensive work with other alcoholics. It makes me go through the book, again and again, it makes me self reflect, it's a constant reminder to try and apply this program in all of my affairs, especially at my home - where my sponsees often come to do Big Book stuff. Imagine the shame and hypocrisy if they came and they saw that I was a total idiot in my home. :lol: Yeh, I still have an ego, but it's a better one than I used to have.

I know with the guys I sponsor, those who seem to thrive are the ones who actively carry the message and the ones who stagnate, or leave, or drink are the ones who don't.

I'm sorry, but I don't know if you should change your sponsor or not, but you finding a sponsee, if you've had that spiritual awakening, may answer the question for you?
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 is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Tosh » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:55 pm

S'cuse my manners too, Serenity Seeker, I see it's your first post. Welcome to the forum.

Regards

Tosh
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 is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Serenity Seeker » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:59 pm

Lali wrote:Why the resentment? How does what she does affect you? Does she not return phone calls? If she has taken you through the steps then you don't really need her anymore, do you? I know a few people here who would say you shouldn't need a sponsor after one year and I don't necessarily agree with that. Here, in the small town where I finally got sober, people keep sponsors forever. They don't necessarily call on them much for advice, but they do have them.

Anyway, you might want to address why you have this resentment before you make a decision as to whether or not to stay with her as a sponsor or get someone else.
Thank you for your questions and advice. In the city I'm in, it's normal to have a sponsor when you are sober, regardless of how much time you have.

I feel like my sponsor wants to run my program for me, instead of letting me fine tune it to fit my needs. We're on step 11 right now, and taking forever. She also doesn't want me to start sponsoring until I've formally worked all 12 steps with her. I disagree with that, and it's one of the reasons I'm resentful.

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Tosh » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:06 pm

Serenity Seeker wrote: She also doesn't want me to start sponsoring until I've formally worked all 12 steps with her. I disagree with that, and it's one of the reasons I'm resentful.
Ah, this sounds like a good resentment to have; I think you can transform this resentment into something wonderful. Get on her case so that you can get to Step 12 and start sponsoring. Where I come from they say "A shy child gets nothing". It's your sobriety and your program.

If you change sponsors now, you'll more than likely be taken through the Steps again from the beginning; it's what I would do to ensure you had a solid grounding.

Respect for your enthusiasm.
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 is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Squawking Hawk » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:07 pm

Welcome Serenity Seeker. Lots of good stuff here. I had actually prepared a reply and as things happen sometimes I hit the wrong button and never submitted my post, gone to the black hole were my lost socks are. :lol: :lol:

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Serenity Seeker » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:09 pm

Hello, everyone! And thank you for the warm welcome.

I just found this place, and I couldn't be more pleased. Fellowship is very important to me, and I'm happy that I can extend that to online as well.

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Squawking Hawk » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:11 pm

At the f2f meetings in my area, if you get a new sponsor you start over on your step work with step 1. I agree with Tosh, get after her to complete step 12.

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Tosh » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:16 pm

Squawking Hawk wrote:if you get a new sponsor you start over on your step work with step 1.
My sponsor starts right from the 1st page - the Preface and all the forewords - and we cover the early history of A.A. before we even get on the step 1 stuff; The Docs Opinion. :cry:

I do the same.

There are others like us. Beware! :twisted:
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 is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Lali » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:32 pm

Serenity Seeker wrote:I feel like my sponsor wants to run my program for me, instead of letting me fine tune it to fit my needs.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by this. There is THE program of Alcoholics Anonymous; it isn't either her program or yours. The program isn't to be "fine tuned" to fit ones needs. One of the women in my home group always shares that this isn't Burger King, (you can't have it your way) the 12 steps are what they are.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Squawking Hawk » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:34 pm

Tosh wrote:There are others like us. Beware! :twisted:
:twisted: :lol:

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by shaunagus » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:49 pm

@squawking hawk: I think I found your black socks, they were tucked into the parcel shelf in the boot of my car, along with a sausage roll wrapper :|


I'm keeping them.
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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Squawking Hawk » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:27 pm

@shaungus. you can have my black socks. I didn't like them anyway and there is a hole in the big toe on one. :lol: :lol:

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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by Serenity Seeker » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:11 am

Lali wrote:
Serenity Seeker wrote:I feel like my sponsor wants to run my program for me, instead of letting me fine tune it to fit my needs.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by this. There is THE program of Alcoholics Anonymous; it isn't either her program or yours. The program isn't to be "fine tuned" to fit ones needs. One of the women in my home group always shares that this isn't Burger King, (you can't have it your way) the 12 steps are what they are.
I can explain what I mean.

The steps are suggestions only. If, say, I only want to meditate twice a day for 5 minutes (once in the morning, once before bed), I should be able to do that if it works for me for step 11. My sponsor wants me to do it for at least seven minutes each time. That is the kind of situation I'm talking about.

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