Shopping for a 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?
Post Reply
Aggiejim
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:45 am

Shopping for a sponsor

Post by Aggiejim »

My home group has re-opened, but a few months ago we moved to the 2nd floor of an office building and a number of our senior members have had trouble with the steps. not the 12 steps but the 28 steps and moved to other groups, Bummer. So now I'm getting calls for my thoughts. Got one this morning from a man with about 7 years who I've known since he picked up the silver coin. He was asking me about a couple of our newer members that have been through 6 sponsors in 6 months. Part of my story is I couldn't get past the bottom of page 63 with my 1st sponsor. I know it's important to get the right sponsor, but I'm afraid when you go through them that fast, you're looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know. Thoughts? Please advise, thanks in advance.
User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 4887
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Shopping for a sponsor

Post by Brock »

Thanks for the topic.

Where I live we have had seniors stopping due to steps as well, as you say not the 12 but too many other steps to get in the meeting. They can choose other meetings, but eventually in many cases it becomes just too difficult to attend any. It’s unfortunate, because although these older folks don’t really need the meetings to stay sober, AA often becomes their only outing to be with friends, and miss it terribly when they can no longer attend.

I don’t worry too much about those who don’t ‘get it’ the first time around, and try different sponsors, often as you suggest hoping someone says what they want to hear. But I think there is also quite a difference between how individual sponsors handle their sponsees, unfortunately based mainly on how someone sponsored them, they seem to put a lot of faith in the idea that this method worked for me it should work for you, whether it’s based on tough love or stretching out the process. In short some sponsors are better than others, and I suggest the best ones are able to analyze a prospect and see what might work best, rather than treat everyone the same.

Those who go from sponsor to sponsor, or just in and out of AA without even trying a sponsor like I did, tend to come to a point where they surrender more completely than someone who has not tried everything under the sun to control their drinking, and ended up at the kind of bottom that has you knowing without a shadow of doubt, that both the AA program and God are one of two choices, the other being death. I am taking a lot of words to say I am sure some alcoholics need more punishment than others to surrender, and only then will a sponsor have a chance of helping them, there is a saying about when the student is ready the right teacher will appear.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
PaigeB
Trusted Servant
Posts: 9328
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Shopping for a sponsor

Post by PaigeB »

Aggiejim wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 9:33 am I know it's important to get the right sponsor, but I'm afraid when you go through them that fast, you're looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know. Thoughts? Please advise, thanks in advance.
Page 18-19 of the Big Book tells us what to look for in a sponsor:
But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.

That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured - these are the conditions we have found most effective. After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again.
Personally when I changed sponsors I looked at someone who had what I wanted and who had worked the Steps with a sponsor herself. I asked her, her sister sponsees or I asked her sponsor to sponsor me. I know I wanted someone who would continue to work all 12 Steps not just the last 3. I checked around, asked questions, picked a person and committed to do the Steps 1-12 with them. I am committed to my sponsor, not the other way around. They cannot DO for me. I have to DO "vigorous action".

I have to remember that I "hired" this person to tell me what I didn't want to hear but would not tell me what to do beyond what Step work we were working on. IMPORTANTLY a sponsor is just a peer. They have no authority that I do not give them willingly. They are humans with human failings... If I can't make it past a certain point, I have to back up and work on what was just before the mental block... It is not about my sponsor - it is my issue that blocks me.

I have to remember that willingness is the KEY.
"If you want what she has and are willing to go to any length to get it."
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
User avatar
Layne
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1873
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: Shopping for a sponsor

Post by Layne »

they seem to put a lot of faith in the idea that this method worked for me it should work for you
I believe this is the case for most people whether they have been sponsored or not and whether they are sponsoring or sharing either at a meeting or on the internet. Humans have a tendency to live what they learn and so then naturally have a tendency to pass on what they live.
User avatar
Jojo2
Trusted Servant
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: Shopping for a sponsor

Post by Jojo2 »

31st May: Daily Reflection

READINESS TO SERVE OTHERS
. . . our Society has concluded that it has but one high mission – to carry the A.A. message to those who don't know there's a way out.
— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 151
The Light to freedom shines bright on my fellow alcoholics as each one of us challenges the other to grow. The Steps to self-improvement have small beginnings, but each Step builds the ladder out of the pit of despair to new hope. Honesty becomes my tool to unfurl the chains which bound me.

A sponsor, who is a caring listener, can help me to truly hear the message guiding me to freedom.


I ask God for the courage to live in such a way that the Fellowship may be a testimony to His favor. This mission frees me to share my gifts of wellness through a spirit of readiness to serve others.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
User avatar
Layne
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1873
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: Shopping for a sponsor

Post by Layne »

It seems to me that people struggle when they confuse a sponsor for being the solution, when the solution is actually in working the twelve steps. After working the steps and by continued living in the solution, people continue to recover, improve, and get better; in spite of how they may have worked the steps, whether it was right, wrong, indifferent, better, best, or whatever. As long as people trust the process and do the work, good follows. I am continuing to recover despite myself and others. :~)
Post Reply