Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

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?

Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby Serenity Seeker » Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:07 pm

Hello! I have a highly intelligent, deeply troubled sponsee who gets bored quickly and has been a chronic relapser for ten years. She just became my sponsee and I'd like to try a different approach to working with her in regards to step work. I have always followed the system set in place by my sponsor for my sponsees because it's worked, but this same system has not worked for my new sponsee with other sponsors in the past. For instance, we are going to start Step 1 this week, and the typical assignment I give to sponsees is to write ten examples of how their life is/was unmanageable as a direct result of their drinking. I'd like to do this with my sponsee, but am looking for other step 1 work as well. She really likes homework and assignments, so I want a lot of options to give her.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Serenity Seeker
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:11 pm

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby ann2 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:44 pm

Has she done a reverse chronological drinking history? Starting with the last drinking episode, write down

1. Basic data -- date, day, time of day, location, people involved
2. What you were expecting from the drinking
3. What actually happened

It's important to keep the answers brief and to the point because after describing the last drunk, you go to the second-to-last, and the one before that, and so on. I found it helpful for acknowledging 2 things specifically: I drank no matter what, and I couldn't control the outcome.

Other than that I concentrate on each sponsee finding commonalities with descriptions of alcoholics in the BB, particularly in Bill's story, because as long as we all find echoes of our illness there, we're all united :)

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 8687
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby ann2 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:58 pm

Here's another -- I like to recommend the essays of dr. Harry Tiebout. They really helped me understand my illness. The ones I read were:

The Act of Surrender in the Therapeutic Process
The Ego Factors in Surrender in Alcoholism
Surrender Versus Compliance in Therapy

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 8687
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby Tosh » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:28 pm

Step 12 work is never boring, just hard work sometimes. My suggestion is to just follow the directions in the Big Book with her - keep it simple - and then when she's had the spiritual awakening, encourage her to get her ass out chasing prospects down. If she's as smart as you say she is, hopefully she could use this to be of service to others.

Intensive work with other alcoholics 'n' all that.
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)
User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 3647
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:43 pm

She probably attempted several times on her own to stop but failed. Ask her what led her to going back to drinking. She should be able to identify the "Queer mental twist" and un-manageability preceding going back out. See if she can realize that she is powerless and that she has no defense against the first drink, left on her own devices. The physical craving is very easy to spot.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
User avatar
avaneesh912
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 4643
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby sober8688 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:07 pm

my present step sponsor had me do something I thought was great.It helped me a lot and kept me in the book

we started off with the Dr`s Opinion.I read thru it,looking up word definitions and writing out the definitions.I underlined or highlighted everything I thought was important or anything that jumped out at me.
We got together in 1 week and we read it back thru one page at a time,discussing what we read.
The next thing was ,I went home and re-read the Dr`s Opinion.I looked for 2 things this time.
The solution and the problem.
I highlighted everything concerning the problem,and then the solution.
I put a "S" in the book margin where I found references to the solution and a "P" where I found the book referring to the problem.
I then met my sponsor 1 week later and we went over it again together,one page at a time.
when we had been thru it,I then used that as step one,part one,we admitted we was powerless over alcohol.
He also had me to start practicing the solution ( altrusium) at home.


then to the second part of step 1,our lives had become unmanageable.
we used chapter 3,more about Alcoholism for that.

I read thru it,looked up and wrote out word definitions ,highlighted or underlined everything i thought was important or jumped out at me.
We met and went back over it one page at a time,discussion what we read.
Then I was sent back home to go over it again alone,this time looking for warnings,directions and promises
I highlighted each one in a different color,and put a "w" for warning,or a "d" for a direction,or a "p" for a promise in my book margin and we met again and went back over it,one page at a time.
It is my sponsors job to help me see my true condition.
All that work brought me to the last paragraph on chapter 3,the alcoholic,at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink.I believe it or start over at the first of the book cause I missed something.

that is some in-depth book work on step one and it will take some time to see the "mechanics" of my first step.it took me a month but I had throughtly studied 2 chapters in the big book and step one and saw my true condition,my powerless over alcohol and how I could not manage the thoughts preceding the first drink.

we did the rest of the steps in the book that way.Whew!
I was glad when we got done.Thats a lot of work but worth every minute I put in it
sober8688
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:04 pm

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby sober8688 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:19 pm

I would like to add that after this we did step 1 like I posted,we started on step 2,and he used chapters 4,2 and the Spiritual Appendix in the back of the book for that,in that order.
I spent 16 months going thru the steps with him,doing it his way.I ended up with 3 composition notebooks full of stuff,including word definitions,notes and my 4th step.

that should keep her busy if she is serious.Let me add several more things,if they are not serious,they will not do the work and
The sponsor cannot supply the willingness for the sponsee.
sober8688
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:04 pm

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby Stepchild » Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:18 pm

That is pretty intense sober 8688.....But I have to be real honest with you. With my experience....I didn't have 16 months to get better...I wouldn't have made it that long...I know that. I did the same steps out of the same book in a couple months. I'm glad that worked for you....I needed relief from the suffering and I needed it ASAP....Or I would have drank again...And that probably would have killed me.

