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?
Mike O
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Mike O »

... "practice the principles of the first 5 steps for a month to make sure I'm giving God my defects."
Well, I don't see anywhere in the book that even hints at suggesting this.
It beats me where people get this stuff from. Why do people constantly try to put their own "spin" on what is quite a straightforward set of instructions?
Tosh said:
If you've done your Step 3, you've turned your will and your life over; you are now not in control. Maybe you should just do as your sponsor suggests and see what the outcome is?
This does make sense, on the face of it. However, when I handed my will and my life over to the care of God, I also asked for knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry it out (as suggested in the book's Step 3 prayer). If a sponsor was suggesting to me something that I felt wasn't right, I would have to question it, as Taryn is doing.
Taryn feels she is ready to move ahead and this is what she should do. She is clearly becoming frustrated by this whole business, which is dangerous for any of us.
I was able to work the steps simply by doing what the book says, without the aid of a sponsor, except for step 5. I worked through them quickly. I was able to go back and do another 4 and 5 at a later date whenever it was needed and still do if I need to. I see no reason for delaying working the steps as suggested in the book - NONE.

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Blue Moon
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Blue Moon »

Taryn wrote:Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and Expletive because I'm really at a loss at what the hell to even do right now. I might well be cursed or something since the sponsor I recently got just told me I need to "practice the principles of the first 5 steps for a month to make sure I'm giving God my defects." I'm flabbergasted. Steps 6 and 7 are where we ask for defects to be removed. If I don't do those, I'll still have my defects, making this coming month of this idea an effort in vain.
Why not just do it, see what happens? A month is not really so long, but it depends where you are in your own recovery - particularly with willingness.

I see so many who want to rush the Steps. I don't promote delay, but I do promote thoroughness and completeness wherever possible. Many balk at Step 4 because it's not the quick-fix they expected. The thing is, it took you x years of drinking to reach this point, you're not going to get well in 5 minutes. The Steps are tools for learning to live a sober life, but we still need sober experiences to build upon. Remember: this too shall pass.

And as for 6 & 7, there's nothing in the Steps that says they get removed. In my experience, most of those charcter traits I walked in with are still there, but they're not "defective" to the extent that I must drink just to survive.

This did not happen overnight.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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AlisonT
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by AlisonT »

Where do you go when you graduate from rehab, to AA. Where do you go when you graduate from AA, back to rehab. This is a lifelong process Taryn. At 24 years sober I am still occasionally finding character defects that I didn't realize I had and there are many that have not been removed yet. I guess my Higher Power still has use for them. One of the first things I needed to learn in AA was willingness to follow others' suggestions. I suggest getting a copy of the 12 and 12 and reading step 6 along with the first 5. It is not a race.

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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Sally »

i totally agree with Ian and Alison- this isn't a race - it's a journey not a destination-
you've heard that one already- today i have defects that i didn't have when i got here-
that's just common sense- flippantly verbalizing the steps didn't turn me into a saint-
the steps gave me blue print for living sober- for a long time. taught me recognize my defects.
i am very grateful the wise oldtimers i knew in the beginning taught me
how to live the steps- not just recite them. Slow down and enjoy the ride-
sobriety is fantastic- being dry is not.
Sally

becksdad
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by becksdad »

You know, after step 5, the directions are to look back at what we have done so far, and search for thoroughness & sincerity. It asks us to see if we have omitted anything, or if we have skimped anywhere. Make sure the foundation we are building is solid. Then, when we can answer those questions to our satisfaction, we approach and do steps 6 & 7.

I know the BB speaks of this reflection on our work so far as an hour, but perhaps this is what your sponsor is suggesting to you. A period of reflection and practice.

Far be it for anyone to second guess what one's sponsor (who is successfully sober) suggests.

Thanks! Keep coming back!

Ed

MyNameisVictor
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by MyNameisVictor »

Hi Taryn, and welcome. My name is Victor and I'm an alcoholic with nine years of sobriety. I really don't like to tell anyone to do anything in this program, or tell anyone how they should do the program. We all find different paths. I can, however, tell you as an absolute truth that your sponsor must be someone who themself is in recovery and has done the steps. If your spiritual advisor is not and has not done the steps, then (s)he cannot sponsor you because (s)he cannot and will not be able to relate to you and will not know anything about recovery from this disease. I don't mean to be disrespectful to your SA, but if (s)he is not in recovery, then you might as well have your cat (or whatever pet you might have) sponsor you.

Seriously, go to a meeting, talk to someone who made comments that you related to, and ask them to be your interim sponsor. Good luck and God bless.

Victor
"They said a miracle would happen on my 90th day of sobriety, and it did happen...I was sober."
-Anonymous from the Trinity Group of AA in NYC

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Brock
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Brock »

Mike O said."I was able to work the steps simply by doing what the book says, without the aid of a sponsor, except for step five".

