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Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:48 am
by Soberguy27
I will be sober 30 years in a couple of days. I have had the same sponsor for almost 20 of those years. The thing is that in the beginning he was great and a big help but, as time went on and things settled down for me I have less to talk to him about. Nothing has come up for the last 12 years that I needed to talk to him about.
So, I was wondering how close some of you who have been sober more than 20 years are with your sponsor? I mean I still talk to him maybe a couple of times a year otherwise I have friends with similar amounts of time that I bounce things off of and so we kinda sponsor each other. I do go to meetings and have sponcees which keep me busy and my life is quite good.
I just wonder if there is a point when you have long term sobriety that you use your sponsor less than you did before?
Also, I live about an hour away from my sponsor but talk more to my friend with over 28 years who lives in Hawaii than I do with my sponsor.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Also I was thinking about finding a sponsor in my city but no one comes to mind at this time.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:08 am
by shangc1107
Hi Soberguy,

Thank you for your question and I look forward to following this thread. My sponsor and I have a relationship that is focused on working together to share the gift of sobriety that we’ve been given. This was really hard for me at first, because I’ve seen sponsorship done so many ways and I had this false and selfish ideal of what it should be in my head. After working the steps, and making my list for step 8 I realized I really needed to put her on the list. My relationship with her was very selfish and self-seeking. Fix me, pat me on the head, console me, tell me what to do…whah whah whah…my amends to her is to work together like Bill and Bob to share the program of AA.

She’s definitely on my list of people I talk to for step 10, but she’s not the only one. My suggestion would be look for someone who sponsors differently than you do. Look for someone you could learn something from in that respect.

Thanks for letting me share!
Shanna

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:58 am
by AlfaGeek
Great topic and very pertinent for long time AA members. First, I would remind us all that a sponsor is not there to be your friend but to take you through the steps. We all also utilize our sponsors for problems that ruffle our serenity.

It seems that you are concerned that you aren't using your sponsor enough... so call once in a while. Or, perhaps it is time to find a sponsor near you - it is no sin to tell your old sponsor that you feel the need for a new sponsor or one closer to you. I was 19.5 years sober when I lost my sponsor (death), then cut back meetings, then stopped praying, then.... relapse. Now 8 years back in the program, I realize that I must actively engage in 100% of the program, not pick and choose the parts that are convenient or I will relapse. My sponsor and I do not talk every day or even every week, but we do talk several times a month, especially when I am struggling with something. Our large sponsor family eats together once a quarter and I see both my sponsor family and my sponsor at my homegroup meeting every week (mostly). My strong advice to you is to NOT let this go unsolved. You can get a temporary sponsor until you pick a more permanent one. You don't have to be friends; a sponsor should be someone who has what you want (in the program).

When was the last time you went through the steps? These are not a "one time and done" process. Continued spiritual growth is a foundation of AA. This could be a "renewal year" for you. Are you getting complacent? That's very dangerous territory for me. I can't afford another relapse so I'm "all in".

b

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:46 pm
by Jojo2
AlfaGeek wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:58 am
Great topic and very pertinent for long time AA members. First, I would remind us all that a sponsor is not there to be your friend but to take you through the steps. We all also utilize our sponsors for problems that ruffle our serenity.

You can get a temporary sponsor until you pick a more permanent one. You don't have to be friends; a sponsor should be someone who has what you want (in the program).


b

Well said.

We do offer a Temporary Sponsor Facility at e-AA.

To request a temporary sponsor to get you started with the AA programme, please complete our form here:

http://www.e-aa.org/form_sponsors.php

A temporary sponsor is a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous who is willing to share their experience, strength, and hope with another alcoholic as a way of service to help insure their own sobriety.

Their main function is to help guide the new person towards the 12 Steps, and also, where appropriate, to help guide the new person to face to face meetings and a f2f sponsor in their local AA community.

We assign women for women and men for men.

An excellent introduction 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

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:08 pm
by Brock
I wanted to comment on this tread from the time it first went up, but my feelings about sponsorship, vary so much from that of the majority, I was afraid I might put others off, and kill the thread. Also, I sometimes get carried away in writing, and trust that others respect that we can have different opinions, disagree, without meaning to be disagreeable. Now that the thread is going strong, I will say my bit, please remember that it’s just an opinion.

