relationship with former 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?
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kelmac
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relationship with former sponsor

Post by kelmac » Sun May 03, 2015 3:25 pm

I stopped working with my sponsor a few months ago due to a number of issues concerning to me. When I told her I no longer felt the relationship was working, I felt the most compassionate way to handle it was too keep it as vague as that and not provide details as I felt it would be hurtful. I received an angry or passive aggressive sounding letter from her recently in which she called what I did "firing" her and went on to say that at least I had helped her stay sober with the 'ed' in helped circled - I'm guessing the emphasis meaning I no longer do, perhaps. It certainly reminded one of the reasons why I had ended it! My question is whether to respond. If I do respond I plan on being very brief and saying simply its nice to hear from her and to take care. I still don't think it would be appropriate to give her more details of why I decided to quit working with her nor do I feel comfortable confiding in her or telling her details about my life or well being, but I am second guessing myself whether it would be beneficial to say more to her and am willing to hear from anyone that may have a difference of opinion. Thanks for your thoughts.

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avaneesh912
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by avaneesh912 » Sun May 03, 2015 5:01 pm

My question is whether to respond.
No. Best is to put it to rest. Don't feed fuel to the fire. Looks like the person is already egoic, any response will only worsen the situation.
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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Tosh
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by Tosh » Sun May 03, 2015 5:07 pm

avaneesh912 wrote: No. Best is to put it to rest. Don't feed fuel to the fire. Looks like the person is already egoic, any response will only worsen the situation.
I agree. Just remain friendly.
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: relationship with former sponsor

Post by Lali » Sun May 03, 2015 5:22 pm

I agree with Avaneesh. You don't owe her an explanation.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

mele
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by mele » Sun May 03, 2015 9:24 pm

She probably knows why you let her go

mele
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by mele » Sun May 03, 2015 9:25 pm

Do you have another sponsor in mind?

mele
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by mele » Sun May 03, 2015 9:28 pm

I was fired by a sponsor once...i was very hurt..and offended..i was shocked that the people i thought were supposed to help me...were ditching me. In the end, she dumped me for good reason..because i was letting her drag me everywhere instead of dragging myself

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PaigeB
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by PaigeB » Mon May 04, 2015 12:48 am

Hi Mele! I noticed you were trying to reach someone here. The Forums are rather static, though a banner can be seen sometimes when a person is logged in.

We have a live chat meeting schedule with the chat lounge open for 30 minutes before and after, but I think they are done for the night. check them out during the day http://www.e-aa.org/talk.php
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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Brock
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by Brock » Mon May 04, 2015 8:24 am

While I agree with those who have said you don’t owe her an explanation, if she pushes for one perhaps you should give it in the kindest way you can. We all must learn from our mistakes, and if others don’t give us some well intentioned feedback, the next person she sponsors will face the same things that you found objectionable.

Excuse me going off on a slight tangent to this conversation, but we have recently had quite a number of sponsor related issues bought up here. This is fine since I expect the added anonymity of a forum like this makes airing such things easier, we can’t really speak about the failures of sponsors in a meeting, since those present may well know who we are referring to. But this particular one, her saying help(ed) her stay sober, it is as if she has some sort of impression that this is the purpose of sponsoring someone.

There is a saying that if we are to keep it we must give it away, I am not sure this is intended to mean sponsoring someone specifically, and perhaps some members are taking this saying too literally. When it says in step 12 that we tried to carry the message, I suspect that the intent was identify yourself in meetings as someone who had similar problems, carry the message of how the program enabled you to overcome the problem of needing to drink, and how upon recovering from this problem living the lifestyle suggested has led to your present much improved way of living, as they say E.S. & H, and I always try to put in a lot of the H part, not just hope but a happy life as well.

Of course sponsoring is carrying the message in a far more direct way than speaking in a meeting or giving casual advice to a fellow member. Many folks I respect such as the speaker Chris R, and some who regularly contribute here, push this idea, they tell those who they have sponsored go out and sponsor someone, regularly ask them if they are doing so, and have sponsors of their own who are reminding them to do so as well. If they are not constantly taking someone through the program, an impression is given that somehow they are not on the AA beam. I am afraid that this sort of thing leads to the belief mentioned above, that to be effectively in the program we must sponsor others, and ultimately to the sort of reaction the persons sponsor had in the OP. By sponsoring her she was helped now she has left that help has gone, as if she keeps sober via sponsoring others, rather than it just being an excellent way to carry the message and think of others, a good lesson in selflessness.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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ann2
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by ann2 » Mon May 25, 2015 10:25 am

Thanks, pertinent comments. I think it's in questions and answers about sponsorship (the pamphlet) that it's mentioned not every AA member has the ability to sponsor. There are other ways of passing it on, in general service for example, taking on the treasurer job of one's group, etc.

Ah here it is, on page 25 where it talks about service sponsorship:
Individuals may feel that they have more to offer in one area than in another.
Part of the value of the steps is getting to know oneself and one's limitations. Not everyone makes a good sponsor and not everyone has to, just like not everyone is good at chairing or making coffee. This understanding helps me admit my mistakes and learn what I need to be extra careful about, for everyone's sake.

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

jeffrooster
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by jeffrooster » Mon May 25, 2015 6:47 pm

Well put Ann, getting to know yourself and your limitations AKA being honest about yourself. I sponser a few people and can only help them through the steps as I was taught and give them the same advice that I was given. But, I also help a lot of others when they request it.
If somebody feels they are not getting from me what they would like and want to move on, no offense taken. My sponser has 12 years of sobriety and his sponser has 32 years of sobriety, very old school and right to the point.
I see too many people that think sponsership is a position of power and their egos run wild with it.
After all, it's your sobriety and not hers that your working on.
Hope this helps,
Jeff

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ann2
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by ann2 » Tue May 26, 2015 12:09 am

Thanks Jeff, good point about getting a new sponsor. Sponsoring is work and for my part I'm happy to do it, but if the person finds someone else to be their sponsor there's certainly a part of me that says "Phew!" As in "now I can take a little break." So if someone isn't working out as a sponsor, don't feel bad about getting a new one -- you never know, your old sponsor may be relieved instead of jealous :)

Of course, if she is jealous the only person she needs to talk to about that is HER sponsor.

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

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tyg
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Re: relationship with former sponsor

Post by tyg » Tue May 26, 2015 2:12 am

Sometimes we need to move on while we grow in recovery. When reasons are given to ex-sponsor for why they were fired(really dislike this word).... can that be done without pointing out their faults? Pointing out faults severs relationships and blocks us off from others and our God.

I have had to find new sponsors but I also needed to do a Step 10 and 11 beforehand (or afterwards) so I could see my true motives for doing so. It's important for me to take a good honest look at what my part was in the relationship and why it really stopped working.

Alcoholics Anonymous page 67 comes to mind

We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves. "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."

We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn't treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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