Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

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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AnonAddict
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Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by AnonAddict »

Hi All, I've been coming to AA and another fellowship for a few years, I've had periods of abstinence and recovery... but seems that my thinking will always lead me back to that first drink/ use up... I'm young frightened and just not sure what to do. I'm in my early days week 2 after a 3 day relapse over new years so this just may be the resentments/ fears/ mad head of a newcomer. I've already had tests, and done the suggestions despite my thinking... I have been feeling different and I just want to give it my all this time. I was suggested to go to these groups in London from a friend who said they had strong recovery, I understood these were known for having quite strict sponsorship and most of the people that were in these group fell from the same sponsorship line. Anyway, cut a long story short, I went to the meeting first time and loved it... many of them were obviously practising tradition 5 as it was all sharing for the newcomer. I got identification and was 12 stepped so I got a sponsor... He gave me a list of 6 suggestions (call newcomers, gratitude list, pray in morning and night, call sponsor everyday, read 2 pages of the big book, get two homegroups) If I don't do these things, or miss my time to call my sponsor I get a bit of a kicking i've heard of sponsors dropping there sponsees for not doing how they did it which was starting with the suggestions.

I called my sponsor today as the head started going and all I got was "Listen to yourself, everything is about you, you are chronically self-centred. Let me repeat myself, call a newcomer, get out of self, pray and get to a meeting". Is he right>


However, I've been told not to share in meetings until I've gone through my step 4 as "I don't have a message for the newcomer" and the more i've been to these groups, they seem to all stick together, they share almost the same thing every meeting, and some of them say things like "missery is optional", "i've never had a bad day in recovery", "Best thing I've ever done, get a sponsor"... It's just making me skepticle as for the last 2 years in the program, I've always identified with the struggles of the alcoholic and I thought that was what it was all about, not to just share about how amazing life is.... As a result i feel so disconnected and like i'm not fitting in with my old groups anymore, because i can't stop thinking that "sharing the problem is bad" and then conflicted between me not able to share and is it right or not.... I don't know, my heads a mess, I have been feeling better but I miss that sharing/ connection I get in MOST groups around England, it just feels like it's them and us... like they feel like there way of recovery is the "Right way" If my sponsor shared in one of these meetings people would probably think he's just on his high horse

​I've never felt like this, and loved going to lots of different meetings when I left treatment in Bournemouth until I relapsed, was that my easier softer way?

Then again I trust these guys and they seem to be living GREAT lives... Like really great lives! But I just hear the SAME message every meeting and I get skepticle and wonder whether it's just an ego trip. What should I do?



As I write this It comes to me that this could easily be my addiction fabricating a load of nonsense to keep me misserable/ in the sickness/ or even pick up...
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PaigeB
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by PaigeB »

AnonAddict wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:16 am ... my thinking will always lead me back to that first drink/ use up...

... I just want to give it my all this time.

... quite strict sponsorship
and loved it...
many of them were obviously practising

I called my sponsor today as the head started going and all I got was "Listen to yourself, everything is about you, you are chronically self-centred. Let me repeat myself, call a newcomer, get out of self, pray and get to a meeting". Is he right>

However, I've been told not to share in meetings until I've gone through my step 4 as
As a result i feel so disconnected and like i'm not fitting in with my old groups anymore, because i can't stop thinking that "sharing the problem is bad" and then conflicted between me not able to share and is it right or not....

​I've never felt like this, and loved going to lots of different meetings when I left treatment in Bournemouth until I relapsed, was that my easier softer way?

Then again I trust these guys and they seem to be living GREAT lives... Like really great lives! But I just hear the SAME message every meeting and I get skepticle and wonder whether it's just an ego trip. What should I do?

As I write this It comes to me that this could easily be my addiction fabricating a load of nonsense to keep me miserable/ in the sickness/ or even pick up...
Sounds like you are a good path... I mean if you are DOING something different ~ You WILL get a different result!

I am mostly thinking of why are you feeling disconnected at the other meetings? There is not right or wrong when sharing, though I do try to at least end on a positive recovery note - Experience, Strength and HOPE. I can tell you that ALL meetings are a bit different from one another. Maybe it is that at the meeting your sponsor attends people who have not been through the 4th Step yet do NOT share and that is just the choice of that group. Personally, I learn A LOT when newcomers share - even their problematic issues... it reminds me that I can be in a brainstorm at times and need to PAUSE. AND I now have a SOLUTION that I can add at the end of my turn to talk. I can also use it as the opportunity to help the newcomer by SHARING my ES&H during or after the meeting.

