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?
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ann2
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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by ann2 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:26 am

Welcome! Great to read you and so glad you're here!

One of the founding members of this online group had some excellent advice. You may still be able to read it here in the forums, but I will simply paraphrase: "Whenever I had a resentment about how the program was explained to me, I turned to the literature for confirmation." I myself use the pamphlet "Questions & Answers on Sponsorship" and the section on sponsorship in the booklet "Living Sober".

From the former:
Must the newcomer agree with
everything the sponsor says?

No. If the sponsor’s ideas sound strange or
unclear, the newcomer had better speak up and
ask questions.
From the latter:
. Like a good parent, a wise sponsor can let the newcomer alone, when necessary; can let the
newcomer make his or her own mistakes; can see the newcomer rejecting advice and still not get
angry or feel spurned. A sharp sponsor tries hard to keep vanity and hurt feelings out of the way in
sponsorship.
And the best sponsors are really delighted when the newcomer is able to step out past the stage of
being sponsored. Not that we ever have to go it altogether alone. But the time does come when even
a young bird must use its own wings and start its own family. Happy flying!
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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

Post by Lali » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:08 am

Sorry, I misunderstood. Absolutely, I get that!

I have seen so many go out because they want to work the steps their way. Glad that's not the case with you.
:D
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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

Post by elnico » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:07 pm

This is a really good question, and there are many fine answers to this question.

I think one of the best places for someone to find information on sponsorship is in the text of the Big Book as it relates to step 12. There is a lot of information about how to approach a newcomer-- show that person how you solved the drink problem, etc. When I went through the steps the first time, someone told me to turn all that information around as if I were the person seeking help. As it was explained to me, the information in "Working With Others" is not just what I want to bring to someone seeking a solution, but what I want to find in other people in the program as I continue my spiritual journey.

On a personal level, I tell my sponsees several things before we go through the steps. These things are just what I found to be helpful. They are not intended to persuade anyone or tell someone that the way they do things is wrong and my way is right. They are only my own practices based on my work in AA.

First, I tell them that I am only a transmitter of the information in the big book as it relates to the steps. That is what my purpose is in their life. We will likely get to know each other on a very personal level in the course of the work. However, that does not mean we are going to become best friends or go everywhere and do everything together. I prefer to think of myself as a step-guide who has found a solution by working the steps of the program, and I am passing on the solution I found in the Big Book as presented by my step guide(s).

Second, the first step tells me that my life is unmanageable, and that no human power can solve my alcoholism. For these two reasons, I can neither cure someone of alcoholism nor manage their life for them (I cannot even manage my own). Therefore, I can only show them what I did to recover from alcoholism. I cannot advise them on what job to take, give relationship, medical, or legal advice, or tell them how to spend their money.

Third, as regards the steps: I show them only what I did that removed my desire for and obsession with alcohol. To do this, I go line by line with them through the Big Book, and do everything it says the first 100 did. If it says to pause and ask ourselves something, that's what I do. If it says we write on pen and paper, I write with pen and paper. When it comes to the 10th and 11th steps, there are very specific instructions on how to do them, but there is also room for discovery of one's own truth about how to approach the practices they describe.

The most important thing I have found in sponsorship is that I have to allow room in the process for two things. One of those things is for the person I am working with to have the dignity of their own experience with the steps. The other is the spiritual experience that the steps are intended to produce. I was allowed the dignity of finding my own truths through the work that my step guide(s) did with me when they took me through the steps. As a result, I had what I believe to be a powerful experience with the steps. This is a process in which one is searching for and making contact with their Higher Power. It is not a process in which I am teaching someone my way of how not to be an alcoholic. I try to have a light touch and make sure there is room for a Higher Power to enter into the experience, since that is the only power that can relieve me of my alcoholism.

