What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

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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Tosh
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What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Tosh » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:01 am

after a good period of sobriety?

I've been sponsoring a 25 year old for some months now; (about six?), and I took him through the Big Book, however, since he is almost completely illiterate I had to write his Step 4 with him. Consequentially, when I heard his Step 5, I'd already heard it from doing his Step 4 with him; and it didn't have the transforming effect that happened to me or that I've seen in other guys.

But we cracked on anyway, and he made a few amends and then not a lot. I feel a little guilty for not keeping the pressure on him to finish those amends.

Anyway, his Mum has just phoned me to tell me he's back drinking, and maybe he started last week; she's sure she smelt alcohol on his breath. It makes it a little awkward that she's asked me not to tell my sponsee that she's phoned me to let me know!

This is a first for me; the guys that I sponsor that get through the program to the amends stage have all stayed sober so far (funnily enough eh?).

I'll phone my sponsor (he prefers calls in the early morning; he goes into work early specifically for this purpose and to check his e-mails) and ask his advice, but I'd be interested to hear what you guys do?
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)

Lali
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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Lali » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:05 am

I really wouldn't tell him his mother told you. It would probably cause a resentment. I wouldnt tell him who told you. You could have heard this from someone in a meeting for all he knows.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:34 am

Ignore this person and wait for him to approach you. If he is not admitting that he relapsed, they you can quiz him a bit without telling where you got the information from. And then if he is willing, take him though the steps once more. Obviously he has not understood the powerlessness.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by PaigeB » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:36 am

I would just carry on as usual. If YOU smell booze you can mention it. Has he stopped meeting with you/calling you? You can ask about that.

Hearsay should not be used against him. The discussion will be difficult enough using only the facts.
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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Tosh
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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Tosh » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:41 am

Lali wrote:I really wouldn't tell him his mother told you. It would probably cause a resentment. I wouldnt tell him who told you. You could have heard this from someone in a meeting for all he knows.
I won't, Lali; I promised his Mum I wouldn't. She's not frightened of him (she has other 'big' sons who live at home with her), but she doesn't want any more grief. My sponsee doesn't live with his Mum, but this is a fairly small town and I knew his Mum by 'sight' before he came to A.A.. I'm fairly distinctive - being Japanese with a Geordie accent - so when my sponsee described me to his Mum, she knew who I was (I have no problems with that). But she once grabbed me in a shopping mall carpark to thank me for helping her son, we swapped telephone numbers then (I wish we hadn't) and every time something goes wrong, she phones me, though to be fair, this is the first time in several months.

Paige, thanks; that's good advise. I'm meant to be meeting up with him on Saturday morning for a running race we do together some Saturday mornings. I'll phone him tomorrow, as I would anyway, to confirm I'm doing it and I'll see what he says then.
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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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Blue Moon » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:46 am

Either his alcoholism has been relieved, or it has not. Either he is truly willing, or he is not. Either he has been thoroughly honest, or he has not.

How many "you"s or "your"s in the above sentences?

We carry the message, not the unwilling. If you are convinced he is not entirely willing, it may be best to let him go for a while. It is not good to keep chasing a man who doesn't truly want what we have.

Seems to me that you worked his program for him. Perhaps he needs to learn to write, or draw, or somehow get his thoughts down himself. Illiteracy is not a valid excuse for not taking responsibility for our own recovery actions. He could have used symbols or colours that represent the "who", "what", "affects" and "my part". If he's got hands and is not blind, he can write his own inventory. Inventory has to be written down and seen by ourselves, but I see nothing that says it must be written in English or even using Latin script ... it just needs to make sense to the person writing it.
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Tosh
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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Tosh » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:31 am

Blue Moon wrote: Seems to me that you worked his program for him. Perhaps he needs to learn to write, or draw, or somehow get his thoughts down himself. Illiteracy is not a valid excuse for not taking responsibility for our own recovery actions. He could have used symbols or colours that represent the "who", "what", "affects" and "my part". If he's got hands and is not blind, he can write his own inventory. Inventory has to be written down and seen by ourselves, but I see nothing that says it must be written in English or even using Latin script ... it just needs to make sense to the person writing it.
Yes, I agree, I will never write another man's inventory for him. And for the rest, thanks. I live and I learn.
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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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by ann2 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:54 pm

So glad you've had good experience with your sponsoring, Tosh -- let this be a lesson in the power of the illness. I don't care how many amends I make; I can't rest on my laurels. Daily maintenance of a spiritual connection is the only thing saving my life today. Thank you AA.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by gwally » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:37 am

Tosh wrote: I feel a little guilty for not keeping the pressure on him to finish those amends.
This may just be a matter of semantics.
Did have some perverse pressure to do something about my drinking before arriving in AA.
After the fog lifted a great deal of pressure did also. I have not experienced any pressure
from anyone in AA to do anything(strong suggestions but no pressure) if I had I most likely
would have ran like a scalded dog back to my friend alcohol.
Why the heck you feeling even a little guilty about staying out of the way and letting God handle it.
For this alkie if i find myself wanting to put pressure(suggest with emphasia) on a sponsee to take any action it is a kin to playing God!(still havent got his timing down LOL)

Just say n
take what you can use and leave the rest.
George

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Tosh
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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Tosh » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:22 am

Yeh, you're right also, George. My sponsor 'pressurised' me into moving forwards with my amends by saying stuff like, "Hi Tosh, hey, why don't you come over to mine on Thursday, I'll cook you some food, and you can give me an update on how you're doing with those amends?"

