My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

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?
thedaysaddup
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My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by thedaysaddup »

Greetings e-AAers,
I had an experience with my sponsor that I need so me help with and I am hoping some of you guys/gals with a program will be able to help. I came into AA a little over 12 months ago. At my second meeting I asked the chair to be my temporary sponsor. We began working together on a semi regular basis. We would talk about step work when we were driving to meetings and met together many times outside the rooms of AA. At around 9 months I talked about dating with my sponsor and he told me its good as long as I keep the program first. Well, a little after that talk I started talking with a female who has a few months more than me. I had 9 months when we met and we were friends for about a month when I started getting odd questions from my sponsor about her. (This is someone I met through my sponsor because he would give her rides to meetings and sometimes she would come out to eat dinner after meetings and things like this). The question was have you f***ed her. I would reply no. We are friends (which was true, I did not think of her in that way yet and looked at dating fellow AAers as a bad move). These questions continued coming every time I would see or talk to my sponsor. Well, eventually she kissed me. The next time we were together she told me there was something she needed to tell me. Apparently, my sponsor had been trying to get with her in a sexual way ( my Sponsor is married and sharing a home with his wife so I was unaware of this). She continued to explain to me how a few weeks before our kiss that (when she was upset and emotionally vulnerable due to the ending of a past relationship) he kissed her and she responded to it.

A month or so later (our relationship has grown to be somewhat serious by this point) She went on to tell me about how there was a night after their kiss that he called her before giving her a ride to a meeting and says "your getting F***ed tonight. She tried to brush it off as a bad color joke. He then after picking her up and driving to the meeting goes on to explain his wife is out of town and that he is going to take her home after the meeting. (It is important to note this woman was a rape survivor and had shared this with my sponsor). That night she found another person to give her a ride home and was luckily able to avoid the situation.

After finding this out I began to think that I needed a new sponsor (one that is not a sexual predator that attempts to manipulate and take advantage of emotionally vulnerable AA newcomer women). I shared some of my thoughts minus a few of the details with someone whom I thought was a trusted friend. The next meeting I was at with my sponsor after talking with my "trusted AA friend" my sponsor "fired" me because me because he could not support me in this relationship.

The way this happened makes me think that the confidence I asked for when discussing this with my friend was broken. It seemed a bit of the I'm not fired I quit kind of thing. I was okay with what happened at first I looked at it as, well the end result was the same he is no longer my sponsor. But now I am having a lot of anger resentment and general lack of serenity regarding the situation with my sponsor and how my now girlfriend was treated. I feel like this will continue to happen to other women unless someone (me) stops him. I know that as for the program is concerned it is up to the higher power to deal with these types of people and that they should be viewed as spiritualy sick. But this is someone who is supposed to be a pillar in our local AA community and someone that talks a pretty good program which makes me even more angered toward both him and my AA meetings too.

I asked someone else to be my sponsor since then and am going to begin work with them. I have not gone into details about this with them yet because at this point it would probably end up being a verbal vomiting session.

Please share with me your experience strength and hope. Help me to do the next right thing here. Good news is I haven't had to drink over this yet.

Thanks,

Thedaysaddup

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Niagara
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by Niagara »

It's so difficult. I don't really know what to suggest, but didn't want to read and run.

I know from my own experiences that people who talk a good talk, don't necessarily walk the good walk if that makes sense. What you can do about that, heck, I don't know. I really don't.
One guy who I got talking to at a very small meeting, we had quite a lot in common. No other women to talk to so we got chatting. After a couple of (ten -15 minute)conversations, this guy more or less decided that I shouldn't be married to my husband anymore because my husband wasn't alcoholic and I needed to be with someone like me, that I was totally stringing him (guy at meeting) along, playing with his feelings and got very stalkerish very quickly. Why did he turn? Because he asked me to meet him for coffee, and I said 'no, I'm married, but thank you' and so he tried to bully and manipulate me into a 'relationship'. Scared the living daylights out of me.........but what can I actually do? Thankfully avoidance and ignoring worked in my case, but what about the next girl that comes along. And he seemed so nice and friendly.

I also happen to know that he told his sponsor a totally different story, which painted me as the scarlet woman, and him as a rabbit in headlights who was pursued relentlessly whilst just innocently going about his own business. Which tells me two things. 1) sometimes anonymity/keeping confidences doesn't happen 2) sometimes being truthful doesn't happen.

