Playing God -- drawing the line?

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?
Jersey Rich
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Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Jersey Rich » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:41 pm

I have a sponsee whom I've taken thru the steps. He lives in a group home and doesn't drive as he lost his license. He's single and just middle aged but can't leave the home without a car. He seems content to let me drive him to meetings as he could have got his license restored a year ago but didn't. Doesn't want to pay a restoration fee, or lacks the discipline to save his money for it. I am tempted to push him to do so but my motives are mixed -- it would make him a happier person (so I think) as he's confined to an institutional setting without wheels; it would also save me driving him a couple times per week. Another problem is that I view his situation through my own values -- I'd go bonkers in his position without a car.

I've driven him for almost 3 years and it's getting tiresome. I'm starting to develop a resentment. I can't look at this objectively and I didn't mind driving him when he legally could not. Help!

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Brock
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Brock » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:37 am

Jersey Rich wrote: I've driven him for almost 3 years and it's getting tiresome. I'm starting to develop a resentment.
Others have written here about developing resentments around certain “AA services,” I am among them. I think it is different driving someone who is too old to drive themselves, I did this for an old timer once a week for a few years, didn’t mind and he was very thankful and appreciated my assistance. But when you get someone like you have I can see the predicament you are in, almost dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t, you may with your kindness be holding him back from standing on his own feet, but if you stop he may just not come to meetings.

I live in the West Indies, and in a place like this it is common to not have a car, so giving rides is an accepted practice, but this is usually offered or asked for after a meeting, when you see some folks looking for a taxi. My feeling is that getting yourself there, unless you are really old or disabled, may be part of what they call going to any lengths, of course picking up a person going to their first meeting is an exception.

It is much easier to suggest than it is to do, but I would tell him pretty well what you said here, it is affecting your contentment, and given the length of time you have done it, nobody, I expect even God, would blame you for telling him to find his own way.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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avaneesh912
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:58 am

I would suggest that he follows the traditions in his personal life too (tradition 7). There is a difference between giving a helping hand when they are in need but then if they are exploiting that gesture, you should cut loose. Don't let these fuel your resentment. First things first. Don't jeapordise your sobriety.
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)

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positrac
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by positrac » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:11 am

I am kind of old school----> well scratch that I am old school and even if they were my friend I would be hard pressed to make this individual get on the ball and start living life. I can bring my horse to water but he ain't gonna drink unless I add a lot of salt to his food.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

Jersey Rich
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Jersey Rich » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:31 pm

Thank you for your kind responses. It is hard for me to separate out the sponsor's role from the role of "benevolent parent"! as my sponsor notes often, it is easier to focus on someone else's issues rather than my own!

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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Lali » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:34 pm

Jersey Rich wrote:I have a sponsee whom I've taken thru the steps. He lives in a group home and doesn't drive as he lost his license. He's single and just middle aged but can't leave the home without a car. He seems content to let me drive him to meetings as he could have got his license restored a year ago but didn't. Doesn't want to pay a restoration fee, or lacks the discipline to save his money for it. I am tempted to push him to do so but my motives are mixed -- it would make him a happier person (so I think) as he's confined to an institutional setting without wheels; it would also save me driving him a couple times per week. Another problem is that I view his situation through my own values -- I'd go bonkers in his position without a car.

I've driven him for almost 3 years and it's getting tiresome. I'm starting to develop a resentment. I can't look at this objectively and I didn't mind driving him when he legally could not. Help!
He doesn't get his license because he doesn't need to - as long as you are driving him. It sounds to me like you are enabling him. What would he do if you were no longer around? IMO he needs to become more responsible and do things for himself.

Where I live, there are a lot of recovery houses, usually housing adults under the age of 40 (but some are older). These men and women go into these houses with goals, (besides getting/staying sober), i.e., gaining decent jobs, getting their licenses back (if they have lost them), purchasing some type of transportation, i.e., autos or motorcyles or even mopeds, and ultimately finding apartments of their own.

I am curious about this man's situation. How old is he? Does he work? Does he pay rent? Does he attend school? Or is just taking advantage that there is some place he can sleep and someone to drive him to meetings without actually doing anything to better himself?
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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positrac
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by positrac » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:41 am

Enabling is a good definition of that situation and it doesn't help us if we can't define intent with enabling and after reading Lali's post this really brings it full circle.

I would say this if I were your sponsor: Would you risk getting drunk over this situation? Are you losing sleep over that situation? What about this fella? You think he is losing sleep over a ride to a meeting or other places that you provide so generously?

We are not sober to become a door mat to society and your self esteems rides on boundaries that protect your sobriety. Just a thought on bring true to yourself without becoming selfish.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
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Tosh
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Tosh » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:30 pm

Can't you find some other guys - new guys - in need of a sponsor making it impossible for you to taxi your 'lazy' sponsee about?

"Sorry, Fred, I can't give you a ride any more - I'm busy with some new guys!"

Saying that, I have a regular commitment to an elderly A.A. and for about three-or-four years now I've picked him up and dropped him off, every week, at my homegroup. And on the rare occasion I can't, I arrange someone to do it for me. He doesn't appear to be grateful about it in the least; I didn't even get a Christmas card off the miserable auld gimp. :lol:

Occasionally he gets annoyed with me because I like a chat with my homegroup members after the meeting and he just wants to get home (he is elderly). He's long term sober; never done the steps (he tells me they're 'bunkum') and he's earned the nickname of 'Father Jack' (a character from Father Ted).