Is your sponsor right? Maybe... I have heard that system works, but I did not go through it with my sponsor, I DID hear a lot about my ego and selfishness and usually with some direction on the way OUT of my thinking!

Basically AA is "If you want what they have, you do what they did." I hope that means working the 12 Steps with your sponsor because, for me, THAT was the way to long term sobriety.

Feel free to come here and share your progress! This Forum was a HUGE part of my early days in sobriety!
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
MyNameIsBetsy
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by MyNameIsBetsy »

Hi AnonAddict, welcome. Sounds like your head is really talking to you right now! Some of us, and you probably know this, call that the "committee." The committee tells us all sorts of bad information. Tell that committee to shut up and go away! Be forceful. Say it out loud! "GO AWAY!!!"

Here are some suggestions for you right now (pick two and do them!!!). Go get some exercise. Phone a sober friend. Find a meeting. Read a chapter in our Big Book. FInd a project to work on that will occupy your mind for a few hours. Write down the top 10 things that you are grateful for today. Ask God to give you the willingness to get through the next hours without a drink.

Those are some short term ideas to get you through today without a drink. Hey, if this quitting thing were easy, anyone could do it and we wouldn't need a program!!! It's not easy. What you are experiencing right now is evidence that it isn't easy. When I got sober, I used days like that to reinforce to myself that I had a problem.

Long term ideas . . explore a few other meetings and find some that provide the program experience which helps you. Make some friends with the people in your meetings so you can call them when you need support. Work those steps and you will find freedom.

Let us know how you are doing!

Betsy, an alcoholic
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
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avaneesh912
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by avaneesh912 »

Probably its the mind talking. For a moment just be in awareness. Go through the inventory quick. It doesn't have to take months. My mentor would say, you can write an inventory on a toilet roll and be done with it. Establish a network of people, you can do all the share through the network if you want. We probably have more questions on how to recover anyways that you can do by picking up the phone or reading the big book. A new comer can contribute at the meetings in other means. By making coffee, joining the cleaning committee and so on so forth. Give someone a ride if you can.
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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Brock
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by Brock »

Welcome here and thanks for the post, this is the sort of thing which I identify with, having been in and out of AA for very many years before finally ‘getting the message.’

Someone said that he saw his dealer's number at the bottom of the third drink every time he drank, this was true for me and I wasted many years on cocaine and booze.

When you say - ‘I've always identified with the struggles of the alcoholic and I thought that was what it was all about, not to just share about how amazing life is.…’ I think you are right in that a share should include the struggle we had at first, we do this to help others identify, but then certainly the happiness we found and continue to have, the struggle stops after the steps.

That was my problem, I thought meetings and reading books would do the trick, and nobody told me in a sort of convincing way that the steps were the answer, not until I asked one fellow who only came to one meeting each week and looked the most peaceful man there. Meetings are a place for recovered alcoholics to pass the message, it’s the reason I go, and like the fellow who helped me, I don’t go because I need to. He pointed to a section in the big book under ‘a vision for you,’ the third man in AA the ‘man on the bed’ Bill Dotson. He came into detox on the 26th of June 1935, he was in bad shape and assaulted two nurses. Bill and Bob were looking for someone to help and spoke to him a couple of days later, on July 4th 9 days after coming in, the book says he left the hospital ‘a free man never to drink again.’ That’s the way they did it then, they took him through the steps in a few days, now we tend to mess around with 90 in 90 and other nonsense.

People like us have a great understanding of the first three steps, then stumble at four and five, and that is where the relief comes. From there it’s pretty much plain sailing and it keeps getting better, and those fellows aren’t lying when they say how good life can be, I just wish they would tell you to do steps four and five asap.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
1Peter5:10
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by 1Peter5:10 »

AnonAddict wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:16 am ....
I called my sponsor today as the head started going and all I got was "Listen to yourself, everything is about you, you are chronically self-centred. Let me repeat myself, call a newcomer, get out of self, pray and get to a meeting". Is he right>


However, I've been told not to share in meetings until I've gone through my step 4 as "I don't have a message for the newcomer" ...
Two things.

