First sponsor but not going well

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?
Narruc01
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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by Narruc01 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:19 am

Hi Alibaba, I had problems with my first sponsor and I was early in my sobriety. I left it too long and it became a problem. I would terminate the arrangement kindly and quickly and think very carefully of what you want before choosing another. Nobody in AA can tell you how to achieve sobriety, everyone is there to tell you how they achieved it and hope that that is helpful to you. You are not there to answer any demands except those of your sobriety. I know that many people take up sponsoring because of a burning need to pass on their own sobriety, which is well meant but not necessarily in the interests of the sponsee. Just keep turning up at meetings and it will all resolve itself. Good luck and love in the fellowship. x

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by DaveP1951 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:02 am

Narruc01 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:19 am
Hi Alibaba, I had problems with my first sponsor and I was early in my sobriety. I left it too long and it became a problem. I would terminate the arrangement kindly and quickly and think very carefully of what you want before choosing another. Nobody in AA can tell you how to achieve sobriety, everyone is there to tell you how they achieved it and hope that that is helpful to you. You are not there to answer any demands except those of your sobriety. I know that many people take up sponsoring because of a burning need to pass on their own sobriety, which is well meant but not necessarily in the interests of the sponsee. Just keep turning up at meetings and it will all resolve itself. Good luck and love in the fellowship. x
Believe me when I say "That is the most encouraging statement I have heard in some time." Well said.

Alibaba33
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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by Alibaba33 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 5:51 pm

Narruc01 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:19 am
Hi Alibaba, I had problems with my first sponsor and I was early in my sobriety. I left it too long and it became a problem. I would terminate the arrangement kindly and quickly and think very carefully of what you want before choosing another. Nobody in AA can tell you how to achieve sobriety, everyone is there to tell you how they achieved it and hope that that is helpful to you. You are not there to answer any demands except those of your sobriety. I know that many people take up sponsoring because of a burning need to pass on their own sobriety, which is well meant but not necessarily in the interests of the sponsee. Just keep turning up at meetings and it will all resolve itself. Good luck and love in the fellowship. x

Thank you. That message means a lot. I will keep turning up. Ive terminated the arrangement and kept it short and polite. Right now things are awkward at meetings as she’s not really speaking to me and behaving very off. But to me, that only confirms I’ve made the right decision. It’ll blow over soon and get easier going forward no doubt.
It’s interesting what you said above because I spoke to some other members and they also had the same experience. One said they would dread calling their sponsor because they had nothing to say and then would just have to listen to their sponsor moan for ages about random things, like the weather, that weren’t even relevant to sobriety. I’m sure it’s really helpful for many people to have this kind of arrangement if it suits them but I don’t thinks fair to impose this on people when it’s not suitable. For some newcomers being told you have to call someone everyday and then to discover you have to listen to their own everyday issues is very off putting.
Following this experience I’ve thought about not going to meetings anymore because I’d rather not have to see her and feel so awkward. Instead, just continue reading the big book and working the steps. But I forced myself to meetings this week although I’m not enjoying it and I’m not sharing at the moment because I don’t feel comfortable anymore. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone new to AA. The last thing you need when you join AA is getting a bunch of sponsorship issues, then having to go through the awkward process of terminating the sponsorship, then that person acting like you don’t exist when you go to meetings and then feeling v uncomfortable.
It’s a very good lesson to learn which I’m grateful for. I’ve even lost two nights sleep and one day of work (I was so tired from being awake all night I couldn’t work the next day) worrying about my sponsorship situation. And I will not be letting that happen ever again. I’d be eager to give newcomers a heads up too to make sure they set expectations with their sponsor before agreeing anything. I was asked would I go to any lengths to achieve sobriety, which I am. And because I read the book thought I knew what I was letting myself in for. But sometimes other people’s lengths can be quite different to your own. Ive learnt it’s v important to establish that in the beginning. x

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Jojo2
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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by Jojo2 » Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:25 am

Alibaba33 wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 5:51 pm

Ive terminated the arrangement and kept it short and polite. Right now things are awkward at meetings as she’s not really speaking to me and behaving very off. But to me, that only confirms I’ve made the right decision.

