Same problems, different sponsors

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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Same problems, different sponsors

Post by apillarofsalt »

My name is apillarofsalt and I am an alcoholic.

I have a problem with having a sponsor.

I am a loner by nature. I enjoy the company of other people in very small doses.

When I am going to meetings daily and living right I am very happy and at peace. I have heard many warnings about being on the outskirts of the program. I try to get more involved. When I try to get more involved, the effect that the program has on me changes. It turns from an enjoyable activity to something I want to avoid.

The problem is most noticeable when it comes to having a sponsor. I feel that I have done my due diligence testing the waters of uncomfortable space for me. I take suggestions. I place phone calls to people on the list. I try to talk to new-comers. I try to work with a sponsor. I have tried and tried and tried this many times. My comfort area of preferring to be a loner does not change. I do not feel more a part of a whole. I do not relate to any other experiences that I hear. I absolutely dread the thought of the phone calls to check in. My level of fear and anxiety is so strong that I am not able to do my job at work. My belief in the program falters and sways. My emotions, anxiety, and fear continue to grow and grow to the point where I just want to be alone. The only thing that makes me feel better is going to a meeting.

I recently used drugs. I consider the drug use to be an enormous problem and clear evidence that I am not doing something right. After about a year of just doing meetings daily, I tried doing the sponsor thing again. I felt tremendous pressure and expectation. The anxiety builds as our agreed upon time to call comes. I make the call and I feel the same anxiety, or I do not make the call and I feel like I do not want to leave my house.

Today I felt disgusting, like there was a bitter sickness living inside of me. I went to a meeting and I felt a lot better. I keep waiting for someone to say something I can relate to, when it comes to this interpersonal anxiety. I never hear it.

Are some people naturally just meant to be alone? That is how I feel.

I am not looking for answers to this problem. I just want anyone else who feels this way to know that they are not alone. I cannot be the only one.
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by Spirit Flower »

Google "joe and charlie aa" and a big book study comes up first. Listen to it. Work the steps with it. For step 5, just pick a closed mouth, safe person. Then check out the big book starting at page 86 for daily life.
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by Brock »

Welcome to e-AA, and please accept my apology that your post took an hour to approve, first posts are delayed due to the spam sites like this sometimes attract, but usually we don’t take that long to approve a new one.

I believe one of the major reasons for my drinking was anxiety, and have heard people in meetings and seen some post here, that they felt the same way. About a week ago a relatively new member wrote this - “I'm in the psychological field...the only way through addiction is to create a better relationship with anxiety.”

I know you said you are more looking to inform others rather than ask for answers, but we do share our experience here. I never had a sponsor but am not saying that’s the best thing to do, one thing I do know when we discuss sponsorship, is many say that after the steps are done the sponsor becomes less necessary. If you have been going to meetings for a year, and haven’t done the steps, I have to say you are missing out on the solution AA promises. Those steps and the way of life they teach, can have you handling anxiety far better, AA promises a serene life, and you start getting that by doing the steps.
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by positrac »

Welcome. I first would suggest working on the steps and step one for both alcohol and drugs will identify your situation. I like people in small doses and I too had issues of trust and coming out of my shell early in my sobriety. I have a helmet I wear (make believe) and when I have to do something official or necessary I put that helmet on and I press the business at hand and when I am done I remove that helmet. Life is about many things and what I've realized is the world doesn't revolve around me as much as I revolve on the world like everyone else.

Misery is optional and right now you have some choices to make and it is up to you to reach out because AA will reach out to the people and at some point we have to either accept the invite or just stand in the doorway looking in wondering.

My sobriety date is 1 Nov 1989 and I can assure you that times have changed; but our disease is still the same. It works if you work it.
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by tomsteve »

welcome,apillarofsalt. glad youre here and bringing up the concern.
something i caught:
I have heard many warnings about being on the outskirts of the program.

sometimes theres confusion between the program, the fellowship, and service work.

being on the outskirts of the program would be doing something like a step 1,2, 12 program. :)
fellowship and servicework are great. however, can be extremely difficult for introverts. not only that, there is one part of the BB that seems to get missed a LOT by members:

None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did. We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe. A few are fortunate enough to be so situated that they can give nearly all their time to the work.

when youre trying to relate to others, are you listening to the drunkalogues or the thinkalogues? theres a lot of drunkalogues i dont relate to.