Thing 1
Your sponsor is probably correct. A lot of us in early recovery have such pressing problems, and such recent tales of work, that in early recovery, we become even more self-centered than ever.

Wallowing in our problems solves neither the problem nor the bad feelings they create.
- I have never met a person, normies or alcoholic, who has solved a problem by dwelling on it.
- I have never met a person who said, "I couldn't solve problem XYZ, but I am glad I thought about and thought about because thinking about it made me feel better.

It would be difficult for me to describe concisely what DOES work, but I can tell you I know of people who have a hard day at work, and there is nothing they can do right now to fix it, they instead chose to do things like watch a movie, go fishing, play a round of golf etc.. You can't sulk your way out of a bad day.


Thing 2:
I have read the AA book, all of it. I have never read the part where to Bill told Dr. Bob "shut up you don't have as much time as I do.".

I have never read the step in that says "We put a sock in our mouths until our 4th step and then we became arrogant asses and told the newcomers to shut up."

As a newcomer I had some very wrong ideas about what my problems really were and how the program really worked. It would have been bad if I had spoken in a way that simply solidified bad ideas in my head. Still, sharing, even when our ideas are wrong is part of the program.
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PaigeB
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by PaigeB »

1Peter5:10 wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:42 am Still, sharing, even when our ideas are wrong is part of the program.
YES and YESSS!
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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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by Spirit Flower »

Dear OP, I live in USA. There is a group like you have described in Nebraska, one of our states which is north of me. If you like all the rules and it helps you, then go with it. If you are just feeling annoyed and want more freedom, go to another group and get a different sponsor.
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1Peter5:10
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by 1Peter5:10 »

PaigeB wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:38 am
1Peter5:10 wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:42 am Still, sharing, even when our ideas are wrong is part of the program.
YES and YESSS!
Thank you Paige.

Same idea (sometimes our wrong shares help.)

I learned a lot from an old lady who was active in my first AA.
Far from being a sweet Ol' Lady, D. was a real battle axe and only sometimes the loveable kind. 😃

Imagine that most teens and early 20s are sometimes at odds with their parents, regarding values, promiscuity etc., and imagine, on some level, most teens and 20s eventually manage, over the years, to put those contentious battles with their parents behind them.

In fact, you might even imagine the baby-boomers rebelled in the 60s and 70s and that by 1981, making peace with one's parents became so commonplace Hollywood even made an award-winning movie (On Golden Pond) featuring themes such as those.

My friend-in-recoery "D" was a baby boomer, still harboring resentments against her mother, still working them out in the rooms is AA in 2016 when I met her. She spoke loudly and somewhat angrily her teen-and-twenty something battles with her mother man times.

I certainly wish her well, and I can only imagine that my own faults are, from time to time, equally obvious to my fellows as I speak. (Who me? My faults couldn't POSSIBLY be that obvious to others......Could they?)
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Layne
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by Layne »

(Who me? My faults couldn't POSSIBLY be that obvious to others......Could they?)
I am going to print this out on a small card and put it my pocket. I won't even need to read, just realizing it is there will help to remind me through out the day. :oops: Thanks for sharing, I needed that. :wink:
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by Mike O »

Hi AnonAddict.
Well, what I did was exactly what those guys in the book did. Those 12 steps as they are laid out there. I did them quickly but honestly and thoroughly, with help where needed. Then, and since then, I’ve tried to live as the book describes. It’s still working after 13 years.
If you want/need a sponsor, get somebody who will do exactly that with you.
I read so much about groups with rules, sponsors who think they are your higher power, taking months to go through the steps etc. It seems to me that all of that other stuff is unnecessary complication.
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Re: Sponsorship/ Group Worries... Feeling disconnected from the fellowship. Really need help

Post by Hiccup »

Give it a try. And see if it prevents you from relapse.

They aren't telling you not to talk about the problem or yourself. Or to search yourself for your own stuff. They are saying during the meeting- listen to guidance, and then outside the meeting put the guidance in practice.
.you are allowed to talk to anybody in the whole world about your problems - therapist. Your dog. Your best friend. People in a.a are helping you stay sober. If it doesn't help you stay sober you have not failed -- you are an alcoholic. The label doesn't disappear. Give yourself a break. Find what works and find people who have what you have.

If you feel comfortable being at meetings where newcomers share go to them, and go to these meetings. I have a homegroup and visit other meetings. Dont take yourself too seriously.
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