I did try to talk to someone about this, but the reply which may or may not be pertinent was 'what was your part in it. why were you talking to him'..the guy had also been around longer than I had (the stalker guy). Fair do's. I don't chat to men in AA anymore, with the exception of the ones who are in my sponsorship group. Even in small groups.

Oh, and a pillar of the AA community in my city ripped me off for a lot of money for artwork I did up front because I was daft enough to trust them to pay me at the end of the month. 5 months later I still don't have it.

All I can say is watch your back. AA is only as safe as the people in it, and there are good people and bad people. I don't think any of us got there because we were angels, but some are less angelic than others....and others are outright devils. I needed to be aware of that to protect myself. Initially I was handing out my phone number willy-nilly, meeting for coffee and having people over to my house. Leaves me very vulnerable, because other than what they allow me to see, I don't know them from Adam really.

I know all this sounds very dark, and 'I hate AA'. I don't. I love this program, but I've got to be real about what it is sometimes. Rooms full of people who are not there because they are well. I thought at first everyone was lovely and had great intentions. That's not my experience, or the experience of any of the women I've met in AA. Most have had some kind of experience with this sort of thing.

Are there any solid as a rock old timers that you know of, that you could discuss your concerns with? My sponsor is aware of the situation with the 'stalker guy' and makes sure I am never left alone with that guy should he show up to meetings. Should I see him getting friendly with any female members I would aim to deflect and perhaps have a quiet word with them. I always make a point to speak with female newcomers. Sometimes, being a woman in AA is scary. If he turned on me, what would I do?
There are no AA police so we do have to watch our own backs, I'm afraid.

That's not to say that all in AA are after what they can get. That's not the case either, but some are wolves in sheeps clothing.

I am also a rape survivor. I have been told that I have an air of vulnerability that certain types of men (predators) are attracted to. An easy target, if you will. I'm looking for self defense lessons in attempt to get rid of some of that. Perhaps your girlfriend might get something from that too?

I hope it all works out for you. Tough situation.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt

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Layne
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by Layne »

thedaysaddup wrote:this is someone who is supposed to be a pillar in our local AA community and someone that talks a pretty good program
Members like that are excellent teaching tools because of exactly who and what they are. Talk is cheap and anybody can do it.

The world is full of people like them, so in order for me to learn to survive and thrive in the big world outside of the rooms of AA, I need people like that in the rooms.

Having people like that in the rooms also teaches me that the world of AA is imperfect, just as it should be, because perfection is a expectation that will never be met.

Tom S
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by Tom S »

Okay
Gonna be to the point
This subject is one of my two " pet peeves" in AA
Firstly, great job staying sober and not taking a drink
Your absolute priority is staying sober and you're a great example for me and others.
Well done.
I am not gonna try and tell you what to do; you have showed a lot of Grace and judgement thus far.
I do know prayer and following our principles of love and tolerance matter.
And I also have had good results with prayer and turning things over, seeking direction from HP.
Acceptance, page 417, and forgiveness of others so that I may be forgiven are also pretty proven techniques leading to serenity.
And that God is large and in charge, not me.
So having said that, I do know that keeping AA safe for all of us is a great big deal. And that sharing that general principle, without name calling, specifics or accusations may be helpful in shining Light in the Dark Corners.
In doing so, in a most general positive way, without names, innuendo, gossip or violating anonymity may be helpful.
Each of us finds his own path, so we ask each morning to be shown the way of patience, kindliness, tolerance and love.
The results are amazing.
It is His will, not ours.
I welcome more discussion.

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avaneesh912
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by avaneesh912 »

Everyone is caught in some desire. Spiritual life is so, we can work only on ourselves like others pointed out. Hope this gentlemen wakes out of the illusion.

BTW I have been watching the "The Tibetan Book of the Dead The Great Liberation" very interesting. If one doesn't elevate the consciousness he/she is sure to come back and take another birth. The next may not be a human birth. There again its all depends on how conscious one is. There are couple of them on the youtube you can watch it.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Lali
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by Lali »

Thedaysaddup,

It is unclear to me which part of your post you are seeking help with so I will comment on all of the issues you brought up.

First and foremost, you say you and your sponsor “talked about” step work. Have you actually taken the steps? I ask because one would be better equipped to handle situations like this if they were spiritually fit and spiritual fitness comes with working the steps and incorporating them into one’s daily life.

As for your girlfriend, you stated that “when she was upset and emotionally vulnerable (due to the ending of a past relationship), he kissed her and she responded to it”. So, she came off of one relationship, her vulnerability from that led her to respond to your sponsor’s kiss, and now she is with you.