The last thing you need when you join AA is getting a bunch of sponsorship issues, then having to go through the awkward process of terminating the sponsorship, then that person acting like you don’t exist when you go to meetings and then feeling v uncomfortable.
and ... breathe !

As you say, you have made the right decision. Good move.

I can relate to your situation, having experienced similar when very new to AA.
From my very first meeting, I felt embraced by hope and a sense of belonging. I determined that nobody was going to intimidate me or frighten me away.

I had 6 to 8 meetings a week, at most of which would be many of the same familiar faces so our paths continued... and still continue... to cross.

The initial tension was very short lived. Many months later, she apologised and explained that she had felt embarrassed and a failure as I was her first sponsee, but her sponsor had helped her to see that it wasn't personal and, even better, that we were both sober.
Many years later, we continue to see each other. We have both remained sober. We have both sponsored many others since our initial meeting.


Well done you for continuing to attend meetings. This too shall pass.

Her reaction is her problem not yours.

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by DaveP1951 » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:26 am

"and explained that she had felt embarrassed and a failure as I was her first sponsee, but her sponsor had helped her to see that it wasn't personal and, even better, that we were both sober."
Good point and may well be the case in this situation. Some times what we may take as an affront to ourselves may in fact not be a "snub" but the persons inability to face us due to the awkwardness involved.

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by tomsteve » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:07 pm

Alibaba33 wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 5:51 pm
.
Following this experience I’ve thought about not going to meetings anymore because I’d rather not have to see her and feel so awkward. Instead, just continue reading the big book and working the steps. But I forced myself to meetings this week although I’m not enjoying it and I’m not sharing at the moment because I don’t feel comfortable anymore. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone new to AA. The last thing you need when you join AA is getting a bunch of sponsorship issues, then having to go through the awkward process of terminating the sponsorship, then that person acting like you don’t exist when you go to meetings and then feeling v uncomfortable.
welp, theres a way to stop feeling uncomfortable.
step out of your comfort zone. stop allowing someone else control how you feel and how you act, and start sharing at meetings.

now to the meat and potatoes of this-
WHY do you feel akward/uncomfortable at meetings? shes just another human-warts and all.
why does her acting like you dont exist bother you?
this is a great lesson for ya, Ali:
we're all there but we're not all there. :D

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by D'oh » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:34 pm

Hello Allibaba

I was taught, to "Choose a Sponsor. You simply find someone who Has what you Want." Then ask them "How did You get that?"

Be "What you want, A Trophy Wife, a Nice Car, A Beautiful Home, or of course a Serenity/Persona/Character.

It is not the Sponsor's Fault that your Life is Hectic, in fact one of the 10th Step Promises is
We will not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were drinking
I actually watched this with a Sponsee once at lunch. We met at McD's walked in together, he immediately ordered, run to find a Booth, within a minute or so.

Anyways, I was less enthusiastic, ordered, sat with my order. He was up and down 3 times for Napkins, Salt and forgot a Pie. I was 1/2 way through my Big Mac before he sat down.

Slowing Down, sometimes makes things faster.

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by Soberguy27 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:39 pm

Ok, first off most who sponsor have good intentions and are willing to help you because they care. That said, sponsors are not psychiatrists, therapists, or doctors though some may feel as if they are. Secondly you are an adult and can make your own decisions.

A sponsor is someone who guides you through the steps, not someone who controls your life. I would drop this sponsor asap. She sounds like an aa natzi. I have seen people like this in aa and to me, this is a pure ego thing.
Find someone who has what you want. Ask them how they sponsor and explain your availability. You are not a teenager who is fresh out of rehab and doesn't have to work. Calling your sponsor everyday isn't a bad thing even if it's for 5 minutes just to check in.

