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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Post by medic63 »

Hello family I am very interested in how my friends in E-AA "handle a newcomer."
I have been sober for two years and I am fully convinced that I must stay active in AA and sponsor other men to stay sober. My question is what do you say to a new person in the very beginning of the process of working them through the steps. My current sponsor asked me to call every day at a specific time for 7 days. Then he had me read the Dr's opinion ETC. I use the same approach with guys who have asked me to walk them through the 12 steps. I would love to hear other members experience with this.

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Post by Robert R »

Hi Tony, Good question my friend. I am a believer that I can only pass on that which was given to me and in the same manner as given to me as laid out in the BB.
If my ego thinks perhaps it needs a tweak here or there, or that there might be a shortcut, I just reflect on where my best thinking took me in the past :roll: :lol:
Don't know exactly where I am going but I'm on my way and it's already much better than where I've been.
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Post by Brock »

My thinking on this varies a bit off of the idea that I will show it as it was shown to me, I never had a sponsor, but I am absolutely firm in following the BB. In the past some here have said we shouldn't sponsor unless we have been sponsored, a whole thread was devoted to it, and some still in recommending newcomers find a sponsor, say find one who themselves is being sponsored.

I think it prevents me falling into the 'one size fits all trap.' Many times we have seen here new people complaining about things their sponsor asks them to do, and yes we know new folks will complain sometimes about 'thoroughly following our path,' but some complaints have been quite genuine. Things like picking up the rubbish in the parking lot before each meeting to show humility and service, and when they question why they report getting the stock answer, 'that's the way my sponsor showed me.' We aren’t professionals in counseling or psychiatry, and can't be expected to model our approach to suit every specific sponsee, but a little common sense is expected. We have had new people come here and explain, that due to being a single mother no car and lack of finance for baby sitters, they find it impossible to make more than a few meetings per week, yet their sponsor is insisting if they 'really' want what we have 90 in 90 is a must. Unfortunately some writers here also back up the sponsor saying you will find a way if you really try, and everyone of them justify the foolishness with the old 'that's the way it worked for me'.

I believe a first class start is directing them to the over ten hours of Joe and Charlie journey through the BB on you tube, just a bit each day, not too much that you get bored and your mind wonders, call me or visit and we will discuss what you listened to. A good man on this site avaneesh, has spoken of burning CD's of this for the past several years to hand out to newcomers, those who don't like that idea are mumbling right now, 'that's not how my sponsor showed me.'
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Post by Niagara »

My sponsor never asked me to do anything like that. He did however stress the importance of service to others as the key to getting out of my own head. It's impossible to be in self pity (which was a major one for me) when you're actively helping someone else. This is best I find if it's another alcoholic, but since here that's not always possible, service generally is a go to option when I feel that stinkin thinkin creeping back in. Nice side effect of doing something selflessly (or is it selfless) is I get a bit of a self esteem boost and make friends easier. At the start it felt like a chore, but it no longer does now I see the benefits.

As to what to say at the own sponsor was VERY direct. I thank him for did the job. My sensitive little ego balked at it, of course it did. I wasn't accustomed to hearing the truth regardless of my feelings and my tears did not wash with him, but what he gave me was the truth, and the truth despite my feelings about it set me free.
For the actual step work, I barely recall him picking the big book up, but he DID stick to the message contained within. I guess he'd done it that many times that the is imprinted in his mind. His confidence from that helped me to trust what he was saying. Any questions I had were answered quickly, no hesitation, and I knew from that also that this guy knew what he was talking about. This was good, since I knew by then really my life depended on this program/book. Book study came later.

I never made daily phone calls. The most he asked from me there was if I said I was coming I came, and that I be on time. No excuses. Reason for that? If I couldn't put recovery first and foremost, barring absolute emergency, I had little to no chance of making it. He also made it clear that the responsibility to do the work was mine, not his to cajole me into it. It was also made clear that if I wasn't willing to put the work in he wouldn't waste his time with me, and would simply move on to someone who wanted it.
All of that might sound a bit harsh, but alcoholism is a brutal disease, and I do believe it was necessary. It did the job :)

Lastly, he warned me against trying to follow his methods...the reasoning with this was that I am a different person, with different traits, and I must find my own way and utilize my own strengths when carrying a message. It's more convincing when it comes from the heart rather than imitation. And always stay with the book. If I knew how to get well without that, then I wouldn't have needed it in the first place.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt
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Post by whipping post »

I think Niagara and I must have the same sponsor.
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Post by avaneesh912 »

There are some great workshops too you can avail. Of course, it may not be in line with what your perception of how the steps ought to be worked, but you could learn from others experience. There are always new ideas that others used that we could try. Its all in seeking. What I learned so far is, there are people who are willing to do anything to recover and follow direction and those who are not and they drop and the key is I don't get attached to the person. I got to move on.
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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Post by PaigeB »

Mine suggested I find something that I could (and would) make a daily practice of. Sounds like your sponsor is getting you to try different things and practice active DOing of daily things.

I learned some sort of "daily maintenance" long before I was able to practice 10 and 11. It is a skill/tool that never goes wrong... if I miss one day or 5, I can always go back to "to-daily" anytime!
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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Post by tyg »

Niagra's sponsor sounds a lot like my first sponsor. Although, I called mine daily for awhile, not because they asked me to, but because I wanted to use another tool available to me. They let me know they were available anytime. They always answered their phone or called me back asap.

The more I show others how they can recover the more comfortable I get doing it in my own unique way following the Big Book. I don't require much from my people.
~~Have a home group, show up regularly, be in service there and participate in the group conscious meetings
~~Take the Steps at my pace not theirs so they can have a spiritual awakening and begin a new life
~~Grow and nurture their conscious contact to stay spiritually fit: Reach out help other alcoholics practice Steps 10 & 11

I can always tell when someone is honestly doing their best with these shines through them and they continue to change and grow. Even when their life circumstances are challenging and stressful. Those who don't, I find it doesn't help them to keep working with them. I have one last talk about what happens to those who don't follow the program. Then move on if necessary. This way I am not holding them back and I have more time to spend with those who want permanent sobriety.

Each person is a different experience. I am available to support them if I can. Sometimes that entails taking them to many meetings, clothes shopping for work clothes, helping to write a resume, search for a job, legal, health or financial resources, help with a move, taking them to the doctor, answering the phone at 2 am, go on a 12 step call with them(at any hour) and maybe stay at my home for a couple days, or console or help their friends or family members, etc.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~
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