Do you really need a 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?
Steven F
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Steven F » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:11 am

There is lots of stuff to be found by and about Clarence H. Snyder. Google will help you out! ;-)

Ken, you write that you are a "rubbish sponsor". I hope you don't say that because someone didn't follow through on what you asked. Sponsors are only responsible to share their own experience and to go a bit deeper into the matter than would be possible at a meeting. Sponsors are not responsible for getting someone sober, and should also not be discouraged when someone right in the middle decides that he or she wants to work with someone else. It is not up to you to decide when and where you are useful. It is only up to you to reach out, and to take an extended hand when it presents itself.

And about the amends: best to look for someone who has had tough amends to make himself, rather than someone who has great expertise on the "mechanics" of amends...

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Marc L
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Marc L » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:37 pm

Hey Ken;
I can identify with some of those feelings you have regarding helping others.
During my 'Weekend Winner' days I went through many disapointments.
The kids would show up at the meeting. Some court ordered and others because a friend had suggested they had a problem.
I felt for them. I knew they were good kids. They had just gotten caught up in awful circumstances and were desperately looking for a way out. I did the best I knew how with the experience I had at the time and was able to reach one every once in a while.
So many are lost to The Ways of the World and it is disheartening. Over the years, though, I have learned to detach and concentrate on what is important(The AA Message). So I try to not deviate from our primary purpose as described in the Preamble. I may be perceived as a stickler but it has kept me on the path and sober through the crossfire of life in the battlefield.

Marc
Recovery won't just happen by Osmosis. You gonna' have to work at it some.
12th Step work ain't just a job... It's an Adventure.

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Ken_the_Geordie
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:28 pm

Steven F wrote: Ken, you write that you are a "rubbish sponsor".
Well, I'm not bad, I guess, I'll put the time and effort in that's required; but because I haven't been sponsored properly, I therefore didn't know if I was doing it properly. I've heard poor sponsorship breeds poor sponsorship, and in my case that was true. I've been asked to sponsor two guys (though I'm sponsoring just one now), though I've also helped a third; and I've also went through the Big Book in a sort of sponsorship way with an older lady. But I've always tended to carry the alcoholic, rather than the message; though I have learnt much from doing so; so I don't regret what I've done.

Anyway, I've since got myself a 'Big Book Sponsor', and he sponsors a lot of guys, has a good family life, has an outside interest (lawn bowls; he's old) and I like the way he sponsors me. No messing about; this is the way it is; he's laid down what he expects of me, and he asked what I expect of him. I liked that. Clear cut direction from the word 'go'. I've got set work to complete by set dates when we meet; I also go to his homegroup once a week.

So from him, I can learn how to be more effective when I sponsor other guys. As he says, my knowledge of the programme is pretty good, it just needs some 'joining up', so when I transmit the information, it's given in a logical and bitesize manner; (or something like that).
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Blue Moon
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Blue Moon » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:00 am

Ken_the_Geordie wrote: I've heard poor sponsorship breeds poor sponsorship
I think that depends on the motives involved. I think the best way to help a newcomer is to really study (not read - study) the Big Book, particularly those parts which a sponsee is most likely to need urgently - the Doctor's opinion and first 5-6 chapters. If someone's suffering from an urgent crisis likely to result in a drink, there may not be a lot of time to say "hang on, I read somewhere in the Big Book about self-will run riot, let me try to find it".

Of course, there may be a thin line between this and being a book-thumper. The latter is not attraction, even though we tend to see it quite a lot.
But I've always tended to carry the alcoholic, rather than the message
So I've noticed ;) IMO this is normal - we get well, then want the rest of the world to get well also. It takes time and experience to realise just how much they've got to want it first.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

soberpj
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by soberpj » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:15 pm

My sponsor of 31 mos (I have 32 mos sobriety) fired me last night. We had become very close in our time together. He was like the big brother I wish mine had actually been. We were both single and hung out a lot together. I told him everything. We spoke almost daily. I recently moved 2 1/2 hours away for work, and we agreed if Bill and Bob could do it (long distance sponsorship) so could we.

He then got a girlfriend and I was afraid of what would happen to our relationship. I told him how he felt and that I knew this was my issue, not his, and that I was truly happy for them. Then some of my character defects started popping up: gossiping behind his back, etc. I soon realized what I was doing and told him about it and apologized. I have been working a daily 10th step to work on these defects.

Fast forward two weeks and he calls me last night and says that he feels our sponsor/sponsee relationship has come to an end as he is hearing about all the gossiping I had been doing. He also stated that he wasn't a good sponsor anyway and had let me down. I reminded him that I had told him what I had done, apologized and was working on changing my behaviors. I also told him that the evidence of how good a sponsor he was is in the program that I work today. Anyway, he ended that call hoping we could still be friends. I told him for now, I need my space to process what has happened, that maybe one day that would work, but right now I am not sure.

My problem is that I am not sure I can ever open up to someone like I was able to open up with him. I have a good group of friends in my new groups where I moved. I think I am more inclined to use my sober friends with "good" sobriety to bounce things off of. From what I read here, others do that as well.

Anyway, I just needed to get that off my chest. I am hurting...but don't want to drink, that will not solve anything. I have talked to a guy in my new group this evening about it and he says I have done my part by recognizing what I had done, apologizing for it and working the steps to correct my behavior. He says I am giving my former sponsor too much real estate in my head. It is just hard to let go of a relationship that ran as deeply as ours did.

