Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

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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Brock
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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by Brock » Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:02 am

Blue Moon wrote: IMO, in some ways we lowered it, and some are better off drinking so that alcohol can do the persuading that we're so inept to do.

First class statement, harsh but true. I suspect also, that during the period in which the book was written, and when the suggested treatment was accepted and worked well, not nearly as many people rushed off to psychiatrists or psychologists for the slightest of reasons. Now we have folks coming in who don’t appreciate the direct approach, often because they spent time lying on some couch, and someone suggested that their alcoholism had its root in some silly childhood experience. And I am not saying that there aren’t people who genuinely need and benefit from psychiatrists, but often when we hear those who object to the old and trusted way things were done, we can detect in their voice things picked up from psychiatrists, or silly self help books.

Brock.
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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by ezdzit247 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:23 pm

Brock wrote:
Blue Moon wrote: IMO, in some ways we lowered it, and some are better off drinking so that alcohol can do the persuading that we're so inept to do.

First class statement, harsh but true. I suspect also, that during the period in which the book was written, and when the suggested treatment was accepted and worked well, not nearly as many people rushed off to psychiatrists or psychologists for the slightest of reasons. Now we have folks coming in who don’t appreciate the direct approach, often because they spent time lying on some couch, and someone suggested that their alcoholism had its root in some silly childhood experience. And I am not saying that there aren’t people who genuinely need and benefit from psychiatrists, but often when we hear those who object to the old and trusted way things were done, we can detect in their voice things picked up from psychiatrists, or silly self help books.

Brock.
Silly childhood experiences like getting raped by your father, step-father, brother, uncle, and/or grandfather from age 6 or 7 onward?

Silly childhood experiences like your mother pimping you out to prostitution at age 8 to pay for her booze & drugs?

Silly childhood experiences like being forced to watched a family member rob and cut the throats of strangers?

And so on ad infinitum....

Yeah....right.

Unfortunately, most of these silly alcoholics never make it to a shrink's coach to talk about their silly childhood experiences, but a lot of them do make it to skid row, homeless shelters, halfway houses, jails, prisons, and mental institutions, and some of them, very few, even make it to AA thanks to more enlightened members like Clancy I, Sam H, Gordon B, Chuck C, etc and thousands of others doing their 12th Step work in H&I groups. If all these silly alcoholics with their silly childhood experiences ever get from being "in the rooms" is the courage to put the plug in the jug, the willingness to trudge the Road of Happy Destiny, and the compassion to reach out to another silly drunk with silly childhood experiences, I'm pretty sure God, as I understand Him, will probably overlook the fact that they didn't do the AA program the "right way" and bless them anyway....
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by chefchip » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:42 pm

Brock wrote: And I am not saying that there aren’t people who genuinely need and benefit from psychiatrists....
Speaking from the horrible experience of being an abused child, I actually was not offended by Brock's words at all. But, I learned long ago to 1) read or listen very carefully before opening my mouth, especially to be sure that I see things like the above quote and 2) not to look for offense where no offense was obviously intended. Those two life lessons have served me well.
The only constant in life is change.

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by Brock » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:15 pm

ezdzit247 wrote: I'm pretty sure God, as I understand Him, will probably overlook the fact that they didn't do the AA program the "right way" and bless them anyway....
You know I didn’t really speak about the “right way,” I spoke about doing it the way the earlier members did, which I suggest is the way Bill had in mind when he wrote the book. When someone says something like I did – “I am not saying that there aren’t people who genuinely need and benefit from psychiatrists.” Well I would imagine that any reasonable person would include among those with a genuine need your listed - –“getting raped by your father, step-father, brother, uncle, and/or grandfather from age 6 or 7 onward?/ mother pimping you out to prostitution at age 8 to pay for her booze & drugs?/ being forced to watch a family member rob and cut the throats of strangers?" To suggest that I would think these people would not benefit from psychiatric help, well that’s just plain silly.

Brock.
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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by BPG » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:44 pm

What's just plain silly is to suggest that alcoholics who do not work the program 'the right way' would be better off going back out for some more convincing. If a newcomer attends meetings and doesn't drink for two years, then --- by gradually beginning to live the example set by his fellow sufferers --- he finally starts to 'get it', I'm mystified as to how that could be considered a bad thing.

As for insisting that newcomers work the steps on a timetable, i can only say that, had I been given a choice (at my first meeting) between death and a spiritual experience, I'm pretty sure I would have chosen death. The idea of a spiritual experience --- ANY spiritual experience --- would have made me puke. Remember that this disease is not just cunning and powerful, but truly baffling.

Edsit247 is exactly right; we all bring different experiences to the tables. The 12 steps are the way we get better, but it dishonors the spirit of the program to suggest that any one of us has a monopoly on precisely how this happens.

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by ezdzit247 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:59 pm

Just saying, AGAIN, there is no "one size fits all" way to work the AA program. No "orthodox" way. No "right" way. No "wrong" way. Sobriety is sobriety. My primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety...one day at a time.

I really have no idea how the founding members of AA did things in the good old days. What I do know is none of the people who claim they know how things were done back then were even alive and they couldn't possibly have any first hand knowledge of how anything was done back in the good old days of AA...
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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by chrissypoo » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:55 pm

I think we can ask, "What is the most effective way?" And the resulting opinions are indeed just like a-holes: some are better than others.

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by Brock » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:50 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:Just saying, AGAIN, there is no "one size fits all" way to work the AA program. No "orthodox" way. No "right" way. No "wrong" way.
It seems to me that everyone who made a comment on how, or how fast, the program should be done, agreed that there was no one way for every person, so there is no need for us to keep bringing that up.
chefchip Apr 6. - I don't recommend guides to sponsorship, as my approach at least changes with each sponsee. vintagecurles83 Apr 7. - What works for one doesn't work for another. larrylive Apr 7. - I am not sure I understand all this talk of timeframe for working the steps. Brock Apr7. - It is very refreshing to read things like this, a sponsor who uses common sense, (and prayer), to understand that the needs of each sponsee varies. hercramsey May 24. - Bingo. The one size fits all concept does not work.


And then the discussion restarted –
chrissypoo Jul 1. - No one was forced into anything. No one must do anything in AA.
As for the problem BPG has with what Blue Moon wrote, and which he erroneously quotes as follows –
BPG said -What's just plain silly is to suggest that alcoholics who do not work the program 'the right way' would be better off going back out for some more convincing.
We should be careful and reread what folks say, Blue Moon spoke of our failure to properly take the newcomer under our wing, and when he speaks of SOME people perhaps needing a bit more punishment what’s so wrong with that, he blames it on our ineptness, this is what he in fact said -
Blue Moon said - Fast-forward to today when many of us still have jobs, cars, houses, partners, kids, etc. when we walk into a meeting, and others can barely bring themselves to even stick out a hand. As the 12&12 says, we "raised the bar". IMO, in some ways we lowered it, and some are better off drinking so that alcohol can do the persuading that we're so inept to do.
So as has been said before, we all enjoy a spirited discussion, but let’s perhaps stop repeating things which we pretty well agree on anyway, and when quoting someone, do so in a way that we have a complete picture of the point they were making. I feel that way we will better enjoy and learn from the discussion.

Brock.
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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by ezdzit247 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:04 pm

chrissypoo wrote:I think we can ask, "What is the most effective way?...
And the answer is: Whatever works...

For instance, I find talking TO newcomers so much more productive and effective than talking AT them. I mean really...how am I going to know anything about where someone's coming from unless I know where they've been?

Another little trick I've learned when I "work the room" at homeless shelters is to always bring some extra packs of premium cigarettes with me but don't give them all away. Wait until the H&I secretary comes in and says "We're having an AA meeting in the next room in five minutes." That's when I jiggle a cigarette pack in each hand and say to the dozen or so "new best friends" gathered round me, "I'm going to the meeting. Anybody want to come with and have some nice fresh coffee with their cigarettes?" They know they're being hustled, but they come along anyway. Hey, whatever works....
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by Blue Moon » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:39 pm