MANY people have had the fear(anxiety) of speaking with others in recovery.sharing what was truly going on IN me was a scarey proposition, what with being an egomaniac with low self esteem. i think the best thing for me was being able to hear how freely others shared about themselves without caring what anyone thought of it. i found some people, and a sponsor, that listened to me and heard what i didnt- the problem. they also helped me with solutions.

you may want to check out NA meetings,too.
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by Shoreline »

Spirit Flower wrote:Google "joe and charlie aa" and a big book study comes up first. Listen to it. Work the steps with it. For step 5, just pick a closed mouth, safe person. Then check out the big book starting at page 86 for daily life.
I agree with this. For Step 5, I know a few people that shared with a member of the clergy or a therapist instead of someone in AA. If you have questions on a step, try to look for a Big Book meeting or a 12&12 meeting if they are available in your area. Then bring up your question/issue at the meeting.
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by shaunagus »

I know this an old post but was looking for something to write on as the forums are quiet at the moment and this resonated.

I am really phone-phobic (if that’s a word) so can relate with the OP in many ways. Even if I have to phone a utility company etc it takes me days to work up to it and it feels like a huge part of my day when I do it.

At the same time I’m different from the OP in that actually hugely desire the connection with others in fellowship. But of course being an alcoholic I want it on my terms - i’m often inviting members for coffee because I can sit and chat for an hour over coffee without any anxiety at all; it’s just the phone. I often take the phone number of newcomers but will text them rather than call and am more likely to offer to meet for coffee before making a call.

But because my sponsor told me to call (I think) twice a week I did it. Always terrified beforehand, always full of anxiety after it, but I did it because I was absolutely desperate to recover from alcoholism. And because I knew making connections was going to be a necessary part of that. The first time I called my sponsor actually was before he was my sponsor - he was at the meeting I went to, was open, friendly, laughed a lot, gave me his number and because I’d always circled around the outskirts of AA before I forced myself to call. It was awful. He wasn’t awful, it was just so painful for me speaking on the phone. It was in that first call he recommended this forum and I put down the phone with the thought “it’s true, I’m completely unlikeable, he recommended this forum just so I wouldn’t call him again. Everything I feared is true”.

I suppose what I’ve found is “it gets better”. Because I forced myself to make connections (and because most people prefer a call to meeting for coffee to my frustration)I have forced myself to make occasional calls. But even now the people I call when I really need to talk programme about an issue is (with the exception of one person) someone I’ve also managed to nail down for coffee a few times.

It came down to knowing I needed to work the steps and work a programme in order to recover, and I was willing to go to any lengths. I knew I couldn’t work programme or the steps without making connections and a big part of me really wanted those connections so I just had to take a deep breath and get on with it.

Still hate the phone, still rarely make calls, but did it and do it. A bit like taking medication - hate it but I have to do it. I’m grateful that we live in an internet age and an age where latte is king. It’s ironic as I talk and make presentations and hold meetings for a living but I can put on my work persona for that and it’s easy. Programme work means putting my persona aside and that’s a lot harder.
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by Billcanojr »

Ha im a loner to for the past 27 years i have stayed sober one day at a time . Look at the back of the Big Book and see all the Books and Pamphlets that are AA Conference approved . There is a pamphlet called Question and Answer AA Sponsorship . There it will explain what the responsibility of a Sponsor are . Another pamphlet to get is A Newcomer Ask . I highly suggest you study those pamphlets . There are Alot of false information put out at AA meetings . Good luck !
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Re: Same problems, different sponsors

Post by Brock »

Welcome to e-AA Billcanojr. I like that advise on those leaflets, they would be useful also for any newcomer reading the forums here, I will put up links to them.

Questions and answers on sponsorship -

A Newcomer Asks -
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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