Should I 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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Kate123
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Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by Kate123 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:39 pm

Hi,

This is my first time posting, so I’m a little nervous about it!

For background - I joined the programme about 10 months ago, and found my sponsor on the first day. She has been incredible and I’m so grateful for everything she’s done for me. I had a relapse which lasted for 2 days around 6 months ago, but have been sober since then (coming up to 4 months!).

For the first few months my sponsor would be available to meet up and go to meetings, but I stopped being able to get in touch with her easily. She’s obviously got her own life, and I’m not expecting her to be available 24/7, but especially over the last few months it’s almost impossible. I’m anxious to get started on the steps, but she wants to read though the BB together first. I’ve read through it 4 times solo but as she’s rarely able to meet we’ve only got to page 25. The times we do meet up we also tend to discuss her more than me - maybe that sounds petulant, but she only asked about my career two weeks ago, whereas she tells me and asks for advice about her job/friends/family/love life frequently. I’m not even sure she knows my wife’s name!

She did initially say that in order to work together I’d need to go to at least 2 meetings a week. I have been doing that (actually I go to more like 4-6 a week depending on schedule), and that if I wanted to do the steps I’d have to be proactive about arranging times with her to read. The problem is I can’t seem to get in touch (text/calls etc) to be able to do so. It’s frustrating because I’ve seen many newcomers join and get started on the steps within a few weeks and it feels strange that I have a decent amount of time but haven’t even been able to get to step work at all. I have previously spoken to my sponsor about this, but she keeps saying she needs to speak to friends about the best way to get me started on step work (she doesn’t have a sponsor), because I’m atheist. I’ve tried to work through the steps by myself and with friends, but I’m sort of stuck when it comes to 4 and I really need help to complete them.

The reason I’m posting is because I feel I’m out of options. This week has been particularly rough, and I’ve called her every day - but she doesn’t answer/cuts the call and doesn’t call back.

I know this is one side of the story, and she had commitments in terms of work/travel/family etc. I’m also aware that a lot of this might stem from my own insecurities. I was just wondering if anyone else had encountered similar problems and if so had any advice about what to do next.

I genuinely respect and like my sponsor, so please also feel free to tell me if you think I’m too much in my head/being self involved about this!

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Jojo2
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by Jojo2 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:40 am

Kate123 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:39 pm
Hi,

This is my first time posting, so I’m a little nervous about it!

For background - I joined the programme about 10 months ago, and found my sponsor on the first day. She has been incredible and I’m so grateful for everything she’s done for me. I had a relapse which lasted for 2 days around 6 months ago, but have been sober since then (coming up to 4 months!).

For the first few months my sponsor would be available to meet up and go to meetings, but I stopped being able to get in touch with her easily. She’s obviously got her own life, and I’m not expecting her to be available 24/7, but especially over the last few months it’s almost impossible.
The problem is I can’t seem to get in touch (text/calls etc) to be able to do so.
It’s frustrating because I’ve seen many newcomers join and get started on the steps within a few weeks and it feels strange that I have a decent amount of time but haven’t even been able to get to step work at all. I have previously spoken to my sponsor about this, but she keeps saying she needs to speak to friends about the best way to get me started on step work (she doesn’t have a sponsor), because I’m atheist. I’ve tried to work through the steps by myself and with friends, but I’m sort of stuck when it comes to 4 and I really need help to complete them.

This week has been particularly rough, and I’ve called her every day - but she doesn’t answer/cuts the call and doesn’t call back.


Kate


Welcome Kate,

An excellent and informative guide on sponsorship, permanent or temporary, with questions and answers, is this pamphlet
from GSO :


Questions and Answers on Sponsorship:
http://aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf

What if the sponsor is unavailable when needed?