To the OP....I know a lot of chronic relapsers and it's usually not boredom that keeps them from taking this action....It's usually fear. I'm a firm believer that when all else fails...Follow the directions....If she doen't understand them....Show her. If she's not willing to do that....Maybe she's not ready.....What do the directions tell us we should do? Find someone that is.
Stepchild
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 1437
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:31 pm

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby sober8688 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:17 am

i`ve done the tseps in many ways,fast or slow indepth or scratching the surface.I got more relief from this that the other ways

good luck to you and her
sober8688
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:04 pm

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby Tosh » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:46 am

Shortly before Dr Bob died he said, "Remember Bill, let’s not louse this thing up. Let’s keep it simple."

I never keep things simple to start with though. I like to overcomplicate everything - make it really difficult - because I kinda (unwisely) sense that the tougher something is, the more I'll benefit from it. I even enrolled on a two year foundation course of Buddhist Thought, which was heavily scholastic (Gelug - famous for it's Madyamika scholars) and I had essays with dead-lines to hand in. We studied stuff like the Two Truths (conventional and ultimate) from the philosophical points of view of four different historic schools of Buddhism. It was somewhere around that point that I thought "What the heck am I doing?" :lol:

I've a similar journey with my meditation and probably lots of other stuff too. It's what I do; I make things complicated and tough, and eventually when I get tired of it, I'll either bin it, or take a step back and keep it simple.

Serenity Seeker wrote: She really likes homework and assignments, so I want a lot of options to give her.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


My long-suffering sponsor, when we reached Chapter 7 of the Big Book he asked me to stand up, man-hugged me and declared me a recovered alcoholic. He then gave me the best homework assignment yet; he said "Now go find a sponsee!"

And if your sponsee wants an intellectual challenge, suggest she attends a night class or something!
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)
User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 3647
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:00 am

Serenity Seeker wrote: highly intelligent, deeply troubled sponsee who gets bored quickly and has been a chronic relapser for ten years.


Does she tear up or cry a lot in meetings when she tries to talk or at any time when the two of you talk?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
User avatar
ezdzit247
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 2077
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:38 pm
Location: California

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby PaigeB » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:38 am

Some of you probably know that in my infinite wisdom, without a sponsor as a guide, I read Step 10 & 11 in the Big Book. Then when I got a sponsor to work through the book with me we started at the Dr.'s Opinion and went through them all. I got through them at about 18 months. I had been around the program about 17 years prior, but had never worked the Steps.

Recently took on a gal who has blown through the fellowship blaming everyone for everything. She got her 4 year chip shortly after I began to sponsor her. She says she has gone through 1-9 with 3 other sponsors in her sober time and wanted to start on Step 10. Truth is, I think she needed to move on to working this in her daily life ~ or at least have an idea of what a daily program looks like! So we have finished 10 & 11. Now I think she needs to at least glance at 1-9 so I get a better idea and she gets a new idea about defects of character! She is not very willing to do this - she wants to get through 12 and cannot explain why she wants to get there so badly.

Sigh. Oh well - just throwing it out there as an option. Getting active in daily living might be new & interesting. At least she has some idea of her defects. :lol:
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
User avatar
PaigeB
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 10392
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby tblue818 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:59 am

How's this for "Homework"? :wink: It's from Barefootsworld - Barefoot Bill's website at end of Step 1.

EDIT: Just recalled the 'shortcut' once heard to gauging my spiritual condition: "Count the number of times you are disturbed/anxious/angry/irritated...in a day."

xa-speaker study group ((The BB Study Group by Bill L and Mike L (same guy that wrote "The Spiritual Malady" article, methinks) that goes with the Stepwork Pages. I'm enjoying the fresh approach, so am just passing it along.)) [link removed per forum policy by a moderator pm user for link]

barefootsworld (pm poster for link, link removed by a moderator per forum policy)

STEP ONE UNMANAGEABILITY EXERCISE

We can use the spiritual malady references mentioned in the Big Book (page numbers provided) to review honestly the unmanageability in our CURRENT lives. The following are statements that best capture the inner and outer experience of the alcoholic for what is called in the Big Book, "the spiritual malady". The disease of alcoholism has three parts: physical, mental and spiritual.