But he makes me go to the meeting - even on occasions where I may have skived off - he's taught me patience, tolerance, and how to maintain a long term commitment.

Sometimes - and I know this is really bad - but when he dies, I think I'll be pleased I won't have to give him a lift any more.

That is really terrible isn't it? :?
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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positrac
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by positrac » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:34 am

Tosh wrote:Can't you find some other guys - new guys - in need of a sponsor making it impossible for you to taxi your 'lazy' sponsee about?

"Sorry, Fred, I can't give you a ride any more - I'm busy with some new guys!"

Saying that, I have a regular commitment to an elderly A.A. and for about three-or-four years now I've picked him up and dropped him off, every week, at my homegroup. And on the rare occasion I can't, I arrange someone to do it for me. He doesn't appear to be grateful about it in the least; I didn't even get a Christmas card off the miserable auld gimp. :lol:

Occasionally he gets annoyed with me because I like a chat with my homegroup members after the meeting and he just wants to get home (he is elderly). He's long term sober; never done the steps (he tells me they're 'bunkum') and he's earned the nickname of 'Father Jack' (a character from Father Ted).

But he makes me go to the meeting - even on occasions where I may have skived off - he's taught me patience, tolerance, and how to maintain a long term commitment.

Sometimes - and I know this is really bad - but when he dies, I think I'll be pleased I won't have to give him a lift any more.

That is really terrible isn't it? :?
Made my day! Christmas card eh..... Sounds like my dad..... Although he is gone now but sounds familiar. You know one thing is this old bugger might keep you sober and through his characters of defects of being cheap and ungrateful among many these may be things you don't want to be known for and so in a weird way it works out for the good. Obviously it is choices with us all.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

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Blue Moon
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Blue Moon » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:35 pm

What does the Big Book say about letting an alcoholic stay at your house etc.? IMO a car is the same thing - it's OK to allow them to use it for a specific period of time, for a specific purpose. Beyond that, they are on their own. The individual needs to start taking personal responsibility for his life, and it sounds like he hasn't done so. Makes me wonder how much he's really integrated the Steps into life, rather than simply paying them lip-service as something to get through.
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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by zteknik » Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:37 am

Evening family, Bob alcoholic
I came across that situation a few times myself. I drove them around until they were able to go get themselves legal. I would not help financialy, but show them how to be self reliant.
If they did not want to do it, I reminded them on how it was when they were drinking. They would surely go out and get a drink by any means possible so now that they were getting sober they can get sober by any means possible.
Some learned and others just did not want it bad enough.

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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Sleddog75 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:54 am

Had no car coming into program. Sponsor took me into home as I was homeless. Made me walk to every meeting and everywhere I would spend about 2-3 hours walking a day. I got into great shape, found a beautiful place to pray, and I remember him driving past me on my way home from meetings he said "I dont do it to be mean, I do it to see how willing you are (see the last paragraph in the spiritual experience bb) " lol I'll tell you something all I had was a backpack and some dusty old work boots and I can say the first thing I became grateful for was a nice pair of hiking shoes. My feet killed me! I now make my sponsee walk everywhere. Willingness is mentioned 31 times in our OA literature. Gut check time! We don't carry people in the program we can retard their growth if we do. Just me saying how I discovered the value of willingness.

Sled

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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by positrac » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:25 am

Sleddog75 wrote:Had no car coming into program. Sponsor took me into home as I was homeless. Made me walk to every meeting and everywhere I would spend about 2-3 hours walking a day. I got into great shape, found a beautiful place to pray, and I remember him driving past me on my way home from meetings he said "I dont do it to be mean, I do it to see how willing you are (see the last paragraph in the spiritual experience bb) " lol I'll tell you something all I had was a backpack and some dusty old work boots and I can say the first thing I became grateful for was a nice pair of hiking shoes. My feet killed me! I now make my sponsee walk everywhere. Willingness is mentioned 31 times in our OA literature. Gut check time! We don't carry people in the program we can retard their growth if we do. Just me saying how I discovered the value of willingness.

Sled
That was a great post and I am reminded of your hardships and yet you kept coming back. I hope your inspiration will carry over to the ones you sponsor as this works if we work it.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Barbara D. » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:40 am

I have to be very conscious of my own motivation when I help others. At various points, I thought only I could take care of my Home Group's meeting money and purchase of supplies, that only my ESH could help various individuals. At times, I do seem to have uncanny intuition. I try to extend the hand of AA and act accordingly. When I extend MY hand, things get personal and confusing. From my mistakes with both sides of sponsorship, I have concluded that friendships and objectivity don't complement each other. And if I help you because I'm "supposed to," that dishonesty grows by leaps and bounds. I value unconditional love between alcoholics and try to respect its boundaries. AA ROCKS!!! In fellowship, Barbara D.

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Re: Playing God -- drawing the line?

Post by Spirit Flower » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:44 am

Every time I attempted to sponser someone, it was a disaster. So I don't do it.

Even at work, when I train someone I just say do this and do that. If they don't want to do it my way, I cut them loose. Don't get mad at me. I do it this way because it is successful and I have years of experience. Go ahead and make all the mistakes you want if you don't think I'm right. But I ain't sav'n yo axx either.

People hate to be told "do this" "do that" Ok, just don't ask me then.
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