I believe that relying on a sponsor for advise and support, is setting the groundwork for codependency. All posters here are saying words to the effect, that a sponsor’s job is to take us through the steps. What happens after that is written in the AA book ‘Living Sober.’ - “And the best sponsors are really delighted when the newcomer is able to step out past the stage of being sponsored.” It goes on to say that it does not mean we have to then be entirely alone, rather, we may discuss things with anyone, as Soberguy wrote - “I have friends with similar amounts of time that I bounce things off…” Personally, I prefer what’s suggested in the book - “We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.” Therefore my sponsor is my higher power, and I sometimes discuss little things in life with my wife, I don’t ask anyone in AA for advise, although I am close to several folks I respect and like.

AlfaGeek is quite new to this site, and I don’t want to put him off, but here again my views are different to his. A long time member here Paige, sometimes speaks about this idea of doing the steps again, and also her ‘sponsor family,’ so some do agree with this approach. But I don’t see this anywhere in the literature, steps 10 – 12 keeps us sober, and built into 10 is a mini run through the steps anyway, a sort of daily reminder. I feel to cry, when some trembling newcomer is sitting in a meeting, looking at 4 & 5 and balking, but hopefully feeling ‘I think I can,’ then someone speaks of doing it more than once!

My dislike of sponsorship families or lines, is based on the likelihood that they will all do things in a similar fashion, if a ‘mistake’ is being made, it will pass from one to the next. Just like there are certain mistakes we feel our parents made, so we bring up our own children a little differently, we should move away from these sponsorship lines or families.

One last point and I will put away the soapbox. Some clowns at GSO, write stuff about sponsors must have a sponsor of their own, never mind their own book quoted earlier says differently. And some members here say the same to newcomers, ‘make sure your sponsor has a sponsor of his own.’ That leaves folks like me out of sponsoring I guess, but better that than if I run into a problem with a sponsee, then turn and ask my sponsor, who quite likely took me through the steps, and taught me all he knows. No no no, it would be far better to ask other experienced AA members, whose knowledge has not already been passed to me.

Sorry, one more soapbox point. If we are getting complacent, we have not got a sufficient understanding of step 11, never mind hitting more meetings and talking to sponsors. Anyone who understands what it’s like to live spiritually, (the whole idea of this step), can not get complacent. The spiritual life is the good life, as promised in the book, if life is not feeling like those promises, talking to the higher power is the answer, meditation and studying good spiritual writers is also important, “we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action,” if they thought calling a sponsor was better, they would have said so.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:30 pm
by Layne
“we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action,”
Definitely good advice.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:29 pm
by Spirit Flower
I have 34 years of sobriety and haven't had a sponsor for about 20 years.

But I do have friends in the program to talk to.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:33 am
by retired baker
Soberguy27 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:48 am
I will be sober 30 years in a couple of days. I have had the same sponsor for almost 20 of those years. The thing is that in the beginning he was great and a big help but, as time went on and things settled down for me I have less to talk to him about. Nothing has come up for the last 12 years that I needed to talk to him about.
So, I was wondering how close some of you who have been sober more than 20 years are with your sponsor? I mean I still talk to him maybe a couple of times a year otherwise I have friends with similar amounts of time that I bounce things off of and so we kinda sponsor each other. I do go to meetings and have sponcees which keep me busy and my life is quite good.
I just wonder if there is a point when you have long term sobriety that you use your sponsor less than you did before?
Also, I live about an hour away from my sponsor but talk more to my friend with over 28 years who lives in Hawaii than I do with my sponsor.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Also I was thinking about finding a sponsor in my city but no one comes to mind at this time.
My sponsor told me 20 years ago his role was to guide me through the steps, I turned my life and will over to God, not my sponsor.
He became my friend, we started a meeting, we both moved away after 5 years but stay in touch.
I call him my sponsor but he isn't in reality. He was, not is.

