Forever dependant on just A 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?
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tyg
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Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by tyg » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:37 am

I have many, many solid relationships in and outside of the program today. Thank you Alcoholics Anonymous!
Today, I have no secrets, my life is an open book. I have several AA friends to admit my "wrongs to my fellows" and talk about things that comes up in my 10th step work, the program or in life.

So… when we have recovered from this hopeless state of mind and body and the spiritual malady is overcome...why is it that we still need "a sponsor" what do they do? Especially when I have close friends…those who live the program and have straightened out their lives as a result and will tell me the truth. I love my sponsor, our relationship is wonderful, we can talk about anything! But, today I seem to need more than that "one person (my sponsor)." I seem to need the whole "villiage (all my AA relationships)" a lot more.

I am not saying sponsorship is not important, it was vital in the beginning. Sponsorship was my catalyst for change & growth. I don't think I could have stayed sober nor gotten a solid foundation without it. In the beginning, I see I really needed it. I needed that one on one person to talk with, learn about trust and how to build a relationship. I needed directions, someone to guide me and teach me how utilize these spiritual tools and live them.

My sponsor doesn't give me directions anymore or have to guide me. I utilize the basics and still follow the directions outlined in the first 164 pages. I Continuously clean house, depend on the God-consciousness I found and keep working with other alcoholics...all absolute necessities for me. Along with make some meetings and do other Service.

When reading,
Dr. Bob and the Good Ol Timers, AA Comes of Age, Pass it on, studying AA history and the Big Book... I get the same conclusion. IT takes a village of strong sponsorship (recovered fellowship) not just one, as we grow in effectiveness and understanding. But, 80% of my friends tell me trouble comes when no sponsor is used consistently. Use them how?

What are your thoughts from those who depend on practicing what is outlined in the first 164 pages of A.A.?
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

Stepchild
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Stepchild » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:05 am

That's a great post tyg. I came into AA I was undisciplined. I needed someone to hold me accountable and keep me focused on the steps. And I listened in meetings for someone that shared about the solution as laid out in the book. It was based on that that I made my choice. He asked me to do some things not in the book...I wasn't in much of a position to question them...So I took his suggestions. I called him every day to check in...Not texted him...He wanted to hear my voice....He wanted me to attend a meeting everyday and to set aside time for stepwork...I look at it now as he wanted to know what lengths I was willing to go to. The answer for me was any lengths.

I was well into my ninth step and living steps ten through twelve when I received my 90 day chip...I remember calling him that day...And he said....You don't have to call me anymore. Help someone else. I keep contact with him as a friend...As I do with a dozen or so others who's opinions I respect....But I don't base my life's decisions on their opinions. They talk about us being undisciplined in the book...Right after they show us how we should live our lives everyday...What worked so well for them....Pages 86 through 88....

We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.
pg 88

I've found this to be the most effective for me....I hear people in meetings talk about how they don't do anything major in life without their sponsor's approval....People with 20 and 30 years sobriety. Why do they do that? I guess for the same reason you hear people say they have been writing for weeks on their first step...Even though this is suggested nowhere....It's how they were taught.

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Tosh
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Tosh » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:33 am

I'm with Stepchild; my sponsor's responsibility was to help me through the Steps and get me 'connected to that power' (for want of some much better words).

I don't live in his pocket, I don't see him that regularly, I do phone him fairly irregularly. He says it's good to keep in contact because the poo will hit the fan at some stage in my life.

I think it's good to have a sponsor though, even with a few years under my belt. I can share about 'my sponsor' in the hope that it kind of normalises the situation and helps encourage - even if it's by indirect peer group pressure - the new guy to find a sponsor.

I have a partner, we're very close (most of the time :lol: ); I run major stuff through her first, not my sponsor.

And to be honest, most of the blokes I sponsor wouldn't want me micro-managing them (not that that's my responsibility anyway).
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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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Stepchild » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:54 am

I left out one very important suggestion he gave me...The day I met him. He had me read pages 86 to 88 every morning. ..This proved to be very beneficial for me as I started picking up this design for living as I worked the preceding steps. When it came time to live these steps 10 through 12....It was firmly planted in my mind. I thought all his suggestions were sound.

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Niagara
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Niagara » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:56 am

Stepchild wrote:
....I hear people in meetings talk about how they don't do anything major in life without their sponsor's approval...
I can only imagine my sponsors face if I expected him to effectively run my life for me. His thoughts are if he makes these choices for me, I'm never going to learn anything. I have to take responsibility for my own life now, and live with the consequences of my actions. That is not to say he doesn't direct and guide from a different viewpoint (and he DOES use the book to set me straight when I'm straying from the path....which he spots before I do usually), but the decisions are all mine to make. He more...corrects the thinking behind the decision when necessary? if that makes any sense at all. The decision is still mine to make. It's entirely up to me whether I choose to listen to his perspective, or not.