This does not sound as if she is putting her program first. If she was vulnerable at the time of her physical contact with your sponsor, it stands to reason that she may still be in that same state of mind. If that is the case, and if she were to ask my advice, I would advise her to set romantic relationships aside for a bit and make her priority the program. In a vulnerable state, relationship issues often lead to relapse.

In your post, you asked for help in doing the next right thing. The next right thing just might be to put your relationship on a hiatus so that she can work on her issues. You stated that it is important to note that she was a victim of rape. If it is “important to note that she was a victim of rape”, that also says to me that she has serious issues to work through.

These are just my opinions and I’m sure if anyone here, including you, should disagree, I will hear about it!! I learn stuff every day from this group!

As for your sponsor’s behavior, we cannot stop anyone from doing anything. In other words, we are powerless over other people. I would be willing to bet that your speaking to him wouldn’t change his behavior one iota anyway.

If, however, you see other women in early sobriety (whom either you or your girlfriend are close to) being “hit on” by your ex-sponsor, you might kindly warn them of his past behavior. And I would certainly pass on that he is married in case they don’t already know this.

As far as the “You’re fired”, “No, I quit” thing, it sounds like that may be all about ego. Does it really matter how it ended? If it really bothers you, pray the serenity prayer whenever this issue pops up in your mind.

And finally, as for your “trusted friend” who passed on a confidence to your ex-sponsor, sounds like he needs to reminded of the Traditions. You might let him know that you are very disappointed with him as well.

BTW, your post highlights why men should not give rides to women and vice versa – at least not in early sobriety.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

thedaysaddup
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by thedaysaddup »

Thank you to all respondents my post. Specifically Layne, Niagara, and Tom S. Your replies along with talking with some people locally in my AA network (but were far enough removed from the groups I have been regularly attending so that unbiased help could be given) have helped me to release the anger than I have been picking up like a drink over the past few weeks.

The best analogy of what my experience with the anger has been like packing a suitcase for a vacation where my goal is to pack up my things and go be happy and enjoy my trip. But each time I shove all my t shirts, socks, underwear, etc. And begin to zip up my suitcase, the suitcase unzips, explodes open, and all my clothing goes flying around the room. So I repeat the packing process with the same ending over and over again. Obviously this isn't good if my goal is to go on this vacation and enjoy myself.

Well it has been two days and my suitcase seems to be able to stay zipped up because maybe now I have decided I do not need as many shirts, pants, whatever else.

I have decided that I will change my meeting schedule/ routine so that I do not have to see this ex-sponsor at this time. I have a new sponsor who I am going to work with and he is one of the oldtimers of my area and (30 years). So I am excited about restarting my work on the steps with him.

Thanks again for helping me get through this sober and hopefully more learned and experienced because of it.

Keep up the good work and I appreciate your experience, strength, and hope.

Thedaysaddup

jeffrooster
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by jeffrooster »

Hey there Thedaysaddup,
Spirtually sick hits it on the nail.
Lets talk about sponsering:
As a sponser I am not a financial advisor, it took me two years to get out of a mountain of debt.
As a sponser I am not a bank, I dont loan money to an AA. If a bank wont loan the person money then why would I.
As a sponser I'm not a taxi for shopping or to help run errands, I had no license for over a year and did all this without my sponsers help.
As a sponser I dont give relationship advise or ask you about it. Its none of my business. I'm divorced and have ruined four other, what could have been, great relationships. Who am I to tell you whats best on this matter.

Anyone who does this is overstepping their bounds as a sponser.

As a sponser I will:
Get you throught the twelve steps the same way that my sponser did for me
Recommend the Big Book and Twelve Step groups that worked for me also recommended by my sponser besides lead meetings
If you need to talk I'm there, anytime. But be enough of a man to tell you to get anothers opinion if I can't answer something.
If you call me for a ride TO A MEETING I'm more then happy to. No stops while enroute or returning.

Thats the way I learned, hope it helps,
Jeff

2cravings
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by 2cravings »

"I know all this sounds very dark, and 'I hate AA'. I don't. I love this program, but I've got to be real about what it is sometimes. Rooms full of people who are not there because they are well. I thought at first everyone was lovely and had great intentions. That's not my experience, or the experience of any of the women I've met in AA. Most have had some kind of experience with this sort of thing."

