Feeling discouraged

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?
Taryn
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Feeling discouraged

Post by Taryn »

I'm Taryn and I'm an alcoholic.

Recently it's risen to a level of consciousness that I do not trust my spiritual advisor. I don't have a sponsor, and I'm afraid to get one. My SA was supposed to be guiding me through the steps, and now I'm seeing that 1) I don't trust this person, 2) I had an unhealthy dependency, and 3) I'm confused about how someone with so much time could have such a...different understanding of the Steps. Really, I'm afraid to even talk about this because I can already hear this person yelling at me and I feel extremely guilty.

From what I was told, sanity is "supposed to return in the second step" and in the third we actually do turn our will and lives over to the care of God. I've been having mental rants about this for days with myself. If that were the case, what would we need the rest of the Steps for? From what I understand, sanity returns after the 9th step (or in the process), and we are blocked from God, hence the need for Steps 4-9. Unfortunately, because this person has so much time, I'm confused about what to even believe. I fear going back out because I've already thought about it. Then I came to the decision that before I do something incredibly f***ed up, I may as well make a go at all the Steps, so I started writing my Fourth.

Not really sure what I'm looking for here. Just wanted to write somewhere. I'm sick and tired of feeling alienated from the human race and having all this garbage in my head. I know that I can't recover alone, and meetings in my area are pretty unhealthy.

Experiences, strengths and hopes? How does one find a sponsor they can trust? What if I share my Fifth and it gets out?

Taryn

Sally
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Sally »

Are the meetings in your area unhealthy by YOUR definition- or this spiritual advisor
you no longer trust???
Perhaps she is what is unhealthy-
AA unfortunately is NOT full of saints- and even those claiming mega
years of sobriety don't have a lock on mental health-
If your *returning* sanity is questioning the SA- i would take
a good look at the meetings in your area again- chances are
there are people there you CAN trust.
Sally

becksdad
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by becksdad »

Hi Taryn! Welcome here, and thank you for sharing. My name is Ed, I am an alcoholic, and really relate to and feel for what is going on with your search for recovery. So I would like to share some thoughts, experience, strength, and hope. Please keep in mind that whatever I say is just my own experience and my thoughts the result of where that has led me.

First, length of time sober sometimes has nothing to do with quality of sobriety. Many of the folks in AA who have what I want have been sober much longer than me, but I also know several with decades of "dry" time who have nothing I want. Having had 2 sponsors, I can say that neither of them has ever yelled at me, berated me, belittled me, or brow beat me into doing or believing anything. They have simply done what is suggested in the book - namely to lay a kit of spiritual tools at my feet and be willing to let me pick them up or not. Both sponsors have walked through the steps with me, not once even "instructing" me on where this would lead or what I might discover.

That being said, I see nowhere, nor have I experienced, the idea that "sanity" will be returned at the 2nd step. It says "came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity". CAME to believe. COULD. The 3rd step is simply a decision, which the book emphatically states "could have no permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and to be rid of the things in ourselves which had been blocking us". 4th step - the first thing we do to put that decision of the 3rd step into actual practice. Remember in the 1st step, where we admit at a deep, gut level that we are powerless and our lives are completely unmanageable? Well, we are particularly blessed in that there is a path, with clear-cut directions, on how to recover from this seemingly hopeless state of body, mind and spirit. In makiing a decision in the 3rd step, I also decided to follow through with the rest of the steps, since this is the pathway laid out before me. My decision meant absolutely nothing until I actually did it. You may have heard around the rooms that " action is the magic word". How true for me!

As you said, there are promises made in the Big Book in it's discussion of the 9th step, and I can emphatically state that these things have come to pass, when promised. There are promises at other points during the steps, too. It is actually during the discussion of the 10th step that this promise appears: "And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned". Over and over again, I keep finding within the steps the encouragement to continue - to keep going, keep doing these things. I see nowhere where it says congratulations, you are done. To the contrary, it is pointed out that what we really have is a "daily reprieve", contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Maintenance means we keep doing.

