Questionable sponsorship

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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Questionable sponsorship

Post by Gbadgley »

I have been sober for almost 25 years, and right now at this present moment I am not restless, irritable , or discontented. I have some serenity. I continue to do the work.

One failing I have is that I do drift away from the program, and recoginizing this I decided to make more of a committment to the program about a year ago, and searched out and then approached one man who has 33 years of sobriety, thinking that this would help anchor me in the program.

Over the course of the last year we have met once a week for an hour. We talked about a lot of subjects and I enjoyed the meetings and for the most part I got a real lift from these meetings. But most of our meeting centered around his teachings which seemed to be an extension of AA and our search for the Higher Power. He has what he calls a recovery center. He was a past revovery counsellor, and has written a book and gives courses for a fee. Now I attended his course, but during the very first session for whatever reason I was moved to get up and walk out of his course. This was quite traumatic for me, but I just could not buy this spirituality than he was promoting. Alot of it I just thought was BS.

We continued to meet, but it's just not the same. We have met two or three times since then and each time he cuts the meetings short buy saying he has some things to do, which is fine, as I don't have anything really troubling to talk about and to be honest was not enjoying his company very much anyway because other than AA we seem to have virtually no common interests in life. He seems to be totally focused on AA, his course that he gives( which are barely attended I might add), and that is it.

Now recently he cancelled a meeting on me because he claimed he got caught out in the rain, got wet, and didn't want to go back out in the rain. This was two hours before our meeting, so he had plenty of time to change, hop in his car and drive to the coffee shop. I thought this was no excuse, not to meet.

We did arrange to meet again the following week, but I became quite ill, so I had to cancel. And then the following week I had to cancel as well, as I am really quite ill with serious medical problems.

Now he knows I am quite ill, but during the last two weeks has made zero enquires as to my health. Up to this point all our meetings have been set up by email. This last time I didn't even bother to set it up because again I was not feeling all that well, and was seriously questioning the true character of this man, for not making any enquiries as to my health. For all he knows I could be dead, as he has made no enquiries.

Now, am I just too dense here and not getting the message that he doesn't want to be my sponsor any more? If this is the case its really quite shocking because there it is one thing to be bored in a realtionship but its another not even to have the compassion to make an enquiry as to your sponsees heatlh.

I think sponsorship is about two drunks trying to develop a relationship, that is mutually supportive. Seemly not being interested in my health seems to be a fatal flaw in any relationship.

Comments please.
Last edited by Gbadgley on Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Questionable sponsorship

Post by ann2 »


Welcome, thanks for posting here and I hope you check out some of the shares of others regarding recovery. I just celebrated 26 years sober and it was through this online site that I got that charge that I needed to find excitement, fulfillment and renewal in sobriety. I needed a group of drunks to set me on the path of the steps, the path that is clearly laid out in the Big Book an didn't need any extras :-)

What I see in what you describe is an interpersonal awkwardness arising out of disappointed expectations. You seem to be seeking a lot from one person, and from what you describe of this person he isn't even someone I would want to visit once a week, sorry. First of all, because I am totally into AA but it's the AA that is talked about in the Big Book and most good meetings, the AA that doesn't have a kind of spirituality but just offers a way *to* spirituality. And it's a way that worked for this alcoholic!

Secondly, there have been signals, yes, that this relationship isn't what this guy wants, but I would hope for an upfront manner of expressing it, not these cancellations, etc.

Thirdly, well, I don't really have a thirdly, to be honest. I don't put the guy down for not asking about your health because I'm pretty stupid that way as well. But I am glad that you mentioned it and I am sorry that you have a serious ailment :(

But there doesn't seem to be much fun from this guy. I would be looking for that in a sponsor -- someone who would joke, mostly about herself :-) and make it easy, not hard, to bring up problems in the relationship.

I have a sponsee now that I rarely see, but when we do get together it's extremely on point, fun, interesting, revelatory, and I end up admiring her more and more. Too bad I have such little free time, but that's just the way my life is now. And she's no great shakes at calling, I must say! However, it works between us because we enjoy each other and we are both very interested in sobriety and in helping *her* find a useful and stable sobriety.