OK, gonna go lay down, read some literature and get some sleep. Thanks for listening to me!

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Tosh
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Tosh » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:46 am

Welcome to the forum, PJ. I am the one (Ken the Geordie) who started this post a few years back now. I did eventually find a good Big Book based sponsor and do this thing in a more honest fashion than I'd done it before.

For me, having a strong sponsor was a vital step; facing my past wasn't easy for me and my sponsor helped me do that.

Now, I tend to phone him about once-per-week and we meet up every few months or so. He checks where I am with my amends and always pays an interest in who I'm working with. He's also there if I get some good ideas or want to bounce a problem off him; but we're definitely not in each others pockets, we're not best buddies, but I love the guy (in the right way).

Why not just keep your eyes open and you might meet someone whom you would want to be your next sponsor? I think if we sponsor (which I hope we all wish to do so), then really, we also should have a sponsor; but that's just my opinion.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Layne
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Layne » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:45 am

Relationships change and evolve as part of the cycle of life. It also is only natural to feel loss and pain sometimes when relationships do change. As long as we are receptive, there are always lessons being taught to us.
Anyway, I just needed to get that off my chest. I am hurting...but don't want to drink, that will not solve anything.
You have learned to talk about things. You are experiencing hurt without having to resort to alcohol to deal with it. You acknowledge that drinking would not be a solution. How great are all these things! The change in your relationship was the vehicle to show you these lessons. Rejoice in your sobriety and the distance traveled thus far. Thank your past and your guides and be grateful for messages shown. Time for new horizons.

soberpj
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by soberpj » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:33 pm

Thanks, guys! Two days since "the conversation" and I am feeling a little better and have opened up to the possibility of another sponsor one day. The guy from my group I spoke with the other day offered himself as a temporary sponsor until I make a decision. I love this program so much, and the people in it. Some days I cannot believe I was once the person that I was when I came through those doors! Thanks again, and I will definitely be perusing the boards!!

P. J.

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strawberry
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by strawberry » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:58 am

John Boy wrote:Being accountable to someone is vital. Call/Label that person what you may. Don't just think it's going to be you and God and that's it. Alcohol is a subtle foe!
I agree which is why I signed up for temporary sponsor. If there is no one that I have to be accountable to, my mind will justify drinking.

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johnd
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by johnd » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:11 pm

Welcome Strawberry to the forum, you are absolutely correct Thanks John D grateful alcoholic :)
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

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strawberry
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by strawberry » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:15 pm

Thank you for the welcome!

Service
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Service » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:04 pm

Everone WANT'S and NEEDS a savior - I am glad I know who to thank today without promoting people and harming newcomers - The #1 killer in A.A is the outside parol system and many promot it not understanding the 1st tradition of A.A - " No member is to make anyone comform or belive in anything" Take a closer look Conformests !!!! :?:

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Tommy-S
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Tommy-S » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:45 pm

Service wrote:Everone WANT'S and NEEDS a savior
Sorry, but I don't want and need a Savior... Every sponsor I have had taught me how to stand on my feet, They weren't 'baby-sitters', they were Men who were successfully staying sober, and willing to help me... And I was Humbled enough by Alcohol to enough to Know I needed their help, and man enough to lose the Fear of Trusting some one else.

They never failed me :)

There is some good information on Sponsorship in the AA pamphlet, "Question and Answers on Sponsorship", which you can read & download for free from our AA website. http://www.aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?c ... product=17

On page 7, under "What is Sponsorship?", it says:
"In AA, sponsor and sponsored meet as equals, just as Bill & Dr. Bob did. Essentially, the process of sponsorship is this: An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA"
Thanks... 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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johnd
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by johnd » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:28 pm

Wish I read this topic at it's original posting.
Do you really need a sponsor? Well, I know I couldn't of handled the early days of getting sober quite successfully without the experience of a sponsor, who had learned from his sponsor and his sponsor before that.As I became more grounded in AA, I became very close to my 1st Sponsor as he would say we had a bond. His living situation had changed when I was about 5 years sober. He got an oppurtunity to live where he had hoped for so he took it. We talked about seeking another sponsor. I tried someone for about 3 months. He was insisting that I do AA his way or he won't Sponsor me. He even called my 1st Sponsor to ask if I was just as stubborn with him. My 1st sponsor had explained that I have time in AA that I already knew the drill. I laugh now kinda like a school teacher calling my dad to discipline me. Needless to say it didn't work out between him and I. I just kept in touch with my original sponsor and visited him from time to time. I heard it said at a couple of different 12 step groups that you can co-sponsor one another until you find an actual sponsor. I thought ironic cause that was what I had been doing since. Although I do actually have a sponsor now kind of unofficial but I know he knows. As long as I continue doing what I'm doing, going to meetings, asking for help , talking with another alcoholic, going out on commitments,practice the principles in all my affairs, i'll be doing what my sponsor guided me to do. I believe that everyone in someway sponsors each other. Another great topic.I never hear enough about sponsors. They are the living examples of how AA works. My name is John D
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

Service
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Re: Do you really need a sponsor?

Post by Service » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:32 am

A parole officer is need when a person has no principles/values, some call them institutions – With Gods help we don’t have to do sober what we done drinking and that is not know where were at or know what to do – never knew doing nothing was leaving it up to God but for a long time I was to diverted and pulled into the arena by control freaks around A.A surly not in it.

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