It is the whole A.A. programme — not the individual’s sponsor — that maintains the newcomer’s sobriety. Sponsorship is just the best way we know of introducing a newcomer to the programme and helping them continue in A.A.
We have many recourses when we are unable to contact our sponsors.
We can telephone other members; go to an A.A. meeting; phone or visit the nearest A.A. office or clubroom for sober alcoholics; or read A.A. books or pamphlets or our magazine, the A.A. Grapevine, to find answers for almost any problem troubling us at the moment.
A Sponsor is simply a guide .. another tool

May a newcomer change sponsors?

We are always free to select another sponsor with whom we feel more comfortable, particularly if we believe this member will be more helpful to our growth in A.A.

The sponsor underscores the fact that it is the A.A. recovery programme — not the sponsor’s personality or position — that is important.
Thus, the newcomer learns to rely on the A.A. programme, not on the sponsor. A sponsor well-grounded in the A.A. programme will not be offended if the newcomer goes to other A.A. members for additional guidance or even decides to change sponsors.

When you do reach Step Four,the person you share with might be a good friend, a fellow alcoholic, a spiritual adviser, a sponsor, a therapist or another professional, but must be someone you trust. Finding someone you can trust to keep your secret is important. There may be instances where it would be wise to wait until the right time, or the right person. Around here, for example, many ( all welcome ) arrange to see one of the brothers at our local monastery. There is one in his nineties who is extremely popular.

Well done on 4 months.

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PaigeB
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by PaigeB » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:22 am

My first sponsor experience was like yours. I got a new sponsor and worked the Steps. At about 7 years sober I went through a rough patch and my second sponsor was rarely available so I got another new sponsor. I am working through the Steps for a 2nd time now! It is wonderful to KEEP growing. This sponsor is seldom not available, but she also encourages us to make and maintain bonds with sober sisters we can call too. It is a very active sponsorship line!

I love it!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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MyNameIsBetsy
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by MyNameIsBetsy » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:29 pm

Hi Kate123, welcome.
I was just wondering if anyone else had encountered similar problems and if so had any advice about what to do next.
If the sponsor relationship you have is not working, get a new one. Sponsorship relationships don't have to be life long relationships!!! If the current one is not working out, find someone who has what you want.

A few suggestions:
1) since you are an atheist, you might find someone who also is an atheist or an agnostic.
2) find someone who has a sponsor.
3) find someone who has taken the steps already
4) find someone who has time to devote to you, and
5) find someone who has what you want, someone whose shares you find yourself nodding your head up and down and saying to yourself, "She gets it."

The steps ARE the program. We recover when we work the steps.

Best of luck,
Betsy

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Jojo2
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by Jojo2 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:58 am

Kate123 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:39 pm
Hi,
she (my sponsor) keeps saying she needs to speak to friends about the best way to get me started on step work (she doesn’t have a sponsor), because I’m atheist.
You may also find the following G.S.O Pamphlet of interest, Kate:

Many Paths to Spirituality -

https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-84_ma ... uality.pdf

by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.


Working the A.A. Program

Recognizing, first of all, that we needed to stay sober, many of us began to discover that we could utilize the A.A. program without conforming to religious or spiritual concepts we either disagreed with or didn’t have.
As we became more familiar with A.A., we began to realize the deep significance in the phrasing of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, which emphasize “a Power greater than ourselves” and “God, as we understood Him”.

. . . leaving the door to spirituality open for alcoholics of all faiths, beliefs and practices, and allowing each of us to determine for himself or herself just what to believe.

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avaneesh912
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by avaneesh912 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:44 am

I would definitely say yes. Find a person who can transmit the knowledge. What un-manageability really means and how it leads us back into those strange blind spots or in some cases the obsession to drink (they get into the zone where they deliberate and be obsessed and get drunk). Obviously this person doesn't understand that newcomer needs this knowledge so they can conclude if they are one and get propelled to do the steps. I always made it a point to sit with a newcomer who is willing of course to consider working the steps with me and make sure i pass this vital information to them. Then its up to their God. Not to blame her, it could be that thats how her sponsor worked the steps with them. We are losing lot of people because of this wrong match. This one could be a hard drinker. We never know. And there are lot of them in the fellowship of AA who dont understand the urgency required for the newcomer to procure this knowledge and allow them to decide whether they are willing to take on this journey.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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PaigeB
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by PaigeB » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:40 am

Kate... I am an atheist. Or not. Maybe a Polytheist? Either way. LOL.