Well said sir! I have been tempted to recommend this approach myself, however when I have expressed this idea at meetings, some members react as if I am blaspheming everything AA stands for, so I was reluctant to post it here, that is until you did it first. My feeling is that many people may think that by doing this, I am takeing away the job of being a sponeor
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Brock
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Brock »

Sorry! pushed the wrong button and sent that by mistake, before it was finished. Just wanted to say, that far from taking away the sponsors job, I totally respect sponsorship and all it stands for. But there are situations such as my own, where finding a sponsor is pretty well impossible. Apart from the books, using this site, by simply doing a search on any subject answers so many questions.
Brock.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Tosh
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Tosh »

Brock wrote:Mike O said."I was able to work the steps simply by doing what the book says, without the aid of a sponsor, except for step five".

Well said sir! I have been tempted to recommend this approach myself, however when I have expressed this idea at meetings, some members react as if I am blaspheming everything AA stands for, so I was reluctant to post it here, that is until you did it first. My feeling is that many people may think that by doing this, I am takeing away the job of being a sponeor
I think a good sponsor can simplify something that we can overcomplicate and cut through the Gordian knot of hurdles and procrastination. And not only that, if we wish to sponsor, I think we should have a sponsor, and the Big Book puts the emphasis on the program on passing this thing onto others.

My sponsor is my mentor; he helps me to grow and he encourages me to do the things I don't want to do, and that's where the growth seems to come from. I try to take personal inventory and watch my behaviour, I do pray and meditate, but working with others on a one-to-one basis is what gives me the most rewards. I know full well what it's like to live a life with no other meaning than my own selfish pleasures and happiness; and funnily enough that made me miserable. And through A.A. I know what it's like to live a life with meaning. I'm so glad I'm not missing out on this one.
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)

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Patter
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Patter »

I agree with Tosh. I need my sponsor to keep ME from deciding what definition to give a word because mine are tainted with past prejudices and hurts. I may be kind of intelligent, but where my best interest is concerned, I've proven I'm an idiot - no offense to idiots. My motives are hidden from myself, but apparent to a sponsor, so he can get me back on the beam quicker and with less pain.

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ann2
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by ann2 »

Patter wrote: - no offense to idiots.
None taken :-)

We all kind of have the duty of calling each other on stuff. A sponsor's calling someone on stuff however usually means we listen.

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

Mike O
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Mike O »

My experience has been that some need sponsors every step of the way; some don't. If you feel you need one, then you probably do, and should have one.

Not having a sponsor, however, does not interfere with one's ability to pass on the message to other suffering alcoholics - not in the slightest.

:D

Service
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Service »

Maybe your discouragement is the lack of your own “personal willingness”
It may be an inside job it can get discouraging when one comes to get rather than wine, My past was my greatest asset, take a closer look as people places and things will always be discouraging. Hope you are feeling better tomorrow as it is a different day
Maybe a real priest is in order? why put a burden on someone here if your that scared - I know you will do the right thing for you just easy does it.

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Ida
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Ida »

Taryn, I have been where you are so many times. I broke off with my sponsor last fall due to philosophical differences and trust issues. I live in a very small town, and while the members of the fellowship here would never speak about personal matters to outsiders, I've noticed that they are pretty loose-lipped with other regular meeting-goers. While that is better than blabbing information all over town, it is still wrong, and I know I have pulled away quite a bit from the people I've met in program here.

If you can't trust this spiritual adviser, then you may want to look for someone more objective to speak to and/or do a fifth step with. Your fear of being judged is TOTALLY NORMAL!! I continued to drink for years because I couldn't deal with the shame I felt, and I relapsed twice before I finally did a fifth step with someone. However, I held back because of the reasons mentioned above.

I know that some people did their fifth steps with priests or psychologists, so that might be something that would be more comfortable for you. Also, you may find someone online to help you; I know that I feel more comfortable sharing on this site a lot of times than I do with some of the people I see at meetings in my hometown. I hope that you have heard something here that makes you feel a little better. I have been exactly where you are so many times. It is hard.

Service
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Re: Feeling discouraged

Post by Service »

Tayrn,
Discouraged why? Sober not good enough? Take a closer look emotions can easily divert you. When you finally get around the GovernMentalists you will find the A.A message TRUST IN GOD and CLEAN HOUSE - ps your house not someone else’s , you have every thing you need BEFORE you came through the door - IT"S WITHIN don't get diverted and be conned into someone else’s ways, you have every thing you need use the fellowship drop the follow-ship con games, it's a free gift a free spirit come join us. If you don't know what to do, doing nothing is really doing something !! maybe even Trusting in God who knows.

Political atheist

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