I have rambled some here, I think. Tried to be somewhat brief because there is so much I would like to say. But you will find what you will find. I hope you can get to lots of meetings. Travel a little bit (if you can). Try to keep an open mind and listen - ask for guidance to find an effective sponsor for yourself. Many answers are in the book, and when I avail myself of the people who are really recovery driven, I see what I am supposed to see, hear what I am supposed to hear, and experience all that is supposed to be.... in each moment.

Please keep sharing with us here, Taryn. You will find many here on this site who will do anything to help you in your journey to recovery. And you in turn, help us, whether you are aware of that or not. I expect you are going to get quite a few responses to your post, most of them more effective than this one. Keep coming back and know that we are all walking right along with you.

Thanks,

Ed

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johnd
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by johnd »

Hi Taryn,
Your dilema is no different than mine or possibly countless others. You are sick and tired of the remants that alcohol had brought you to. I remember I didn't want to go through hoop that everyone else has done before me.
I just wanted to get my life in order and start living the way I want to live. But,luckily for me I came to whille attending meetings and talking with others. Got a sponsor who worked with me as long as I co-operated with him.to me a S A is in the clergy. I personally don't put anyone in A.A. on that level as a S A, But, again that's me. I can only assure you that once we work steps 1-3 that is just a bare beginning to recovery. The rest of the steps are there to show us a better way to a new life. If you just attend your meetings and listen to the mess instead of the message you are really selling yourself short. it takes time. if you have to travel outside your community for goodness sake do so. It sounds like you want recovery. I felt I had to get away from my area's A.A. meetings because I wanted recovery. Today I have acceptance to all types of sobriety. I can't get anyone sober and can't keep them sober. I had to find the people who were enjoying life and not sweating the small stuff sorta say.I hope you do find a sponsor one that will be a coach and a friend, they are not to judge or belittle you they are there to help another alcoholic to achieve sobriety. Thanks John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

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Marc L
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Marc L »

becksdad wrote:They have simply done what is suggested in the book - namely to lay a kit of spiritual tools at my feet and be willing to let me pick them up or not.
Or listen to your technically challenged excuse not to. :lol:
So your dog ate your homework did it?

Marc
Recovery won't just happen by Osmosis. You gonna' have to work at it some.
12th Step work ain't just a job... It's an Adventure.

Taryn
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Taryn »

Thank you all for responding. Those are the impressions that I got, as well. (Third Step being a decision followed by action, sanity not being restored in the 2nd Step, etc). I was told that I "wasn't ready to do a 4th." Now I see that I need to because this resentment towards this person keeps playing in my head. It also boomerangs back to me and I remember the part in the 12&12 on pages 43-44 about depending too much on a stronger person. "Disillusionment and helplessness are his lot." That seems to be where I'm at at the moment. I'm very angry at myself, especially because I feel a strange loyalty to this person. A lot of this may be fear that I'll "do something wrong." It's like I'm stuck between, "Maybe this person is right," and, "How could this person be right when I'm only hearing these things from them?" I know playing these things in my head isn't a good idea, but the tape just keeps going. I was told that I burn everybody up, so I'm afraid to even try to meet new people, but I know it isn't a good idea to isolate. When I've had these thoughts of picking up again, I haven't wanted to call anyone for fear that they would scold me, too.

Everything seems like a jumbled mess in my head right now. Sorry for ranting. I just can't keep being alone with all of this.

Taryn

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Tosh
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Tosh »

Taryn,

Is your Spiritual Advisor an alcoholic who has had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Steps?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

Taryn
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Taryn »

Tosh wrote:Taryn,

Is your Spiritual Advisor an alcoholic who has had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Steps?
Alcoholic, yes. Had a spiritual awakening? Not specifically stated.

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Tosh
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Tosh »

Taryn wrote:
Tosh wrote:Taryn,

Is your Spiritual Advisor an alcoholic who has had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Steps?
Alcoholic, yes. Had a spiritual awakening? Not specifically stated.
Okay, that's a start.

This worries me:
Taryn wrote:Really, I'm afraid to even talk about this because I can already hear this person yelling at me and I feel extremely guilty.
From this I infer that your Spiritual Advisor yells at you!!!

Does she?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

Taryn
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Taryn »

Tosh wrote:
Taryn wrote:
Tosh wrote:Taryn,

Is your Spiritual Advisor an alcoholic who has had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Steps?
Alcoholic, yes. Had a spiritual awakening? Not specifically stated.
Okay, that's a start.

This worries me:
Taryn wrote:Really, I'm afraid to even talk about this because I can already hear this person yelling at me and I feel extremely guilty.
From this I infer that your Spiritual Advisor yells at you!!!

Does she?
Frequently, yes.

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johnd
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by johnd »

Doesn't sound Spiritual at all sounds like a control freak "Do it my way or else!" I certainly wouldn't accept that type of behavior or I hope I wouldn't act that way toward a sponsee either. Some choose to be sicker than others.
Taryn, you may want to seek out someone more grounded and experienced. John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

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Tosh
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Tosh »

Taryn,

We're alcoholics - in recovery we can hold our heads high - we're not doormats. If my sponsor yelled at me, I'd think he ought to work the program that he's meant to be helping me with. I don't expect my sponsor to be perfect, he's human like me, but I do expect some level of self control and human decency. Even in the army we were taught that shouting is only for drill squares and battlefields; we DO NOT shout at other human beings.

My suggestion is to distance yourself from this 'yelling person' and to find a same sex sponsor who appears to walk the talk. You could ask other females (I assume by your name that you're a lady) what their sponsor is like, or if you're like the more direct approach, just ask a lady if she's had a spiritual awakening as a result of the steps. If she's like "Yeh!", she's good sponsor material.

But seriously, the yelling thing is a huge red flag for me. We should treat each other with love, not aggression.

Keep asking questions and welcome.

Regards

Tosh, an alkie in the UK
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

Mike O
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Mike O »

Hi Taryn

In addition to what the people above posted, this concerns me:
What if I share my Fifth and it gets out?
Is this concern specific to this person or just a general concern regarding Step 5?

If it is specific to your adviser and you suspect for even one second that this may be the case, I feel she may be the wrong person!

becksdad
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by becksdad »

Hey Taryn! I told you there would be lots of responses to your post!

I must say that it appears to me that you are really seeking recovery, and you have been hearing a lot of the same stuff in meetings that you are hearing now at this site. You are looking in the literature and seeing a difference in message, too. That is all good, and it tells me that meetings in your area have good sobriety. Please explore them as much as you can.

What is very disconcerting is some other stuff you are saying. You have a "spiritual advisor" (self-appointed, maybe?) who yells at you, belittles you, and tells you that you "burn up" other people? I don't know what "burning up" means, but you have obviously come to feel a good deal of guilt about this, and you are afraid to seek out other people. If this is true, then not only are you being beaten down by someone who is supposed to "help" you, but are being isolated from any other outside influence. This is abuse - pure & simple. Manipulation, verbal/emotional assault, and isolation are hallmarks of abuse, and you do not have to accept it. Please seek recovery with those who exhibit positive and caring qualities.

I really hope you find the solid direction within the program you are seeking. AA is full of good, wise, and well people who will be more than happy to walk along with you through the steps. Good luck, and keep cooming back, ok?

Thanks,

Ed

P.S. - Speaking of "well" people, the post from Marc wasn't really for you, Taryn! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!! LOL

Taryn
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Taryn »

Mike O wrote:Hi Taryn

In addition to what the people above posted, this concerns me:
What if I share my Fifth and it gets out?
Is this concern specific to this person or just a general concern regarding Step 5?

If it is specific to your adviser and you suspect for even one second that this may be the case, I feel she may be the wrong person!
That was more of a general question. I've done a lot of things that are really f***ed up that I'm afraid, if someone heard, they'd character-assassinate me for it. To this, I assume I'll be told that I'm probably not the only person in recovery who has done whatever it is. But I'm afraid that I am, or that even if I'm not, I'll be shunned. I know that's probably stupid and I'm not unique, but I still feel that way.

Taryn

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