Not sure how to tell my 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?
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Ida
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Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by Ida » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:33 pm

I'm sure you've all heard this one before. I have a sponsor I've been closely with for the last two years. Over the last year I'm beginning to feel that I need to tell her I don't want her to sponsor me anymore. Part of me doesn't know if it really is me just trying to sabotage myself, or if she really is as out-of-line as she sometimes seems to me. The bad new is that there really aren't any other women in my town that sponsor, and I would be sponsorless if I let this one go. I don't really have a problem with not having a sponsor for a while. I'm mostly worried about how I'm going to let my current sponsor know I don't think it is working. She can be very snippy. She goes to all the same meetings as I do, and she oftentimes brings up the things I share at meetings in our private meetings, and it makes me feel like I'm being analyzed when I share. She also gossips about other group members when she and I meet one on one, and lately she spends most of our one on one time talking about herself. She also interrupts and corrects me at times when I am chairing meetings, and that is very uncomfortable for me. I know people that read this are just going to tell me that I should just tell her it isn't working and let her deal with it how she will, but I guess I just need to hear from someone out there that I am not crazy for not being comfortable working with her.

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PaigeB
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by PaigeB » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:18 am

I changed sponsors when I had about 6 months for many of the same reasons. It was difficult, but I already had another sponsor in line. My community supports 3 women's AA meetings, so there is no shortage of strong women in the program here.

But I am not going to say you should change. Quite the opposite. Indeed, it sounds to me as if your sponsor needs help right now. Is she sponsored? You might have to at least unofficially assume the role of sponsoring her for a while. Something is bugging her if she is starting to act controlling and if she is overly self concerned.

The reading at the meeting I went to tonight was page 84, after the promises. Step 10 tells us we have to watch out for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. Just from what you said it sounds like she has 2 of them: selfishness & fear. I hope you see an opportunity to help her - my guess is she is afraid and has no woman to turn to.... I wonder when her last 4th & 5th Steps were? Maybe a women's workshop or a retreat are in order. Online Intergroup (like or District or Area for online meetings) has an events calendar here

http://aa-intergroup.org/cal.php I love a road trip!

I think you will find your way through this if you practice the principles. E-aa also has an online sponsorship program you might look into as well !
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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ann2
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by ann2 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:44 am

Hi Ida, I don't have much experience in this area but I can recommend the pamphlet Q&A on sponsorship http://aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf and the section of the booklet Living Sober that deals with sponsorship.

Thanks for bringing this here and glad you found us,

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

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Tommy-S
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by Tommy-S » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:40 pm

Hi Ida,

I'm told the ISM in Alcoholism is "I Sponsor Me"... and in the face to face meetings I go to, it's easy to pick out on those traveling the path alone. And our 11th Step (12 x 12) speaks of the need to keep counsel.
"We do talk about each other a great deal, but we almost invariably temper such talk by a spirit of love ad tolerance." BB, pg 125
Does it make it any less 'gossip' if we post it on-line rather than in a private group? Or, my least favorite, make some broad generalizations of "How AA isn't as it was...back in the good,old days?" :)

Sometimes I have to include my sponsor in my Gratitude List... as my Magical Magnifying Glasses get out of whack and my focus is on the fertilizer rather than the roses. (see Dr. Paul's Story, "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict" 3rd ed, or "Acceptance in the Answer" 4th ed)

Good luck... As I was always taught, "Any decision is a good one...if you don't drink"

Thanks. Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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Tommy-S
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by Tommy-S » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:56 pm

And let me add, that 'gossip' is something I have to watch for.

I think the key hinges on whether what I am saying about another (or the Fellowship) hinges on whether I do so, "Tempered with the Spirit of Love & Tolerance".

The danger, is not always that the 'other' will hear and be hurt... But what it does to ME inside. Thanks
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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Ida
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by Ida » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:17 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. I know what I have to do now. Thanks especially for the link to the brochure on sponsorship; I think it will help me understand my situation better.

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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by RyanC. » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:12 pm

honestly id just tell her that you appreciate all shes done but that you need to move on. If she takes it personally thats on her, not on you.

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Ida
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by Ida » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:32 pm

Well, I am now sponsorless. I broke it off with my sponsor today. I just told her thanks for all the help she has given me, but I cannot be honest with her about what is going on with me, and that I need to try something else. She was very kind about the matter, but I can tell that she was a hurt by it which was not my intention. She was able to concede that obviously I'm not comfortable enough with her to fully disclose, and that if I cannot trust her enough to do that with her, I need to find someone else. I didn't tel her about being uncomfortable with her controlling behavior or anything that she "did," because I didn't want to end it with me criticizing her. We have decided to remain friends within the fellowship, and we were able to part with no outward hard feelings.

We are pretty short on women who sponsor in this town, so I'm going to be without a sponsor for a while. I'm actually feeling o.k. with not having one for a while, but it doesn't take me long to start screwing my own head up. I'm going to be using this site and meetings to try and keep myself on top of my program, but I know that I'm in a little bit a dangerous spot right now. Thanks again for the advice folks gave me on my post; it really helped get off my hands and make a decision. I'm so glad I found this site.

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ann2
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by ann2 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:09 am

Hi Ida, thanks for the update and glad you're here and sharing!

I think it will help the hurt if you continue to use the lady as a Trusted Friend in AA. Whatever help you received from her you can still receive. There's no need to be labelled "Sponsor" in order to reach out to another alcoholic. And who knows, you may also end up being there for her as her Trusted Friend.

I didn't realize it was an issue of trusting her regarding sharing things -- in that case of course you can look for others with whom you feel more secure. however, don't forget that we are here to do uncomfortable things -- I read somewhere that Life begins outside our comfort zone which I really related to. Just as long as it's not unsafe, of course, and a bit of prayer and meditation will help make that distinction.

Big hugs!

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

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Ida
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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by Ida » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:19 pm

As always, thanks for your replies, Ann. Yeah, there were many instances where I would hold back when sharing with her (no matter if it was because of anything she was doing or if I still have hang-ups, we were totally at a stand-still). I've been reflecting and praying a lot, but I know I made the right decision. I gave it a go for two years, and my heart truly was willing to take her guidance, but I could no longer ignore the dysfunctional elements of the relationship.

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Re: Alcoholic from day one - Military days

Post by Nimitzcag8 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:43 am

I ran into the same problem with mine....but I have to remember the word sponser is not in the first 164 pages...the terms spritual advisor or closed mouthed friend are used along with pshychologist or someone like an ordained minister if our faith of choice requires it...but it is better to do these steps with another alky because no one else can really understand us. Conversations between sponser and sponsee are supposed to be strictly convidential...but there is always the gossip or rumor mills and when mine started gossuping I told him I didnt want to hear it....well he kept it up so i was left with no other choice, and ofcourse it hurt, but i have to remember it is my sobriety and not his...so i changed sponsers.

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Re: Not sure how to tell my sponsor...

Post by Service » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:37 pm

Sponsor/Parole officer ? After two years why cant you find friends in A.A. instead?

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