The women in AA are very vulnerable, and every time I hear a story like this I am deeply troubled. How can women get sober safely when there are so many predators in the rooms? If I advocate for a 'buddy system' where women watch out for each other, I am accused of gossiping and stepping out of Program. But it is what I think is needed. All-women groups don't work because there often aren't enough women for those groups..and the healthy men are missing, with whom women can practice their Program and learn a lot of great things.

AA men who are sick are doubly dangerous because they combine the misbehaviour of being alcoholic with the potential to behave like a sexual predator. I had a good (male) friend go that way, and it broke my heart.

The only solution I can think of is creating an open, active 'buddy system' among women alcoholics, to warn other women of the men who are unsafe. But it needs to be open, so that other women will know it exists and be aware of the risks in the rooms. Yes, this is dark. But I've been in the rooms for 11 years, I have 10 1/2 years straight and sober, and I see no other option.

Until that option exists, my advice is go to the female with the most sobriety and ask her opinion before getting involved in any kind of ongoing situation with a male member, sexual or not sexual.

D'oh
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by D'oh »

Lali wrote:
It is unclear to me which part of your post you are seeking help with so I will comment on all of the issues you brought up.

First and foremost, you say you and your sponsor “talked about” step work. Have you actually taken the steps? I ask because one would be better equipped to handle situations like this if they were spiritually fit and spiritual fitness comes with working the steps and incorporating them into one’s daily life.

As for your girlfriend, you stated that “when she was upset and emotionally vulnerable (due to the ending of a past relationship), he kissed her and she responded to it”. So, she came off of one relationship, her vulnerability from that led her to respond to your sponsor’s kiss, and now she is with you.

This does not sound as if she is putting her program first. If she was vulnerable at the time of her physical contact with your sponsor, it stands to reason that she may still be in that same state of mind. If that is the case, and if she were to ask my advice, I would advise her to set romantic relationships aside for a bit and make her priority the program. In a vulnerable state, relationship issues often lead to relapse.

.
Or possibly suffering from Codependency. Either way, I have seen the program can and does work. Your Co Sponsorship may work but not if you are in a serious relationship. BTW No New Serious Relationships for the first year was the rule 25 years ago when I came in.

2cravings
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by 2cravings »

No new relationships is still a great guide for alcoholics with under a year of sobriety.

Service
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by Service »

Can I ask you two honest question without everyone going on a rant here? This is not funny at all ok
1. What Step or Tradition told you to go find a Co-Dependent?
2. Your past is your greatest asset, looking back did You fell promotional pressure imposed on you to get a sponsor was more of a requirement ?
Honest questions deserves honest answers – unless of course one is regretful instead of grateful. :idea:

Robert R
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by Robert R »

Question = a request for information. Does not imply a duty to answer.
Answer = another persons perspective.

If I ask a question I am grateful if it is answered even if the answer disturbs me. I do not demand answers to questions as that is imposing my will on another.

When drinking I used questions as weapons to belittle another or put them on the spot. In sobriety I have no need of weapons. Questions are now used to broaden my knowledge or get a perspective of someone else's viewpoint and accept that persons right to answer the question or not as he/she sees fit. In sobriety I can also accept that persons answer or silence without throwing it back at them.

Climbing a mountain for the first time and meeting a fellow climber descending it is a foolish person indeed who does not ask what lies ahead and seek guidance from one who has already travelled the path. This exchange of experience does not in any way imply co-dependancy.

I am reminded of my mothers advice when I was but a child "If it disturbs you, let it go, no point tilting at windmills"
Don't know exactly where I am going but I'm on my way and it's already much better than where I've been.

Service
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by Service »

Everyone has an experience not many have what A.A talks about an awakening.


“When we developed still more, we discovered the best
possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself.
We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgive-
ness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where
nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we
couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we
feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care.
PG 116 twelfth step”
Notice the word developed not learned?

Don't worry no big deal, someone else will will find you if sober here is not enough
Spend an hour on all 12 steps and it will take you a life time to practice them

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avaneesh912
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Re: My experience with my Sponsor. I need help.

Post by avaneesh912 »

Yesterday at the new-comers meeting a guy shared that for 20 years he evaded using a sponsor (i guess he never did the fifth either) but could never put together extended period of time and finally surrendered and started experiencing the power of God. Its unfortunate this fellowship is filled with hard-drinkers who don't need this process in its entirity and yet they try to force their idea of the program on open forums like this. And we in AA allow them to do this. Love and Tolerance the code. What a crock.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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