Finally, on sponsors as people. . . I have learned a few things in my short time in AA. My sponsor says things like "I expect you to. . ." and "you need to. . ." and there are times it rubs me the wrong way. I don't like to be told what to do, especially in a way that makes me feel as though my sponsor is above me. In the years that we have had this relationship, however, I have found it to be true that I have had an effect on him in a similar way that he has had an effect on me as it relates to our recovery and how we work the program and carry the message. We have both had a spiritual experience as we have worked together. However, as a sponsor myself, sometimes if I catch myself directing someone how to do something "right", I realize it is because I am afraid that I am going to fail at helping them. I know what worked for me, so it is easy for me to say that is exactly what someone else must do. Thanks to the 10th step, I realize that I must watch for this behavior, ask at once for it to be removed, and turn my thoughts to someone I can help.

Again, these are just thoughts based on my own experience, as it relates to my journey through the steps and as an alcoholic in AA. Thank you for allowing me to share with you all.

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

Post by Teith » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:04 pm

I am a newbie to having a sponsor , although have been trying to get sober since 2002, often in and out of AA meetings and groups. In march 2013 I asked a group member if he would be my sponsor and I wAs over the moon when he offered to help me through the programme

We got to step 5 and then I had a major relapse, hospital - the works! Since relapsing early October 2013 the only contact i have received from my sponsor, or any other group member for that matter, was yesterday- 3 months after my relapse. My sponsor simply left a message asking how I was getting on. He had obviously heard that I was out of hospital and managing to get to meetings again ( 8 so far in 4 days)
My query is this. And I am sorry that my first post on this forum is a bit heavy , is this normal for a sponsor to ignore a member as soon as they find out he has started drinking again. I am well aware that there is no point talking to a drinking alcoholic
Any comments will be appreciated. I know I should hAve phoned my sponsor or another group member before I lifted my first drink in 9 months - impossible to phone after that first drink though.
Any opinions will be appreciated
Teith, Perthshire Scotland

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

Post by Todd M » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:20 pm

My thoughts are this... its up to you to make the calls
not the other way around
When you are ready to go to any length, you will pick up the Phone.
Do it Now.
Call anyone you know, Sponsor, or any of the phone numbers you got from AA members.

In our Big-Book it tells us, something like this.
We don't chase anyone down to get them sober.
In doing so, we might be missing an opportunity to help someone else, right in front of us.

Good luck, Brush yourself off, we don't shoot are wounded, but coddling won't be helpful.
Its up to you, it can’t hurt, your life is worth it.
There is Hope, Todd M
Keep it Simple

The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link:
http://www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php

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

Post by Blue Moon » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:33 pm

Teith wrote:My sponsor simply left a message asking how I was getting on.
That was nice of him to call :)

We generally don't pursue someone who doesn't want to work with us. Doing so might spoil a later opportunity.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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avaneesh912
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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:57 pm

I know I should hAve phoned my sponsor or another group member before I lifted my first drink in 9 months

Thats some of the goofy messages we in modern AA propogate. The book talks about the "queer mental twist" that precedes the first drink. A person who is obsessing will never seek any help. And true after taking the first drink, you are off to the races.

is this normal for a sponsor to ignore a member as soon as they find out he has started drinking again.

A person who understands the powerlessness will not.
Last edited by avaneesh912 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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)

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ann2
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Re: When is it time to find a new sponsor?

Post by ann2 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:29 pm

Find a home group, get active, exchange phone numbers, start calling people in the group on a regular basis, just to say hi. Be available before and after the meeting. Pretty soon you'll have a circle of trusted friends in AA and one at least will contact you if you relapse again.

Start the steps over and consider getting a new sponsor. Your first sponsor may feel like he did something wrong, human ego pride etc. and want to avoid the evidence of his mistake. He may have missed something. It's possible he may not have what you need. You won't know until you talk and ask, so give both him and you the opportunity to find out. See if you two can have an honest open discussion about what happened.

Study the Big Book and keep taking the actions that lead to peace in sobriety.

Glad you're here.

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

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