I've had a slight difference of opinion with 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?
becksdad
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by becksdad »

Of all the folks I feel I have come to know here on this board, I don't believe there is a single one who is not extremely committed, enthusiastic, and thorough in their practice of this program, including their willingness to carry the message to other alcoholics.

I am grateful to participate in discussions such as this, as they also encourage me to search diligently within myself in so many different ways, and so many times. Thanks to all who share their experience, strength and hope here! I know that together, we continue to grow.

Thanks, Ed

101Bullets
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by 101Bullets »

My reaction is this: if he has Step 1 then anything you do with him that is to do with the steps, service and meetings is going to work.

If he doesn't have Step 1 then it doesn't really matter what you do - he will drink again.

There is no correct or perfect 'technique' in any of this, people get all caught up thinking there is one right way to do something...it's an illusion. He will succeed if he has Step 1, his success will be nothing to do with you at the end of the day; it will be to do with his capacity to change using the 12 steps.

Patsy©
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Patsy© »

Tosh wrote:I had a chat with my sponsor this morning about a guy I've been working with.

The background is that this guy has a religion, goes to church every Sunday, and he's an alcoholic. He got six weeks sober and then had two one-day-relapses with about three days sober inbetween. He's now two days sober, I've been through the Big Book with him upto Chapter 3, he's had Chapter 4 (We agnostics) for his homework and my plan was to go around, re-cap what we've went through so far with regards Step 1, ask him if he has a Higher Power (which he has), and then do a formal Step 3 with him, and then get on through to book so I can show him how to do a Step 4.

My sponsor disagrees. He says I should impress upon him the importance of not picking up that first drink, that he's effectively still drinking (that confused me, I should've asked what he meant by that) and that we should cover Step 1 again, and that something's missing if he picked up a drink. He also said that getting a guy to do a Step 4 (a tough step) after just stopping drinking isn't a good idea. He'll be feeling bad enough already, so heaping a Step 4 on top of that wouldn't be helpful.

I take my sponsors last point, but still kinda disagree with my sponsor; I think this guy needs God - he already understands Step 1 (Step 1 doesn't keep us sober otherwise why have we another 11 Steps? To stay sober I needed some measure of inner peace and that doesn't come from Step 1) - so I want to get him moving along with the program. I did mention Dr Bob's story (he didn't mess about going through Step 1 again after his last drunk) and my sponsor suggested I get to some out of area meetings to hear some different takes on sponsorship (sponsorship is weak in my area). I will do that.

But, in the first instance, I'm asking for your experience? What have you done in circumstances such as this?

Thanks in advance. :mrgreen:
Without Step One, there is NOTHING. So trying to take anyone beyond Step One, when they clearly do not have Step One.... is a waste of your time and the sponsee's time. The foundation NEEDS to be solid and without Step One.. it will crumble.
The 12 steps are in order for a vital reason, they build on one another, to make a solid foundation on which we stay sober and pass it on.

Page 75 in the Big Book:

Taking this book down from our shelf we turn to the page which contains the twelve steps. Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. Is our work solid so far? Are the stones properly in place? Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation? Have we tried to make mortar without sand?
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!

Service
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Service »

A.A is not about agreeing or disagreeing with someone - if that's what you want to do get a sponsor - It's about listening to your own heart an inside job it that's what you want to do seek God.
Easily diverted

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Ida
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Ida »

You can only lead a horse to water, and I'm sure you know the rest. You can only do what you can do, and I think you put a lot of thought into this situation before deciding the best course of action for that particular case. It is ultimately up to your sponsee to do what needs to be done to get well; you were there for this person, and that is what matters most.

Service
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Service »

I had a chat with my sponsor this morning about a guy I've been working with.
Glad you found someone to gossip to, Great ! LOL

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Tosh
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Tosh »

Service wrote:
I had a chat with my sponsor this morning about a guy I've been working with.
Glad you found someone to gossip to, Great ! LOL
Asking advice from an experienced sponsor, about how best to help another human being, with a compassionate intention, is not gossiping, Service.