He is after all a guide, and my dependency should not be on him but rather God and this progra, at the end of the day. I am young in sobriety though, just over a year now. Still a long way to go, still lots to learn and I can't imagine trying to learn that big book and the messages within it without someone who knows the book inside and out. I read it through my eyes, and as a youngster that's very different to how HE reads it. It's a powerful book when studied, but reading alone I miss much of what it says. This is what I depend on him for rather than making my life decisions....learning the book and the program. It's up to me to utilize the tools within.

Hope that makes sense, there's a lot of distraction here today and it's hard to string a good thought together :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

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Brock
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Brock » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:38 am

Yes good topic, we have had it before but nice to look at it again. I am one of a few members here who never had a sponsor, but none of us speak out against it, it can be beneficial when you get a good one like you all did, but as a few topics which appear below this one indicate, where members are asking about changing sponsors and flaky people, there are ‘bad’ ones out there.

Perhaps twenty years ago we had little choice, there were no forums like this and the countless speaker tapes we have now, you can learn from various ‘journeys through the big book’ and internet sites how to approach the steps and live the program, but if you need someone to keep you ‘accountable’ find a good sponsor like others have, and as each of their sponsors understood after the steps say 'goodbye see you around.' The only ‘official’ AA position on this I have seen is in the not very good book ‘Living Sober,’ and it agrees with goodbye after the steps.

I like what Tosh said about discussing things with the wife, just as we discuss the grocery list or other household or family matters I sometimes pass AA matters by her, it has made us much closer than we were. But obviously there are things I can’t discuss with her, if you are lusting after the pretty neighbor who gardens in the shortest shorts keep it to yourself, if you think it’s becoming a problem discuss it with God.

I believe from reading things here like some people spending hours with their sponsor ‘discussing stuff,’ that many of us are becoming dependent on it, and thinking less ourselves about what we should do. The fact that the sponsors are willing to spend those hours has me believing they are dependent on ‘feeling’ they have helped as well. I don’t know enough about co-dependency to write about it, but I do believe that a lot of folks in AA have traded one dependency for another.

My favorite ‘be quick to see where religious people are right’ person is the preacher Joyce Myer, she sometimes warns her audience, which consists mainly of women, to stop phoning their friends every time they have a problem, she says “go to the throne before the phone,” first class advice indeed, I believe the program of AA supports this, the more you look to others for advice the less you will look inside and above, which is where the very best solutions lie.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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johnd
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by johnd » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:45 am

Hi tyg,
It is a great post. I really had several sponsors informally but the one I had formally was the one who guided and directed me on this path of sobriety. He always talked about the "Joy of Living".. He walked and talked this program and if he didn't have an answer for me he would suggest who in the fellowship may have so that I could get the help I needed.

He wasn't one to chase me I had do the footwork. Call, meet with him, go to a meeting together. and work through the steps.

He had been a big part of my sobriety. I will never forget him for that. We had became such
great friends as well. Whenever his anniversary comes around I am on the phone talking with him.. And he always calls me on mine.... He always says whenever I answer that phone call "Are you where you're supposed to be?" I chuckle because we had so many times that I would feel I should have progressed far more than I had in the early days... :lol:
It's true that the sponsor is a guide in helping through our process of getting sober and recover from that helpless and hopeless state. The sponsor's position is to help not to dominate and to control what we do or how we do. I've seen that as has been mentioned here in past posts.
Once the sponsor and the sponsee feel that they have done all they could with each other it is time to move on to the next alcoholic that is suffering. The sponssee has to at some point become a sponsor as well. It's also, as has been my experience, wise to keep the line open with your sponsor so you can check in with any overwhelming or questionable circumstances with your sponsee.

A sponsor can only do so much... They are not baby sitters, banks, hotel managers or food kitchen supervisors. They are people who learned how to live sober and wish to continue to help those who have a desire to get sober and recover.
Thanks for letting me share.... John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

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Duke
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Duke » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:11 am

I had a very similar experience to yours, John, although I actually had three. One in the role you describe, one who was in the same profession as me, and one for help with learning to apply these lessons in my marriage.

They were all very helpful to me and I will be eternally grateful to them. Two have now passed on and the other has moved quite a while ago.

I have not had a sponsor for many years now. I have, however, always had a few "go to" friends for when I find myself stuck on something.

I sponsor several people at any given time. However, based on Brock's thoughts in an earlier post, I've started asking people with years of sobriety who ask me to be their sponsor, to kindly share with me what they think that means and to tell me what role, specially, they see me filling for them.