Perhaps the urgency isn't there for you two, because of your lengths of sobriety. I'm just rambling now. But to go back to the beginning of your post, if you're looking for something to re-invigorate your recovey, I couldn't do better than to recommend this online group :-)

Thanks for your visit and share!

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

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Re: Questionable sponsorship

Post by Lali »

Why not get a new sponsor?
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Questionable sponsorship

Post by johnd »

Welcome to the site,
I think Ann covered the bases very well here. I'm John an alcoholic, I too have over 26 years of sobriety. I really don't have a sponsor per say. I still keep in touch with my original sponsor. he lives about 75 miles from me now. I discovered a different way of working or bouncing things off others who may have not only a little more sober time but, just their experiences that have helped solve some of my problems. I became very good friends with a guy from my men's meeting. He has 32 years of sobriety, I like his message direct and to the point. He is always willing to listen and he is deeply involved with the BB the steps and the traditions.

We also talk about general issues too. I would actually consider him a co-sponsor. Someone who helps me and I help him.
Then there is no expectations from neither one one of us. In my opinion I think you should just seek other friends not so much a sponsor. A sponsor, sure gets you through the rough stuff of geting sober and showing you the path of sobriety. Now don't get me wrong if you feel you need a sponsor by all means continue working with one. I know for me that I been able to make my decisions and become reliant on the answers through my Higher power and the friends I do have in A.A.

On another note I been trying to write stuff down to see what I need to work on, and decide if it needs to be shared with a sponsor or a good friend in A.A. . When it comes about I'll let you know. But in the mean time You just need to take care of you instead of worrying what this guy is doing. I hope you find good health and don't worry plenty of help here . You've already peeked interest. Hope to see more posts from you and if I can help just let me know. John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

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Re: Questionable sponsorship

Post by kenyal »

If it's a deal breaker that he has neglected to inquire about your health, then why not break it off? Should you not do that, at some point he may even take this further and not ask if you've read any good books lately. :)

Not all of us have the same understandings of the purposes of sponsorship, why it exists and why it is important as a tool in staying comfortably sober. It would be a mistake for someone to ask me to help them and by doing that consider me immediately an insta-friend. Though friendships can and often do develop as years pass. I've done some travelling and backpacking with sponsees who I came to like and respect.

What they get is my commitment to take their calls at any hour and give them my time, to say honestly and completely what occurs to me after they've run down their situation. The ground rules of course include not taking anything from them of any value or being invested in their subsequent actions or results. I'm neutral if they call or not and I never call them. I agree to sponsor people so that they will inconvenience me and I can give back a bit of the help I was given earlier, not to have a brand new buddy.

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Re: Questionable sponsorship

Post by becksdad »

Hi Gbadgley.... welcome. Thanks for posting. I can identify with some things you have shared. I would like to suggest something that has worked for me. Instead of seeking what you can get from a new sponsor relationship, why not get to more meetings and see what you can add to them? Surely there are many new people who can benefit greatly from the experience in sobriety you have accumulated. Maybe join a Home Group and get involved in service to that group. I know that I have developed many wonderful relationships as a direct result of becoming "part of" my Home Group. Approach newcomers and welcome them.

A few weeks ago, a young man asked me to sponsor him. Like you, I have some chronic health issues, one quite serious at times, and I have been severely ill for several weeks. My new friend knows that I have been ill, and we have spent a good bit of time together recently. After a meeting last night, we spent a few more hours together doing some step work. Not once did my sponsee inquire about my health. I don't believe the state of my health even crossed his mind. Funny thing is...... the entire time we spent together, it didn't cross my mind, either!!!

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Re: Questionable sponsorship

Post by Service »

It's important really humane to help someone across the street But not to be able to let them go after they get across becomes a sickness – a lot of people tolerate artificial relationships as any sponsor or sponsee needs something to believe in.

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