The spiritual part of the puzzle is the deepest part and is sometimes called "the root of our troubles" or "untreated alcoholism" (whether we are drinking or not). These are manifestations of being blocked off spiritually (whether we are drinking or not) & they are basically caused by self-centered fear. The Big Book says on page 62, "Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles". But remember, it then says on page 64, "When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically."

That's why if we JUST stop drinking and DON'T grow spiritually, our inner life (as THE RESULT of what's listed below) continues to get worse because we haven't dealt with the root problem yet. If you CURRENTLY have unmanageability in the following areas of your life, please consider the fact that you may be suffering from untreated alcoholism (whether you are drinking or not), you may be headed toward your next drink, and you may be closer to a relapse than you think you are. It doesn't matter so much how long it's been since your last drink, what matters MORE is how close you are to your next one. - Barefoot Bill

1) Am I generally restless, irritable (which means "easily annoyed") and discontented (which means "never satisfied")? (Page xxviii) YES____ NO____.
Do you experience these feelings often? YES____ NO____.
Do you feel like you never belong or that you are not a part of, even in AA? YES____ NO____.
Are you usually uncomfortable in your own skin? YES____ NO____.
Do you experience an ongoing sense of sadness? YES____ NO____.
Do you often feel like "something is missing"? YES____ NO____.

2) Am I having trouble with personal relationships? (Page 52) Do you take care of others too much, to the point where you neglect to do the things you need to do to take care of yourself? YES____ NO____.

List names of those close to you (family, friends, co-workers) and evaluate how you are getting along with these people. Also include your relationship with yourself and your Higher Power. Include a few examples of how you treat perfect strangers or those who can't do anything for you. What seems to be the problems that you are having with those around you?
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________


3) Am I having trouble controlling my emotional nature? (Page 52) Are most of your days best described as emotionally up and down? YES____ NO____.
Consider how you manage your emotions. Are you in control of your negative emotions or are they in control of you? IN CONTROL____ NOT IN CONTROL____.
When you lash out in anger, do you feel like you have no other choice or that it's "their fault"? YES____ NO____.
Look at some of your more frequent negative emotions (like jealousy, impatience, lust, fear, guilt, frustration, greed, anger, shame, etc.) and analyze them individually in the following way: When you feel this way, what do you say and do? Are you able to find ways to quickly work through them without harming yourself or others, or do you become unapproachable for hours or days at a time? Are you quick to criticize with a biting or sarcastic tongue? Do you beat yourself up for feeling this way? __________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________


4) Am I prey to misery and depression? (Page 52) How often in the average month are you miserable or depressed? ____ TIMES.
How long does it last and what do you do to get rid of it?
__________________________________
__________________________________
How does life and other people's behavior cause you misery and depression? What was going on the last few times you were miserable or depressed?
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
Are any of these recurring? _________________________________.
When you are miserable or depressed, do you avoid people, sleep all day, think about hurting yourself or others, or seek escape through alcohol/drugs/food/etc. or extended periods in front of the TV or computer? YES____ NO____.

5) Am I having trouble making a living? (Page 52) What areas of your life are not in balance? Included here are: finances / savings / spending / credit cards /loans, your marriage / parenting / friendship / work life, education, physical / emotional / mental /spiritual health, do you set aside time for fun / for being / be alone, are you overweight, do you drink too much coffee or smoke too much, are you having problems getting or keeping a job, have you had a routine medical check-up recently, etc.
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________


6) Do I feel useless? (Page 52) Do you often wonder why you are even alive?" YES____ NO____.
Do you often feel inconvenienced or taken advantage of by others? YES____ NO____.
Do you have difficulty finding interests or "fitting in"? YES____ NO____.
Do you feel like there is no meaning to your life or that you have nothing to contribute to life? YES____ NO____.
Explain any "YES" here:
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________


7) Is fear a big part of my life? (Page 52) How much of the average week are you experiencing fear? ____ %.
What do you say or do when you are fearful? __________________________________
What does fear prevent you from doing?
__________________________________
How do you get rid of fear? ____________________________________.
List some of your more common fears. Ask yourself why you have them and if they are real or imagined? __________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________


8) Am I often unhappy? (Page 52) How much of the average week are you unhappy? ____ %.
What do you say or do when you are unhappy?
__________________________________
How do you get rid of unhappiness? __________________________________
Can you usually be described as positive and upbeat? YES____ NO____.
When asked about how you are doing, you say that you are doing well. Even though you say that, do you often know deep down within that this is not the truth? YES____ NO____.
What areas or past events in your life bring about recurring unhappiness? __________________________________
__________________________________


9) Am I of real help to other people? (Page 52) When was the last time you brought someone new to a meeting? ______.
Do you include your number on phone lists for newcomers? YES____ NO____.
Or do you think that you have nothing to offer them? YES____ NO____.
Every week, do you reach out to someone in need or in pain (in AA and outside of AA) and expected nothing in return? YES____ NO____.
Are you successful when you try to help others? YES____ NO____.
Do you think that it is important to grow in ways that would make you become more helpful to others? YES____ NO____.