It's been a good exercise. I think that the term sponsor means a lot of different things to people. I've found that when someone with good solid sobriety asks me to be their sponsor, they're really asking me if it's okay to call me when they need to talk.

So, I don't quibble with the term, but I do try now to make sure we both are giving it the same meaning.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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johnd
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by johnd » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:49 pm

Hey Duke, Just a side note that I experienced,
I recently decided to attend a BB Step Study group that will only allow you to share on the reading as long as you have gone through their process of having a BB sponsor from that group. It was like the beginning but, I had to bite my tongue as the rules of engagement had been laid out by a prospective sponsor for me with the group. I understand what they want the participants to do... But I sensed the ego of this person coming a cross very strongly. I said I will call if I have any questions... I also offered my telephone number to him as well he said " I will have your number when you call me I will put you on my favorite list in my phone." Sorry to say I haven't found it necessary to call him.... I did see him at another meeting. I just smiled and said to him keep coming.... :) I"m sure he is a good sponsor but I felt a little slighted even though I told him my experience with the BB and step work.. Maybe he was going to show me that I have had it all wrong all these years. :lol: Oh well Live and let Live...

John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

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whipping post
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by whipping post » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:30 pm

My experience is similar to everyone elses. My sponsor walked me through the steps and then kind of set me free. There were no control issues at all. He did ask me to text him first thing in the morning which I came to appreciate after the initial resentment. Doing that started my day thinking of someone else. Whether he intended to or not it made me think of the program first thing and has morphed into quiet time with a mini first, second, and third step every day. We've never discussed why he had me do it though.

He's always said to use all of the people with good sobriety in the rooms. Don't look to him for advice with something he hasn't experienced.

As far as our relationship today it feels more or less that we are equals. We both attend the same meetings, are very close, and communicate often. We talk about personal issues but it's more on a close friend level than an advisor level.

A common quote around here is "I'm not a taxi driver, therapist, or banker. All I can do is show you how I stay sober using the twelve steps of AA"

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Duke
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Duke » Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:43 pm

I don't know anything about the meeting you reference John, but it does sound like there's more than sharing ESH going on there. I'm pretty protective of the right of anyone who has the desire to stop being able to attend and share even if you wish they'd shut up sometimes.

I've come to the conclusion that folks can have whatever kind of meeting they want, they just shouldn't call it an AA meeting if they have additional requirements for attending and/or sharing.

And whippingpost, I've said the same kind of thing to more people than I can name. I think the whole sponsor concept had taken on a meaning not found anywhere in our texts, and making sure sponsees understand our role as sponsor is one of the first things that should be discussed. I can't tell you all the stuff I've been asked for advice about over the years, but in many cases, me offering it would be a very bad idea.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by johnd » Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:24 pm

Oh I do agree Duke, They had told me from the outset that it wasn't an AWOL group but definitely had the familiarities of one.
John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

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tyg
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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by tyg » Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:07 am

Brock wrote:Yes good topic, we have had it before but nice to look at it again. .
I suppose it is inevitable to revisit same topics. The disease is not unique. We have a common problem and a common solution. All traveling at different speeds...We sure do get the constant reminders in AA. :lol: Guess that's just all part of how it works.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Tommy F. » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:30 am

It is better to keep the sponsor, in my opinion. I have sober over 40 years, but I had a sponsor for 32 years until he died. Tommy F.

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Re: Forever dependant on just A sponsor?

Post by Tommy-S » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:14 pm

Though I'm weighing in late, I'm in agreement with the other Tommy.

My apologies in advance, but as I read the posts, I was thinking of a meeting I attended several years back in a northern state, where people took turns going around the rooms spouting, "I only need 3 meetings a week... I only need 2... etc".

One old fart stated when it was his turn, "I may not need any this week, but I attend as many as I can because someone else may need my help.

At 34+ years, I haven't run out of finding 'new' applications in life to "practice these principles in all our affairs". My current sponsor not only helps me to fine tune those actions when necessary, but I get to help him as I've found that no matter how long either of us have, we both need someone to stay sober.

In our literature (maybe the 12 x 12 as I'm without my book)) there's a statement along the lines of 'people of high spiritual development always insist on checking with others"

I don't claim to be so spiritually developed as what the book refers to, but I figure if the Pope uses help, the President & business tycoons use advisors, maybe I ought to, too. And that's Not a dependency, it's a safeguard that I don't go getting all wrapped up in Me, Myself, and I

One's enough for me... the danger with 'committees' is that I can usually discern who on the board is most likely to endorse whatever I want, even if it is utter BS.

Just my ESH... Thanks

(Another) Tommy :)
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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