I sponsored one atheist. She left me for a more "spiritual" sponsor! Otherwise I seem to get Lutherans and Catholics! It is not a bad idea at all to find someone with a different idea - you will get A LOT of ideas on how to grow your own HP. I mean we cannot simply hang with those who agree with us - EACH & ALL of us has something to offer. I like to think that the Universe has what I need waiting for me to pick up and follow that gut feeling I have!

I used to think that I would get Christianized and then soon made to "go off to Africa and feed the poor." Of course THAT never happened. But at 7 years sober and without conscious thought, I chose a new sponsor who had IN FACT gone to Africa to feed the poor. She has taught me more about giving in real life than I ever thought of as a "Good without God" serving atheist! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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PaigeB
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by PaigeB » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:55 am

October 20th

SOLACE FOR CONFUSION

Obviously, the dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion.
He thinks himself lost to the comfort of any conviction at all.
He cannot attain in even a small degree the assurance of the believer, the agnostic, or the atheist. He is the bewildered one.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 28

The concept of God was one that I struggled with during my early years of sobriety. The images that came to me, conjured from my past, were heavy with fear, rejection and condemnation.
Then I heard my friend Ed's image of a Higher Power: As a boy he had been allowed a litter of puppies, provided that he assume responsibility for their care. Each morning he would find the unavoidable byproduct of the puppies on the kitchen floor.
Despite frustration, Ed said he couldn't get angry because "that's the nature of puppies".
Ed felt that God viewed our defects and shortcomings with a similar understanding and warmth.
I've often found solace from my personal confusion in Ed's calming concept of God.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Maybe Ed was an atheist too. Pretty scientific way of looking at puppies! 8)
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

Kate123
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by Kate123 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:48 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone!

Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned that I’m atheist; this isn’t a problem either in terms of my being comfortable with a HP or indeed in relation to my sponsor’s own spiritualism/HP. But I do appreciate the comments anyhow.

My question was more - how much is reasonable when it comes to a sponsor’s apparent lack of interest in a sponsee. Based on my own gut reaction and the couple of comments on this (plus talking to people in meetings), I think I need to start the search for a new sponsor. Just wanted to check in to see if this was the right decision and wasn’t based on me being self-involved and/or ever-estimating what should reasonably be expected of a sponsor.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to share their experiences, I’m truly grateful for it. :)

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avaneesh912
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:14 am

how much is reasonable when it comes to a sponsor’s apparent lack of interest in a sponsee.
You can read the chapter "Working with others" and see what the founders suggest. Pretty much on the 2nd or 3rd trip, the person who is help you should be starting to brief you about alcoholism and need for a spiritual solution. It could be she lacks the understanding of the fatality of this disease, what the newcomer is up against. There are many people in the fellowship who may not have yet reached a point of desperateness in their drinking carrier. They sensed the need for change but they havent reached a state where they were desperate enough to work the steps quickly. They assume others can also withstand pain like they did and yet stay sober on their own with the support of the fellowship. But then there are some desperate newcomers unfortunately get attracted to these kind of people and suffer.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Spirit Flower
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Re: Should I find a new sponsor?

Post by Spirit Flower » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:19 pm

It is popular nowadays to read the book together. But that is NOT how I was sponsored. We worked the steps: I was given reading and writing assignments. Then I reported on what I learned. But, when I called her daily (as instructed), she talked about herself. She didn't want to hear my stuff. After about a year, she fired me. Time to move on.

So, from what the OP said, I'd look for another sponsor.
...a score card reading zero...

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