10) Do I think I know what's best for everyone? Are you often like the actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in your own way? Do you believe that everybody, including yourself, would be pleased and that life would be wonderful if only they would do as you say? Can you sometimes be quite virtuous, kind, considerate, patient, generous, even modest and self-sacrificing; yet at other times be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest (depending on which will work in getting YOUR way)? Are you often a victim of the delusion that you can wrest (which means "to take away by force") satisfaction and happiness out of this world if you only manipulate well? (Page 60-61) YES____ NO____.
Do you spend a lot of time getting frustrated when others don't behave the way you think they should? YES____ NO____.
Is there anyone that you refuse to forgive? YES____ NO____.

11) Am I driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity? (Page 62) Do you often wonder why you do what you KNOW you shouldn't be doing and don't do what you KNOW you should be doing? YES____ NO____.
Do you have trouble showing up on time? YES____ NO____.
What is the general condition of your inner dialogue/self-talk/self-criticism? GOOD____ BAD____.
Although you may not be currently drinking or drugging, do you have other "addictions" (other areas in your life that are out of balance or out of control)? YES____ NO____.
If so, give examples.
__________________________________
__________________________________


12) Am I an extreme example of self-will run riot, though I usually don't think so? (Page 62) Do friends and relatives sometimes say that you are selfish even though you don't agree? YES____ NO____. Do you end relationships only because the other person doesn't act the way you think they should? YES____ NO____.
Are you a "team player"? YES____ NO____.
Do you spend most of the time thinking of yourself instead of thinking of what you can do for others? YES____ NO____.
Is your motto "what's in it for me"? YES____ NO____.
Do you exhibit signs of or participate in "road rage"? YES____ NO____.
Would other drivers describe you as considerate? YES____ NO____.

13) Am I leading a double life? Are you very much the actor, presenting to the outer world your stage character, which is the one you like your fellows to see? Do you want to enjoy a certain reputation, but know in your heart that you don't deserve it? YES____ NO____.
Are you under constant fear and tension because of this, worrying that you may be "found out"? (Page 73) YES____ NO____.
Are you lying to or keeping something from your sponsor/spiritual advisor/recovery network? YES____ NO____.
Do you usually do what you say and say what you do? YES____ NO____.
Are you involved in relationships (romantic or illegal) that you shouldn't be? YES____ NO____.

14) Am I like a tornado roaring through the lives of others? Do you have a habit of breaking hearts, sabotaging sweet relationships, and uprooting affections? (Page 82) YES____ NO____.
Have you avoided making amends to your family and those closest to you? YES____ NO____.
Do you have difficulty keeping friendships for more than a few months? YES____ NO____.
Do you have a habit of pushing people away? YES____ NO____.
Are you pursuing newcomers for something selfish instead of only helping them in their recovery and spiritual growth? YES____ NO____.
Do co-workers, family, and fellow AA's find you unapproachable? YES____ NO____.

15) Are my selfish and inconsiderate habits keeping my home in turmoil? (Page 82) Are you more interested in your own needs and wants than you are with the needs and wants of your family? YES____ NO____.
Have you made amends to your family but continue the behavior you originally made amends for? YES____ NO____.
Do you sometimes hide away at meetings to avoid responsibilities at home? YES____ NO____.
Do you spend "quality time" with your spouse/family on a regular basis? YES____ NO____.
Would your spouse/family agree with your previous answer? YES____ NO____.
Has anyone in your household recently said to you, "The only person you ever think of is yourself."? YES____ NO____.

After evaluating these areas, can you now admit that even though you may not be currently drinking, your life (especially you inner life) is unmanageable? YES____ NO____.
tblue818
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:17 am

Re: Great assignments for a new sponsee who's not new to AA

Postby Vegasgymrat » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:58 am

Thank you tblue818, that is a fantastic exercise you posted! Really made me think!!
Vegasgymrat
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:52 am


Return to Sponsorship

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest