sponsor question

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?
kelmac
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sponsor question

Post by kelmac » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:10 pm

I have a new sponsor of a few months. Because I had already worked the first 3 steps with my first sponsor, my new sponsor and I jumped into steps 4 and 5. I felt very comfortable and safe doing my 5th step with her. After that time her and I have had some differences of opinion and I am looking for some perspectives on the situation and whether it warrants looking for a new sponsor.
My sponsor is very generous with her time and I don't want to disregard that. She is good for me in a lot of ways, however one area we differ on I am not sure if I can get past or overlook. I have been in a relationship for 4 years. I think it is a strong and healthy relationship and it is very important to me. I have never been one to boast about relationships or put them on display and I doubt that will change. I am very private and protective of my close friendships as well. Recently my sponsor asked if my boyfriend and I would consider dating other people and made some comments that I found to be insulting toward my relationship and to my boyfriend and I spoke up in defense. She has not met my boyfriend nor has there been really any discussion about him so I did not understand what her point was or where she was coming from. When I asked her for clarification, she said her suggestion was based on her own experiences and regrets with relationships. While I know I can let go of my anger, I am having a hard time accepting we never seemed to come to an understanding of why I was so offended by her suggestion and comments. At the end of our discussion she said that she couldnt do AA and ignore one part of her life but she can avoid this subject and continue to sponsor me. I didnt say anything because I was exhausted by that point but I had never said or intended for us to not be able to talk about my relationship or relationships in general so that comment just further frustrated me. Just wondering what others opinions would be if its time for me to look for a new sponsor or if this is something to look past.

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ann2
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Re: sponsor question

Post by ann2 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:50 pm

One helpful aspect of going through all the steps from the beginning with a new sponsor is that both parties get to learn about each other as a base for step 4 work. As a sponsor I want to know that someone s willing to put in the work. As a sponsee perhaps it would be good to have already vetted these issues, or realized that this person wasn't working out.

You might consider finding another sponsor and starting at the beginning with her.

Ann
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PaigeB
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Re: sponsor question

Post by PaigeB » Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:32 am

We all go through things at different levels and at different times. Perhaps that is why we get so much help from the honest sharing in AA. My feeling is that your sponsor might be going through some of her own issues and might be out of line, but we are all just drunks trying to stay sober. We cannot expect perfection from each other, not even our sponsors. In fact, I chose mine precisely because she was sober for a long period and was still a fallible human being!

She is not ordering you to DO anything, she merely asked a question which she may never ask again. If it becomes necessary to talk to another woman about isolated relationship issues, inform that woman that you are sponsored and just need help with this one issue. I have done this when I had an issue with a sister sponsee - taking it to my sponsor would have made her make a choice between the 2 sides of the story - or at least that was my perception at the time.

I would stick with it and see if it passes. We never know what tomorrow will bring.
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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avaneesh912
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Re: sponsor question

Post by avaneesh912 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:26 am

Nothing is permanent in this world. If you can't resolve this issue, you may find another sponsor and move on. Remember we are not seers in AA, we all carry some form of ideology that others may not like it. Like others pointed out, its probably because of some situation in her past that she is projecting on you. You can trying to fix it, remove yourself from it or be there and absorb everything as is. This is from Eckhart Tolles, but its your decision take an appropriate decision and stick with it, without resentment.
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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Brock
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Re: sponsor question

Post by Brock » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:32 pm

Since together with the sponsor you have just completed 4 & 5, and as the book says resentment is the #1 offender, it might be appropriate to tell her that you have formed the beginning of a resentment towards her, based on the comments about your boyfriend and yourself. This would at least open her up to discussing it.

On this site and in person I refer to my companion as my wife, although we are not married, we have been together for 24 years; we just didn’t see the need to make it official with marriage, she was married twice previously anyway. However I have encountered some people, mainly those who are very religious, who look down their noses at this, living in sin and all that crap. Also those who are old fashioned tend to think shacking up is taboo. So she may just be one of these types, especially since she asked if the two of you would date other people, seems she just can’t accept that two folks can be true to each other without a wedding ring. As you said she sounds very good for you except for this difference of opinion, I would try talking it out with her, and best of luck to you.
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Re: sponsor question

Post by kenyal » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:31 pm

She hit a hot button with her remarks. Usually there's a reason for that kind of sensitivity. With her later comment about implementing AA principles in all areas of life she may have been encouraging you to take a closer look at aspects of your relationship. By shutting off this area of your life in your discussions with her it appears to me that you lack trust in her and want her to keep her distance from how you conduct your relationship, being protective of it and sensing her comments as a threat to it.

If she's willing to work with you and gives her time then great. It seems she's also willing to avoid the relationship subject, so no problems on her side. If you develop a fear of bringing up important subjects because of what she may possibly say, and wind up with a weak sponsorship relationship due to skittishness, then her usefulness to you will be hampered, and she may then be of less benefit to your recovery than if you had no dead areas in your range of available discussion subjects.

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Barbara D.
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Re: sponsor question

Post by Barbara D. » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:33 am

I got sober a long time ago. At that time, my Home Group members advised getting more than one sponsor because one might relapse, one might be on a business trip, etcetera. My understanding is that a sponsor is a guide, and I always liked the sponsorship relationship to be a 2-way street beyond the first year or two. I try not to put all my "eggs in one basket," and I don't want to be another person's only feedback either. I still highly regard the feedback of the Group in meetings and of pop-up 1 on 1 conversations. My various sponsors' experience, strength, and hope rarely matched my own in all areas. I was just glad that they shared back with me. I notice that there are many ways to sponsor and be sponsored. Thanks for listening, Barbara D alcoholic.

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Re: sponsor question

Post by sober8688 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:17 am

I do not stick my nose outside of the 12 steps with sponsee`s unless asked and then I never tell them how to live their lives,I only share my ESH and the book.I can`t manage my life successfully and I can`t manage theirs.
That way,they can`t put any blame on me.

No two people are excally alike,with 100% same likes and dislikes.
It looks like your sponsor has been very helpful to you despite that one disagreement.
Our real reliance is on the HP,so pray and you`ll know what to do.

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Brock
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Re: sponsor question

Post by Brock » Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:31 am

sober8688 wrote:I do not stick my nose outside of the 12 steps with sponsee`s unless asked and then I never tell them how to live their lives,I only share my ESH and the book.

Thank heaven for that statement, as I was reading the latest replies and saw something about if you shut off this area of your life from her she may lose trust, my fingers started itching to type an anti sponsor tirade, but this saved me. Another gem is advising we get our advice from the one who’s opinion I hold above all else, and who is my only sponsor.
Our real reliance is on the HP,so pray and you`ll know what to do.
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harry71
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Re: sponsor question

Post by harry71 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:08 pm

The book also tells us to be careful about that reliance ,at first we may come up with some absurd ideas. That was my experience in the beginning. I have refrained from comment on this because I feel I don't have a crucial piece of info-why would her sponsor give this kind of advise?
God Keeps Me Sober AA Keeps Me Asking

Stepchild
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Re: sponsor question

Post by Stepchild » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:53 pm

kelmac wrote:Recently my sponsor asked if my boyfriend and I would consider dating other people...
That is about as far out in left field as you can get...Regarding questions a sponsor would have for a sponsee....Who knows?....Maybe she's a swinger. One thing I do know...You have comfortably gone through steps four and five with her...If you have done steps six and seven as they are laid out in the book...You should be getting your ninth step list together. Most of that comes from the fourth step. I think you should continue on...If you want to bring it up with her...Go for it....If you think her guidance would be useful to you in the amends process.....Take it. I went to quite a few oldtimers for advice doing my ninth step. Her work is almost done....You aren't far from sponsoring someone yourself...And you've learned something....That's probably not a good question for you to ask a future sponsee. I want to congratulate you for doing that fourth and fifth step...And I encourage you to keep moving forward...Nice job.

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tblue818
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Re: sponsor question

Post by tblue818 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:59 pm

kelmac wrote:I have a new sponsor of a few months. Because I had already worked the first 3 steps with my first sponsor, my new sponsor and I jumped into steps 4 and 5. I felt very comfortable and safe doing my 5th step with her. After that time her and I have had some differences of opinion and I am looking for some perspectives on the situation and whether it warrants looking for a new sponsor.

My sponsor is very generous with her time and I don't want to disregard that. She is good for me in a lot of ways, however one area we differ on I am not sure if I can get past or overlook. I have been in a relationship for 4 years. I think it is a strong and healthy relationship and it is very important to me. I have never been one to boast about relationships or put them on display and I doubt that will change. I am very private and protective of my close friendships as well. Recently my sponsor asked if my boyfriend and I would consider dating other people and made some comments that I found to be insulting toward my relationship and to my boyfriend and I spoke up in defense. She has not met my boyfriend nor has there been really any discussion about him so I did not understand what her point was or where she was coming from. When I asked her for clarification, she said her suggestion was based on her own experiences and regrets with relationships. While I know I can let go of my anger, I am having a hard time accepting we never seemed to come to an understanding of why I was so offended by her suggestion and comments. At the end of our discussion she said that she couldnt do AA and ignore one part of her life but she can avoid this subject and continue to sponsor me. I didnt say anything because I was exhausted by that point but I had never said or intended for us to not be able to talk about my relationship or relationships in general so that comment just further frustrated me. Just wondering what others opinions would be if its time for me to look for a new sponsor or if this is something to look past.

Hi, Kelmac and All ~

The view from here...flags that I see (real or imagined)....

Motives/causes beneath reactions. Beneath every reaction is an opportunity for understanding in what way Ego is trying to manipulate me. If I am 'defensive', there is something useful under that, if I have the desire and willingness to look.
I have a new sponsor of a few months. ... I have been in a relationship for 4 years. I think it is a strong and healthy relationship and it is very important to me. .... She has not met my boyfriend nor has there been really any discussion about him so I did not understand what her point was or where she was coming from.
A flag, for me, is that you have known this sponsor for a few months and done 4th-5th Steps with her...but nothing concerning your boyfriend relationship ever came up in conversation or, as significantly, your 4th-5th? And you would have also been in this boyfriend relationship before getting sober? You felt "safe" with doing your 5th Step with her and spend a 'generous amount of time together' but your boyfriend relationship was an 'outside issue'?

"At the end of our discussion she said that she couldnt do AA and ignore one part of her life but she can avoid this subject and continue to sponsor me." - Tis a quite odd turn of phrase, to be sure. Likely a strange, dangerous game that takes two to play, is the view from here.

'Protecting' a relationship and 'respecting' a relationship are often different things. When *I* 'protected' relationships, I kept the insanity happening within them to myself. There were just certain things I was willing to 'overlook' (not willing to hear others comment on) because my/my Ego's needs were being met in other areas.
I am looking for some perspectives on the situation and whether it warrants looking for a new sponsor.
If you were to 'look for a new sponsor', what criteria would you use to choose a new sponsor? What line of thinking did you use to choose your current sponsor?

People who get sober and maintain sobriety in AA are many. But those who consistently and willingly apply rigorous honesty and new principles beyond alcohol were my picks.

Someone who can walk off a job and stay sober shows me one thing (important, to be sure). But someone who *used to* walk off jobs but now doesn't have to because they have learned to *think differently* and examine causes and conditions surrounding emotions - is another sponsor/teacher all together.

Best to All,

Pamela
dos 8/98
Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.

"Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got."

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Re: sponsor question

Post by Lali » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:51 pm

I don't really believe it is such a stretch to assume that at some point in a 4 year relationship a resentment or two would come up. But to suggest that a sponsee should date others, unless the boyfriend is abusive, seems kind of odd. But she didn't say dump the boyfriend so there probably is no abuse issue.
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Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: sponsor question

Post by spiritual warrior » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:27 pm

I live in a community with great recovery and lots of meetings. I have had my last sponsor for about 3 years. For the most part she's great and I appreciate her. However, there are behaviors in her that I am finding more and more irritating. I know that "acceptance is the key" etc. and "when I am disturbed" etc. but I am trying to surround myself with more positive and healthy people. I find my sponsor is often complaining about things and not taking any responsibility. She talks to me about her other sponsees (who are my friends) out of 'care and concern', and I find myself talking about others with her. I do not like this behavior in myself and would not want to be the one being talked about, but, I tend to be very rigid and wonder if I'm overreacting. Hope this makes sense! I'm finding that I'm starting to be short with her and losing respect. Today for example we were sitting next to each other at our homegroup. After the reading we are asked for two topics. two or three were blurted out and my sponsor says to me "I thought the topics were supposed to represent the reading" I said back "why don't you suggest one!" which was kind of lippy of me. I just find I'm reacting more and more to her behavior and wonder if I should make a change and if so how would I do this in a nice way.

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Tommy-S
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Re: sponsor question

Post by Tommy-S » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:46 pm

Hello SW

I didn't come into AA the most positive and lovable person on the planet... My sponsor accepted me with all my warts just as I was. Throwing them under the bus because they are human would be a really poor expression of thanks for the love and acceptance they've given me.

And rearranging my life to suit what I think is best for me does not show much faith in the Higher Power I turned my will & life over to. My little plans and designs always fail.

I learned long ago that if "I have a Problem with....", I need to stop that line at "I have a Problem"

Change is recovery, but I found it all Internal... I had to change ME. Dr. Paul in his story, "Acceptance is the Answer" speaks of those Magical Magnifying Glasses. What I focus on becomes larger.

Hence, the change I usually need is to stop taking other people's inventories, stop gossiping about others, stop focusing on what's wrong with the world... I do much better if I take My inventory, talk about Me and my faults, and focus on gratitude for this blessing of having a second chance at life, something I didn't deserve, thanks to AA :)

Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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