To Thine Own Self Be True, my friend.
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)

Service
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Service »

Asking advice from an experienced sponsor, about how best to help another human being, with a compassionate intention, is not gossiping, Service.

About someone else is !! Most conditioned GovernMentalist will not understand that God could and would if sought !!

Patsy©
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Patsy© »

Hi Tosh,

I am with you, I believe that if we need guidance, that a good experienced sponsor can provide that by helping us to keep the focus on ourselves and our own recovery. Because sometimes what one may think is a direct answer from God, could be just our own rationalization and wishful thinking as it says in the Twelve and Twelve below on page 59 and 60.

It was suggested by my sponsor that it never hurts to run something by a solid recovered AA member who perhaps can see a bit more clearly, what I may not. A recovered alcoholic would never "tell" anyone what to do, how to do , when or why. They can however guide us to the path where we can find our own answers through the Grace of God.

Tosh, its been my experience that those who are smug and use sarcastic wit that is obviously intended to cause hurt feelings..... are those who are running on self-will run riot.....without a sponsor or this simple program of recovery in their life.

Page 59 and 60 in the Twelve & Twelve:

At this stage, the difficulties of trying to deal rightly with God by ourselves are twofold. Though we may at first be startled to realize that God knows all about us, we are apt to get used to that quite quickly. Somehow, being alone with God doesn't seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person. Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical. When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God.

The second difficulty is this: what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken. Lacking both practice and humility, they had deluded themselves and were able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them. It is worth noting that people of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders in this fashion. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!

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PaigeB
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by PaigeB »

Patsy quoted this for us: Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken.
Ditto!
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

Service
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Service »

Many of us have friends in A.A and they are not the GovernMental type, thoese that don't understamd need to find someone to answer the phone when they call to gossip - I perfer may frids in A.A. rather than some self proclamed administer , most sponsor administers come here alone and leave alone - A.A as a whole works just fine - LOL Let go let your sponsor? I don't think so !!

Patsy©
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Patsy© »

Service wrote:Many of us have friends in A.A and they are not the GovernMental type, thoese that don't understamd need to find someone to answer the phone when they call to gossip - I perfer may frids in A.A. rather than some self proclamed administer , most sponsor administers come here alone and leave alone - A.A as a whole works just fine - LOL Let go let your sponsor? I don't think so !!
Administer? Sponsor Administers?

Service, its very obvious to those of us who actually attend AA .... that perhaps it is you who has no clue what an AA sponsor does and does not do. With every single post that I read of yours, it becomes very clear that, that is the case.

Not sure what you are getting out of doing what you are doing..........but carry on! :)
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!

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PaigeB
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by PaigeB »

Questions and answers on Sponsorship - you know, just in case. I think it is always a win/win situation when we refer to the conference approved literature!

http://aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?category=4&product=17
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

Patsy©
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by Patsy© »

Thank you for posting that Paige, I too believe that it is always best to refer to AA conference approved literture :)
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!

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ann2
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Re: I've had a slight difference of opinion with my sponsor.

Post by ann2 »

Patsy© wrote:Service, its very obvious to those of us who actually attend AA .... that perhaps it is you who has no clue what an AA sponsor does and does not do. With every single post that I read of yours, it becomes very clear that, that is the case.

Not sure what you are getting out of doing what you are doing..........but carry on! :)
Thanks Patsy, that gave me a smile this morning!

I agree, the fear of what happens in AA . . . including sponsorship, but many other things as well . . . usually disappears with experience.

Just want to put in a plug for a new book by our good friend Ernie Kurtz and his friend katherine ketcham, The Spirituality of Imperfection. I'd heard it recommended and had a gift certificate, so . . . turns out it is a wonderful, wonderful way to approach spirituality in AA or otherwise, but there are many references to AA in it so I kinda imagine it is something for our crowd. Something for sponsors to recommend I think! :wink:

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

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