BPG wrote:What's just plain silly is to suggest that alcoholics who do not work the program 'the right way' would be better going back out for some more convincing. If a newcomer attends meetings and doesn't drink for two years, then --- by gradually beginning to live the example set by his fellow sufferers --- he finally starts to 'get it', I'm mystified as to how that could be considered a bad thing.
If someone can be happy and sober by sitting in a meeting, of course that should be fine. I thought we were talking about those who can't. Of particular concern here are those who can't, yet are told that the path to happy sobriety is just don't drink and go to meetings ... either no other options on the table, or none they're willing to pursue.
had I been given a choice (at my first meeting) between death and a spiritual experience, I'm pretty sure I would have chosen death.
For sure. IMO the choice is not a spiritual experience, but contented peace of mind and true freedom from alcohol - mentally as well as physically. Spiritual awakening is how this result is achieved, not the objective in itself.
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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by BPG » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:53 pm

Blue Moon wrote:
BPG wrote:What's just plain silly is to suggest that alcoholics who do not work the program 'the right way' would be better going back out for some more convincing. If a newcomer attends meetings and doesn't drink for two years, then --- by gradually beginning to live the example set by his fellow sufferers --- he finally starts to 'get it', I'm mystified as to how that could be considered a bad thing.
If someone can be happy and sober by sitting in a meeting, of course that should be fine. I thought we were talking about those who can't. Of particular concern here are those who can't, yet are told that the path to happy sobriety is just don't drink and go to meetings ... either no other options on the table, or none they're willing to pursue.
had I been given a choice (at my first meeting) between death and a spiritual experience, I'm pretty sure I would have chosen death.
For sure. IMO the choice is not a spiritual experience, but contented peace of mind and true freedom from alcohol - mentally as well as physically. Spiritual awakening is how this result is achieved, not the objective in itself.
I agree with both thoughts. I guess my only point is that I personally was led to work the steps through regular attendance at meetings. In other words, the meetings came first, and healthy sobriety came much later. I have seen it work for others in a similar way, probably because so many of us come to the program in a state of spiritual bankruptcy.

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by chrissypoo » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:02 pm

I think we should be very, very careful when saying, "Well, it worked for me." AA methodology, through much trial and error, was developed for maximum success. Just because something worked with me doesn't mean it works for the vast majority. Look to sponsorial success. If my experience with sponsees is the common 1-2-3-out, 1-2-3-out, 1-2-3-out, then it's insane to continue with that approach because ego tells me, "Well, it works for me," or, "Well, I can't keep anyone drunk or sober," or any other justification for practicing what doesn't, in fact, work. If what works for me doesn't work for others, then, no, it doesn't work for me.

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by PaigeB » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:35 pm

This thread is quickly approaching lock time...
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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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by ezdzit247 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:39 pm

chrissypoo wrote:I think we should be very, very careful when saying, "Well, it worked for me." AA methodology, through much trial and error, was developed for maximum success. Just because something worked with me doesn't mean it works for the vast majority. Look to sponsorial success. If my experience with sponsees is the common 1-2-3-out, 1-2-3-out, 1-2-3-out, then it's insane to continue with that approach because ego tells me, "Well, it works for me," or, "Well, I can't keep anyone drunk or sober," or any other justification for practicing what doesn't, in fact, work. If what works for me doesn't work for others, then, no, it doesn't work for me.
What worked for BPG has also worked for about half of AA's current fellowship. According to AA's GSO, about 50% of today's AA membership is comprised of sober alcoholics who first came to the program not because they wanted it but because they were court ordered to attend meetings. Presumably, most of these people did not even have a desire to stop drinking, let alone believe they were alcoholic, but a lot of them heard something, saw something, and eventually experienced something "in the rooms" that made them change their minds and decide they wanted what we had and they became willing to work the program.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Sponsorship-Very Unsettling!

Post by Mike O » Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:10 am

Boys'n'girls,

Go back and look through all of the posts here from newcomers over the years whose initial reachout to us is that they've relapsed after a period of sobriety, sometimes a period of years. I'll be willing to put money on the fact that you'll find that they all have one thing in common. Either they haven't completed the steps or they have never even tried to.
The steps are the programme. They need to be done. They work. I have never seen any reason to delay them or spread them out over a period of weeks, months, or...yes, sometimes even years.

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