Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

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?
Post Reply
Bri
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:59 pm

Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Bri » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:15 pm

Hi everyone!

I have a new situation that I am looking for feedback on. I have worked with 7 or 8 newcomers in the past couple of years so while I am not brand new to sponsoring women I have come into a situation that I am unfamiliar with and was wondering what experience might be found on this forum.

I have just agreed to work with a woman who has been in the program longer than I have. She told me she has never gotten past the 4th step. We met for the first time last week. So, how do I begin? Are her immediate needs any different than someone who is brand new to the program? It's a given that we will read the Big Book and Twelve and Twelve together, because that's just what we do.

Thanks for reading and I am sure I will be thanking you later for all the great ideas!

Bri

User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3743
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Tosh » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:33 pm

Hi Bri,

You know our leaflet on sponsorship suggests that we only sponsor people of the same sex as ourselves? I understand, given that sexuality isn't always straightforward that this may not always be appropriate, but can I ask why she can't be sponsored by a woman?

As for sponsoring someone with some sober time in A.A., I'd just do it pretty much the same as I'd sponsor a newcomer. I'd suggest they go to meetings, find a homegroup, volunteer for a little service and I'd meet up on a regular basis to go through the Big Book and just do the actions as we come to them.

But I wouldn't sponsor a woman because if I found them attractive, I'd want to have sex with them. I may or may not have the resolve not to sleep with her, and she might be wise enough not to let me, but still, it just adds a layer of non-spirituality that I can do without. And if I didn't find her attractive, it still sets some kind of weird reasoning system where I'd only sponsor a woman if I didn't want to 13th Step her.

My sponsor is also black n white on this subject; his first sponsor left his wife and children over a lady he sponsored. I'm also fairly black 'n' white about it with the guys I sponsor (apart from a gay sponsee who can sponsor women; I've heard his step 4, he's safe and so are they).

Mrs Tosh wouldn't let me either. :lol:

Edited to add: I am assuming from your name that you are male? :oops:
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
Niagara
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1074
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:38 am

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Niagara » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:04 am

I'm reading tosh's post and cringing.....my sponsor is male. I'm female ;)

I know I'm safe with him though. Time has proved that.

I would like to say though, if she hasn't completed the steps, she's not been in the programme longer than you have. All the growth comes from the steps, so...meetings do not = in the programme.

I would take her back to the beginning I think. The first three steps can be done quickly anyway. One thing you might have to watch out for is her telling YOU how it's done. I've noticed this to be a common thing anyway, us alkies always know best, even when our lives are in the toilet, but if she perceives herself to be doing this longer than you, her pride might well make her a tad unteachable. Just something to be on the lookout for :)

Best wishes
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt

User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3743
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Tosh » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:16 am

I'm over six years sober and I do honestly put effort into my spiritual program and supplement it with other stuff like meditation classes; I even did a two year formal course in Buddhist philosophy.

Yet I can still look at an attractive lady (and I can find something attractive about most ladies) the 'wrong way'. :lol:

I once had a lady in tight leggings ask me to sponsor her. She wore these really tight figure hugging leggings. She told me, while wearing these tight leggings that she was a bit of a tom boy, that she never really related to other women and that she'd like me to sponsor her.

She was wearing these really tight leggings. Anyway, my first thought was "How can I sponsor this lady without my sponsor or Mrs Tosh finding out?" Luckily enough my 2nd thought was the better one (it's usually the case with me) and I suggested she find a same-sex sponsor.

Did I mention she was wearing these really tight figure-hugging leggings?

And can you see why people like me (men usually) shouldn't sponsor women? :lol:
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
Niagara
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1074
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:38 am

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Niagara » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:15 am

:lol:

I'm guessing, just a stab in the dark, she wore tight leggings!

I can indeed see the problem, aye. And I can say, I don't think I ever met a fella in AA that I would be happy to ask to sponsor me....apart from the one I have (who offered his help, because he saw I was struggling) I've had a few try to 'pick me up' too, and I've seen it go on around me. I got zero interest in all that though. And I wouldn't sponsor a guy myself either (because it appears I've just learned I'm a hypocrite :shock: )

For some reason I trusted him, right from the off. Can't explain it, but he is a very spiritual, religious man who walks the walk, and has done for many years. I've seen attractive women throw themselves at him, water off a ducks back. My feminine wiles do not serve me well with him, he's far too wise for that rubbish :lol:
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt

User avatar
clouds
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:45 am
Location: France

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:57 am

I'd never support someone in AA to get an opposite sex sponsor. I've seen too many messy things happen.