And I say, "Thanks, that sounds great!", but secretly think, "Ahhhhhrrrrrrrrrrr", and then I'd go and make some progress on my amends.

I'm grateful for him for doing that to me; the pressure I felt was self inflicted (but isn't that always the case?). I should've kept up the same with my sponsee, but at the time I had two other newer sponsees, work, family and I was focussing on the newcomer.

Anyway, I had a good chat with him; he's bi polar and had his medication changed and it's affected his sleep. He tells me the first night he hardly slept and then the second night he didn't sleep at all. This coupled with a couple of minor problems, which he blew out of all proportion got him spiritually low enough to pick up the first drink.

Yesterday was Day 1 sober. Hopefully today is Day 2 for him; I'm seeing him later.

My sponsor says that it's his experience that some of the types of medication used to treat bi polar don't help either; he says they prevent the 'internal feelings' that the process of the steps create. He also says I shouldn't have done the Step 4 with my almost illiterate sponsee and that maybe we should just go through the whole process again, but doing it differently.

I'm no expert, I'm no guru, I'm always willing to listen to suggestions and follow advice. That's what I tell my sponsees too.
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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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by PaigeB » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:07 am

Hey Tosh! My ES&H on meds that mess with one's sleep... I waited to call the Doc- not sleeping - for several days, then took prescribed sleep meds for several more days . I became a screaming lunatic on the phone to my sponsor (I was going to drink!) who told me to hang up and call my doc. I finally told the Doc the totality of my disturbance(s) with the new meds. To my surprise, she promptly took me off them! Sometimes, it seems, certain new meds are just wrong for a person. I was one of those. After trying several types and doses, and keeping track of my reactions, I was taken off all psychotropic meds and just remain on anti-anxiety meds at a low dose.

Point I am trying to make is perhaps a journal of symptoms, reactions and questions be compiled by your sponsee for the doctor. The only test for such conditions is patient testimony and that testimony is often colored by a faulty memory and faulty thinking in general (alcoholic thinking).

I wish your sponsee a good journey.
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: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by happycamper » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:26 pm

Number 1 .. bless you for your service and commitment to AA Ken. After all, this is what its all about .. one drunk sharing/helping another :D .

My sponsor told me long ago that its not my job to be honest for another person.

I recently found out that one of my sponsee's had drank ( and i got this info from the sponsor of my sponsee's husband who is also in / at the meetings ) so I knew the info was true.

I thought, dang it!! What do I do now, cuz my sponsee certainly hadnt told me that she drank and she and I were preparing to take / do the 3rd step together. She wasnt even gonna mention to me that she drank.

Sooooooooo, the next time I spoke to her on the phone we were making plans for our next f2f meet and I brought up the date of her last drink. IN such that I said, " Okay now Sheila ( not her real name ), your last drink was when .. somewhere around the first of March, correct?". That left the door open for her to tell me of her drinking on the 31st of March, and she did ! Of course I prayed about this the whole time asking God what should be my direction with Sheila.

And, when she admitted to drinking, I said , " Well okay then, we are NOT ready to do the 3rd step together, cuz obviously you have forgotten that you are powerless over alcohol and we now have to go back to step 1 " She agreed.

I also explained to her that I take staying/being sober very seriously and that if she doesnt want the same, then please dont waste my time. Because I want to help someone who is honest with me and is serious about AA and all that it has to offer.

Pray about it, and pray for your sponsee ... he needs help too.
Faith without works is dead

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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by MyNameisVictor » Mon May 14, 2012 11:04 am

You shouldn't feel guilty Tosh, you're a good guy with good sobriety, and you took on this sponsee because you don't want to see anyone else suffer the way you suffered. You didn't force the bottle to this guy's lips. Literate or not, it sounds like you gave your sponsee the tools to "think the drink through" beforehand, inlcuding the "pick up the phone before you pick up a drink" line that my sponsor would always give me, and he chose to ignore them. This guy simply may not be ready to get sober, I don't know, but it's certainly not due to anythign you did or failed to do. As far as what his mother told you, I would keep it a secret because you don't know if he's abusive towards her. You may say to him, directly, "Have you been drinking? I can smell it on you..." I don't know about any of you all but since I got sober I can smell booze on someone's breath a mile away.
"They said a miracle would happen on my 90th day of sobriety, and it did happen...I was sober."
-Anonymous from the Trinity Group of AA in NYC

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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Service » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:48 pm

Do your best to mind your own business, sometimes impossible to let go and let God

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Tosh
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Re: What do you guys do with sponsees who relapse after...

Post by Tosh » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:31 am

Service wrote:Do your best to mind your own business, sometimes impossible to let go and let God
It's okay, I'm still sponsoring this guy; his last drink was Christmas Eve; he lost Christmas day, he just stayed in his bedsit alone, feeling like death. He's been sober since and he's currently working on his fear inventory.

I'm not sure I should mind my business though, Bill certainly didn't when he approached the reluctant Dr Bob. What I try to do is just do the stuff I'm meant to do, like carry the message, and the results of that I leave to God.

I find it strange that someone should comment 'mind your own business' in a topic that has nothing to do with their business though. Matt 7:5 springs to mind. :lol:
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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