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What to do?

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:26 am
by Tosh
I've a female alkie friend whose been struggling to stay sober for the past two years (at least); she gets periods of sobriety, say four months, then drinks again. About six months ago, I hooked her up with a female sponsor (from a different town) whom I thought would provide the guidance she required, but it seems like their contact has tapered off and the result was more drinking.

Now, this female alkie friend just lives around the corner from me (about 200 meters away); she's in her late fifties, doesn't drive, has mobility problems, and her partner is a little older. He is not an alkie and rarely drinks, however, I found out today that he beats her. I had a long phone call with her and she says she's currently sporting a black eye, so won't leave the house, however she has been given till the end of next week to move out by him (it's his house); she has nowhere to go. She tells me that it's all her fault that he beats her, when she drinks she can't control her mouth, (so he controls it by punching her; and this guy is a nurse with years of experience and should know a lot better; I've taken both of them to A.A. speaker meetings).

Anyway, I've spoken to a local women's refuge who sounded helpful, so I will pass their number onto her; I am seeing her on Friday evening (her 'partner' is working nights then), but really, this lady needs the program and someone who can provide some firm guidance and some structure. There's no females in my local area that fit the bill, I'm afraid; most haven't even attempted the steps, and the one who is 'Big Bookish' rarely goes to meetings these days; she has a demanding job and travels over 100 miles round trip because of her work. And to add to that, my friend says she wouldn't want her to be her sponsor since when this lady did her Step 5, she did it with a priest and not another person in A.A.; and then it was a 'life story' job; not a proper Step 4 with columns 'n' stuff.

So, I would like to make myself available to sponsor her (Mrs Tosh would be okay with that; she knows the lady) - she's at least fifteen years older than I, and I don't mean to sound unkind, but I don't find her sexually attractive in any way-shape-or-form, I just would like to be helpful to her. She tells me she feels comfortable with me, she never lies to me (this is what she says), and I would just like to see her get better.

But I know my sponsor would seriously disprove of this; he has had a sponsor who sponsored a woman and left his wife for her; he's pretty black 'n' white over this. He will say that even if there is no chance of anything sexually untoward happening, what happens when one of my sponsees wishes to sponsor a woman and my sponsee finds her attractive? He makes a point of sponsoring by example.

I plan to pray and meditate on this, and make a phone call to a female Big Book sponsor I know (but who lives some distance away and is having some serious health problems at the moment) for further advice, but has anyone any ESH they can pass onto me?

And just in case there's any doubt; I don't want to be her 'knight in shining armour'; I just want to be helpful, and I'm pretty busy with other guys at the moment too.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:44 am
by PaigeB
Help other than AA may be necessary for the issue of violence. The Violence Intervention Program in New York should be able to point you - and your friend - in the right direction no matter where you live. Call (800) 664-5880 to find a program near you. Domestic Violence is a serious & life threatening state of existence much life a medical condition... professional help is strongly suggested.

As for the gender/sponsorship issue - a friend is a friend. I have not had good results when asking a friend to sponsor me and I refused to sponsor family members - one side or the other seems to take precedence. A friend can still be of guidance in AA. Temporarily reading BB together until her feet find some purchase on the ground.

All any of use can do is tell our story. See today's Daily Reflection!

Remember, some drunks never recover.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:51 am
by Tosh
Thanks, Paige, but we're in the UK. Of course she could call the police (her partner regularly calls it for her); she knows this. I don't think him beating her is a frequent affair, I don't know how often or regular; but from our conversation it's been a 'few times', but I've told her to come to our house if he starts getting violent again (she's only around the corner from us).

I plan to give her the number of Women's Aid Monmouthshire, who should be to help with advice and accommodation (I hope).

Thanks for the rest of the advice; I'm off to read the Daily Reflection.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:33 pm
by marietta
First of all, bless your heart, Tosh, for seeing the need and wanting to do things "the right way." It can get pretty thorny sometimes with the gender thing and all.

My feeling is this: the woman you speak about is in her fifties. Think of all those days and weeks and months and years she has thrown away behind the haze of alcohol. She needs help and there are precious few resources for her. The people of Women's Aid Monmouthshire may be able to help her with lodging and things; but she really does need a friend. You can be a friend to her without assuming the role of sponsor. Do with her what you would do with any alcoholic who is showing a crack in the foundation: be ready to share your experience, strength and hope. I doubt that your sponsor would have a problem with that; if so, it might point to his own baggage that he needs to deal with and not with your wanting to help this person.