I have sponsored many men for well over twenty years( I'll have 30 years on the 28th of this month) and I understand people have responsibilities. That said if you are serious about staying sober you need to make some time for meetings. Try making one to two meetings a week if possible and there are always the weekends for meetings. If you made time to drink then you should be able to make time for recovery. Get another sponsor and good luck.

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by PaigeB » Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:48 pm

Soberguy27 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:39 pm
I'll have 30 years on the 28th of this month
Wooohooo CONGRATS! :D :) :o =surprised =sad =biggrin :evil: :wink: :mrgreen: :shock: :lol: :) :P =smile =confused 8) =geek :idea: :arrow:
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: First sponsor but not going well

Post by retired baker » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:08 pm

tomsteve wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:37 am
Alibaba33 wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:04 pm
, that I’m affecting their sobriety when I don’t call because they’re worrying I’m drinking.
Ali, that alone says the sponsor isnt good sponsor material. That,imo, is someone with untreated co-dependency and trying to take a hostage rather than help an alcoholic recovery.
If you are affecting her sobriety then so is every newcomer.
NO-ONE affects her sobriety unless she allows it.
Yes, that caught my eye too.
Someone worrying like that is still playing God. Humans make terrible gods.

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by retired baker » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:21 pm

Alibaba33 wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:04 pm
Any advice would be very much appreciated. Many thanks
experience , not advice.

My sponsor told me to go write my 4th before the next meeting, I did and was into step 9 the same week.

Dr Bob lived 12 yrs after meeting Bill, he sponsored 5000 alcoholics. The math is simple.
Thats approx 3 every 5 days. He didn't say call me every morning, he said call God and do the work.
And thats how they got well, it still works if honestly tried, dragging the process out isn't honestly anything.
Procrastination is a form of defiance.

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Jojo2
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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by Jojo2 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:16 am

retired baker wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:21 pm

Procrastination is a form of defiance.


I like that. Thank you for sharing.

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by Spirit Flower » Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:27 pm

PaigeB wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:48 pm
Soberguy27 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:39 pm
I'll have 30 years on the 28th of this month
Wooohooo CONGRATS! :D :) :o =surprised =sad =biggrin :evil: :wink: :mrgreen: :shock: :lol: :) :P =smile =confused 8) =geek :idea: :arrow:
ditto
...a score card reading zero...

Alibaba33
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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by Alibaba33 » Sat May 09, 2020 6:15 pm

Thank you for all your replies,
stories and words of experience. I’m happy to say I’ve now found a new sponsor and now beginning to progress again. Had a terrible time since I initially wrote this but thankfully better again now. I’m a healthcare professional and fell very unwell recently and ended up in hospital for a while (not alcohol related - nearly 7months sober now). But thankfully I’m home and doing alright.
This whole thing with the sponsorship was a big learning curve for me and I’ve made the right decision. I’m still in contact with initial sponsor and it’s fine now. And we pray for each other. I think demons also got the better of me, in terms of having to terminate the sponsorship. Because I fear hurting people’s feelings and letting people down in case they think bad of me. She did dedicate her time to me and shared her knowledge and for that I’m v grateful. I’m a pure people pleaser and this experience, I believe now with hindsight, was a test of strength, hope and courage. I have to stop letting others control how I feel.
I can’t change other people’s behaviour but with courage I can change how I think about it.
So now that issue is out of the way I am moving on. Its action time and I’m now able to focus on the real issue and why I joined the fellowship in the first place ...to stay sober and work the program in the big book!
Thanks again for all your support Xxx

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Re: First sponsor but not going well

Post by MyNameIsBetsy » Sat May 09, 2020 9:03 pm

This is such a wonderful posting, Alibaba. Thank you so much for sharing an update with us. Closing in on 7 months sober!! WooHoo!!!! I'm so happy that things have turned around for you.

Betsy, an alcoholic
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."

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