Silkworth's Doctors opinion spells it out, "having placed his reliance on things human his life becomes unmanageable."
Whilst a helpful chat is welcome but in all things I am to turn to the Father of Light.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:32 am
by tomsteve
not quite 20 years, but comin up on 15 years next month here. i havent spoken to my sponsor in 2 weeks. before that it was a couple month.
no problems i needed help with-just catchin up on life and laughin some.
he taught me how to incorporate the steps into every day life. very rarely have a problem i need assistance with but when they come up, i have friends i talk to about it,too.
i dont call my sponsor my sponsor except in meetings-when sharing how i learned something.
other than that, hes my friend.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 4:42 am
by retired baker
tomsteve wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:32 am
not quite 20 years, but comin up on 15 years next month here. i havent spoken to my sponsor in 2 weeks. before that it was a couple month.
no problems i needed help with-just catchin up on life and laughin some.
he taught me how to incorporate the steps into every day life. very rarely have a problem i need assistance with but when they come up, i have friends i talk to about it,too.
i dont call my sponsor my sponsor except in meetings-when sharing how i learned something.
other than that, hes my friend.
Dr Bob said sometimes you have to sponsor yourself.
I have a good laugh at myself on a regular basis.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:39 am
by Tommy-S
Hello folks,

I'm reminded when I read these replies of a live meeting I attended some ten years back. The topic became "How many meetings do I need?'" with the replies ranging from everyday to once a week.

I had finished up some time in Iraq prior to this, and meetings were sometime few and far between. So I could honestly reply that I could go weeks without a meeting. However, that little voice in my head reminded me that while I may be 'OK' (according to the poorer standards I content myself with as being 'OK'), there may be someone who needs help I could be giving.

Giving, rather than getting, becomes the guiding principle.

Looking back, I can see the difference between my 'sponsored' times and my 'do it myself' times'... the sponsored times have always had a better quality. Of myself I am nothing.... as the adage goes

So I'll keep doing sponsorship because I like what I get.

And thankfully, when the selfishness kicks in and I have had occasions to tell AA I don't need it, I'm grateful AA's never told me 'it don't need me"

Thanks... Tommy

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:42 am
by Cindyinthe6
Thanks to everyone for sharing - I approached this forum with trepidation, but I'm happy to find so much variety. I rarely share my own experience, because it is unorthodox, but occasionally I think there may be other oddballs who may relate, so here goes:

I had a strong relationship with a sponsor when I was new but she lost interest in me after I got my first year and I had several sponsors in the next few years. I'm sure I benefitted and learned from each of them, and I did lots of work trying to see my part in the problems I had with them. It's true that I'm not great at relationships (maybe others can relate!).

Finally, about 7 years ago, with fourteen years of sobriety, I found myself alone and dealing with bullying at my low-paying job, and terrible anxiety. I got yet another sponsor, and we did some work together, but it became one more failed relationship. What really saved me was developing a stronger relationship with God. It is, after all, a spiritual program. So I enlarged my spiritual life, as Bill advised. I began to use prayer and meditation as I'd used alcohol - and I found that being around nature, in parks and gardens, helped too. I still work the steps, go to meetings and share when I can (though most often I listen, partly because I believe listening to others is a form of service) and I do the work necessary to maintain my most important relationship, with the God of my understanding who makes my sobriety possible.

I'm still open to the possibility of sponsorship - Keep An Open Mind is an excellent slogan! But not having one is not going to stop my trudging the road.

And now, as the old timers used to say, "By the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I haven't found it necessary to pick up a drink since November 29, 1998".

Love and service to all,
Cindyinthe6
=geek

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:21 pm
by rjr34036
Brock wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:08 pm
I wanted to comment on this tread from the time it first went up, but my feelings about sponsorship, vary so much from that of the majority, I was afraid I might put others off, and kill the thread. Also, I sometimes get carried away in writing, and trust that others respect that we can have different opinions, disagree, without meaning to be disagreeable. Now that the thread is going strong, I will say my bit, please remember that it’s just an opinion.

I believe that relying on a sponsor for advise and support, is setting the groundwork for codependency. All posters here are saying words to the effect, that a sponsor’s job is to take us through the steps. What happens after that is written in the AA book ‘Living Sober.’ - “And the best sponsors are really delighted when the newcomer is able to step out past the stage of being sponsored.” It goes on to say that it does not mean we have to then be entirely alone, rather, we may discuss things with anyone, as Soberguy wrote - “I have friends with similar amounts of time that I bounce things off…” Personally, I prefer what’s suggested in the book - “We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.” Therefore my sponsor is my higher power, and I sometimes discuss little things in life with my wife, I don’t ask anyone in AA for advise, although I am close to several folks I respect and like.