For myself, I'm married so that adds more weight to staying with women sponsees. It would cause some tension in our home to have an AA guy phoning or meeting for coffee or say meeting alone to do some 5th step work. My hubby wouldnt be ok with it. He may say its ok, but there would be that tension. I know I would feel wierd getting that closely involved with a man not my husband! Its very deep when listening to someone's struggles with sobriety and creates a beautiful intimacy rarely experienced anywhere else in life. I'd definately not like it if my Hub were to sponsor a woman. :mrgreen:
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

User avatar
clouds
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:45 am
Location: France

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:00 am

Just asked my husband what he thought if I sponsored a guy.

Response was not repeatable on this forum. :lol:
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3743
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Tosh » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:27 am

clouds wrote: For myself, I'm married so that adds more weight to staying with women sponsees.
My sponsor talks about leadership in relation to sponsoring. I think he gets that from the 12 Concepts of A.A. (which I've never really looked at :oops: ). Concept IX talks about good leadership at all levels.

His take on it is that sponsors should lead primarily by example "Do as I do, not as I say" and part of that is not sponsoring women. I've asked about sponsoring a woman before - someone who would've been completely safe - I wouldn't 13th Step this woman even if I were drinking (not meaning to be unkind; just factual).

His take was that if I sponsored a woman, even one whom sexual liaisons would be impossible, what kind of precedent would that set to the guys I sponsor? "Oh, it's okay for Tosh to sponsor a woman, but he's adamant I shouldn't do it! So what's so special about him?"

That and Mrs Tosh would knack me. :lol:
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
clouds
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:45 am
Location: France

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:27 am

Example is often the best teacher.

My husband says hormones f everybody up.

I think its more about the intimate connection we can have with other AA's.

My husband is in another 12 step program and so we share constantly about the steps and that, but still, when I hear AA's share strength experience hope and I can relate to it, it is something special.

For many people its not the external attributes of a person that makes them attractive. I see all shapes and sizes of people hopelessly in love, or something like that I guess. Its something else that bonds people besides hormones, got to be.
So there can be always some danger imo.

Mostly I always have to be careful and vigilent about not harming others and watch out for my own ego, constantly asking myself "why am I doing this?" New people are almost always fairly vulnerable and in a tough spot in their relationships with everybody around. And I havent seen many people open the doors to their first meeting with stories of a golden home life. :?
The concepts, I say! Been many years since I've read those. They were great when I was g.s.r. Probably still are. Can't remember. You peakedmy curiosity, going to have a read.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

Bri
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:59 pm

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Bri » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:30 am

Guess I should have mentioned I am a woman...
I should also mention that I have been married to my hubby for 34 years now (geez, now you know I am an old lady :lol: )
Last edited by Bri on Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5140
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:33 am

Guess I should have mentioned I am a woman...
Just have fun Bri. Some members act silly sometimes. We are not a glum lot hey!
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)

Bri
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:59 pm

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Bri » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:53 am

I loved the replies! No offense taken here, Bri is short for Bridget - not Brian- although it's not important just a little FYI stuff... :wink:

One thing I hadn't thought of was her telling me how it's done. I have a tendency to doubt myself - especially when there is longer sobriety involved - (big old bad habit I pray about everyday).

User avatar
clouds
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:45 am
Location: France

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:53 am

Oh good. Then I can share about spnsoring someone with more sobriety.

Its ok if you have the humility. If they are also older than you age wise it can be more difficult.

I agree with Niagra on all other points! :D

I for one am happy this discussion took place about sponsorship.

I was frequenting another aa site and got blasted for even suggesting same sex sponsorship was the traditional approach.

It actually resulted in my leaving same site! :(
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

User avatar
clouds
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:45 am
Location: France

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by clouds » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:56 am

Bridget, a lovely name.

I'm sure you will make a great sponsor for her. Hope you enjoy the experience too!
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.

Service
Forums Contributor
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:33 pm

Re: Working with someone who isn't a newcomer

Post by Service » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:04 pm

Carry the message not the Alcoholic! "Personal" wiliness is the key - IF THEY have a question ask different members in A.A to respond to the question - I think you all will be surprised of the truth. :idea:

Post Reply