She deserves a second chance and may not get one if she doesn't see that friendly face and hear that voice of reassurance. My first sponsor was a man with eight years of sobriety. He helped me to get my foot in the door and then he made himself available as a compassionate and loving friend. She can find her own sponsor in time. Right now maybe all she needs is hope. You can give her that. If there's anything I can do as a woman in the program, say the word.


Re: What to do?

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:34 am
by leejosepho
Tosh wrote:... I would like to make myself available to sponsor her ...

I just want to be helpful ...
Do you know whether she actually has a desire to stop drinking? It sounds to me like she would rather just be able to drink in peace, and nothing can be done for her if that is the case.

I have cried for many people in situations such as you have described.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:46 am
by happycamper
I agree with leejoshepho on this one. It doesnt sound like the lady wants to stop drinking. She has every excuse in the book not to.
And to be perfectly honest Tosh, you seem to have alot of reasons and excuses to sponsor her ...

Anytime ... and I do mean anytime I ever went against my sponsors suggestions on Anything, it always went bad for me.
I believe its called self-will run riot ...

Re: What to do?

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:50 am
by Lali
I don't see where this lady has made any excuses to not stop drinking. Yes, she's tried and failed many times, but that's very common. You can't write her off just because of that.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:10 am
by Karl R've identified a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous Tosh? This may be where you fit in Tosh. (at least in terms of the drink question---which, after all, is what we are here to give advice on isn't it?)

from page 90 in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.
So ask her, as a friend, directly when she's lucid "do you want to quit for good and are you willing to go to any extreme to do so?".....

Begin at the beginning.

This is pretty much the first twelfth step question to ask a prospect for alcoholics anonymous. And it comes way way before a prospect is ready to be sponsored. IMHO sponsorship is usually most successful after a person is properly 12th stepped.

And keep this in mind from page 95 in Alcoholics Anonymous
If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do after he gets hurt some more.
Separate the solution you have to offer concerning the drink problem from the friendship you have for her concerning the other unmanageabilities in her life. we recover from the drink problem some of the other things start being solved in our life.


Re: What to do?

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:19 am
by Tosh
Thanks guys, you're help has been invaluable; and I will ask her tomorrow, Karl.

I spoke to her briefly on the phone today. She's not drinking, and she says her partner only gets violent when she drinks. She also says that he has compromised on their living arrangements; they live in a tiny bungalow (one bedroom, one living room, one kitchen, one bathroom) and that he's going to put Sky TV in the bedroom, so that when they need space, she can watch TV in another room.

Mad isn't it? (Rhetorical question) I have informed her that it doesn't matter what she does, drinking or not, verbally abusive or not; no-one has the right to attack her.

I'm having a coffee with her tomorrow, and I've said I'd bring the telephone number for the Woman's Aid organisation; I told her that they said they have a range of options that she could do, and she sounded interested in that; so we'll see.

I also think her bloke is lucky that I have a program I try to follow.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:51 pm
by Steven F
Hi Tosh,

Also remember that these are yes or no questions... That idea has helped me a lot myself.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:23 am
by leejosepho
Lali wrote:I don't see where this lady has made any excuses to not stop drinking. Yes, she's tried and failed many times, but that's very common. You can't write her off just because of that.
You are absolutely correct there: She should not be written off for any reason. And to try to help her, it would be best for the person Twelfth-Stepping her to know how to keep that "tried and failed many times" in perspective while conveying a picture of our overall hopelessness apart from divine help.

Re: What to do?

Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:27 pm
by Marc L
I've never been a parent so if a couple of kids who couldn't stop fighting were dumped on me I'd put them in their separate corners or rooms whatever...


Re: What to do?

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:54 pm
by Service
Just be an example don't scar her with you being able to save her like your sponsor did to you - Be a neighbor for God sakes and knock off the BS

Re: What to do?

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:23 am
by Tosh
Service wrote:Just be an example don't scar her with you being able to save her like your sponsor did to you - Be a neighbor for God sakes and knock off the BS
She's still drinking, I never scarred her, I recently lent her some garden tools, she has no interest in A.A., apart from when she's feeling suicidal and phones me.

I try not to BS! :?

Re: What to do?

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:39 pm
by Service
She knows where A.A is RIGHT? Let go and let God - don't play God sponsor