AlfaGeek is quite new to this site, and I don’t want to put him off, but here again my views are different to his. A long time member here Paige, sometimes speaks about this idea of doing the steps again, and also her ‘sponsor family,’ so some do agree with this approach. But I don’t see this anywhere in the literature, steps 10 – 12 keeps us sober, and built into 10 is a mini run through the steps anyway, a sort of daily reminder. I feel to cry, when some trembling newcomer is sitting in a meeting, looking at 4 & 5 and balking, but hopefully feeling ‘I think I can,’ then someone speaks of doing it more than once!

My dislike of sponsorship families or lines, is based on the likelihood that they will all do things in a similar fashion, if a ‘mistake’ is being made, it will pass from one to the next. Just like there are certain mistakes we feel our parents made, so we bring up our own children a little differently, we should move away from these sponsorship lines or families.

One last point and I will put away the soapbox. Some clowns at GSO, write stuff about sponsors must have a sponsor of their own, never mind their own book quoted earlier says differently. And some members here say the same to newcomers, ‘make sure your sponsor has a sponsor of his own.’ That leaves folks like me out of sponsoring I guess, but better that than if I run into a problem with a sponsee, then turn and ask my sponsor, who quite likely took me through the steps, and taught me all he knows. No no no, it would be far better to ask other experienced AA members, whose knowledge has not already been passed to me.

Sorry, one more soapbox point. If we are getting complacent, we have not got a sufficient understanding of step 11, never mind hitting more meetings and talking to sponsors. Anyone who understands what it’s like to live spiritually, (the whole idea of this step), can not get complacent. The spiritual life is the good life, as promised in the book, if life is not feeling like those promises, talking to the higher power is the answer, meditation and studying good spiritual writers is also important, “we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action,” if they thought calling a sponsor was better, they would have said so.
Thank you Brock! A while back you shared your views on sponsorship with me and it validated some things for me. From what I know of the program, it sets us up to live life. AA has become a permanent part of my world, but it isn’t the focal point like it once was when I had nothing else going on for myself (back when I had just destroyed my life, had nothing left and 3 meetings a day was normal). Today I’ve been given a family to tend to, a host of friends to build relationships with, daily tasks, and so much more. So I take the principles with me into all of These things. Idk, that’s just how I choose to do it. AA & the 12 steps are the foundation that everything has been built on, but I don’t like to live in a space to feel like I’m chained to this or that out of fear. (i.e., if I don’t go to 4 meetings a week I’ll disconnect and die”). Lol I think I went way off topic, but I appreciate you bringing up the potential for codependency that’s advocated in some parts of the fellowship.

Re: Sponsorship after long time sobriety

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:55 pm
by tomsteve
Cindyinthe6 wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:42 am
What really saved me was developing a stronger relationship with God. It is, after all, a spiritual program. So I enlarged my spiritual life, as Bill advised. I began to use prayer and meditation as I'd used alcohol - and I found that being around nature, in parks and gardens, helped too. I still work the steps, go to meetings and share when I can (though most often I listen, partly because I believe listening to others is a form of service) and I do the work necessary to maintain my most important relationship, with the God of my understanding who makes my sobriety possible.

I'm still open to the possibility of sponsorship - Keep An Open Mind is an excellent slogan! But not having one is not going to stop my trudging the road.

And now, as the old timers used to say, "By the grace of God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I haven't found it necessary to pick up a drink since November 29, 1998".

Love and service to all,
Cindyinthe6
=geek
cindy, THAT is what THE program is all about:
Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.

Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God.

We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator.



i couldnt imagine any more going through life being dependent on people.
i did that when i was drinkin. look where that led me. :D
now,early on in recovery? not necessarily dependent on people but on their wisdom. real early on i was still quite afraid to call others- i had a very low self esteem and thought people wouldnt want to help me.
i prayed a lot and read the bb a lot. seemed to have worked-im still sober and not the man i used to be.