"Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

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?

"Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby Tracy h » Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:53 am

In this developing digital age can anyone illuminate pros/cons of non-f2f vs f2f sponsorship? I'm not trying to question traditional means that have proven successful for many, but as newcomer I'm curious whether non-f2f sponsorship is viable option. I do attend f2f meetings daily, great discussion-based home group so am not avoiding engaging on that level. There are people there i could approach, but somehow I haven't found myself able to in the first month of my participation in program. I've read posts about pitfalls of ego and hope it's not just my reticence to ask in person that is fueling this question, but am thinking that at least in theory it could be interesting dialogue with technology affecting us all to no lesser degree with each passing day ... (In case this affects responses that tend towards advising benefits of f2f, I'm curious whether it is advisable that sponsor should be from home group, of similar age/background experience etc. I've read mixed on both. I am aware that same-sex, obvious success with long-term sobriety and an appreciation for "what they have" and/or share is important). Thanks T
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby Tommy-S » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:16 am

Hi Tracy,

Thanks for the topic... I did not have this option when I started this journey in AA, so my ESH may mean little.

Personally, I'm grateful for the Face to Face... Body language, facial expressions, tone of voice are all things I can not transmit through e-mails or electronic bulletin boards... And during those early days, my f2f sponsor could pick on my being out of whack before I could, get me thinking about what was going on and share a solution that worked for him... And today I can honestly say that he might have saved me from picking up that Fatal First One.

One thing I have learned is the value of writing problems out for myself... It's amazing how much clarity I gain when I write as things in my head or what I say can sound really good, until I put it in black & white.

That being said, I picked up on:
so am not avoiding engaging on that level. There are people there i could approach, but somehow I haven't found myself able to
... Not avoiding engaging, but not engaging?

I know it can be frightening to let someone close, but most of the growth I had to do, and have done through AA, was walking through those fears.

Just my ESH... Thanks

Tommy
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby ann2 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:17 am

Hi Tracy,

My trusted friends in A.A. have been as valuable as my sponsor to me. I would definitely seek a f2f sponsor and do the asking if I were you, knowing what I know now. I did in fact get a f2f sponsor as soon as I could -- pre-Internet -- but I believe I was able to absorb more of the A.A. program using online resources. No reason not to do both.

In my experience the online sponsor is less effective than one you can sit down with side by side looking at the Bog Book together. However, online sponsors I think are preferable to the f2f sponsor who can't meet with you and pass on the program of recovery. Just make sure you're getting what you need and take advantage of everything out there.

Ann
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby Tracy h » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:40 am

Thanks, both, for feedback - pretty much reinforces what i had picked up on from what I'd read about/listened to as well... Appreciate the balanced view. And yes, Tommy, fair point re black & white reality - I am probably (ie most definitely) avoiding truly "engaging" f2f so there it is in print...
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:37 pm

The new sponsor I got, has given me instructions to follow. We talk over phone. So last two weeks its almost having a virtual sponsor. So, what I am trying to say is as long as you are honest anything is possible.
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby Niagara » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:10 pm

I would go for face to face every time.

There is the aspect of the physical presence, which is missing online. Text only goes so far. Above and beyond that though, is the discipline I am learning through making the journey (on time) across the city to my sponsors home. Its not so bad now, but at first I was a wee bit anxious, hated bus journeys - and I feel like fighting through that, and doing it anyway, I started to make deposits in my sobriety bank. If I get in a funk, and feel tempted to cry off, I still get off my butt and go, because I have the discipline to do so now. I was massively undisciplined...and every time I put in the physical actions, every time I work against what I want to do, rather than what I should do, my sobriety becomes something I really worked for (and therefore is more valuable to me) The more I work for it, the more I value it...and the less inclined I feel to start getting lazy and doing the minimum possible with this.

And I used to get so resentful that I wasn't allowed to make excuses about showing up :lol: Silly me. It was all for my benefit ;)

I never used an online sponsor. I know in my heart now, that that would just be letting myself off the hook. I'd be laid here in my pj's, with a nice cup of tea, believing I was putting the effort in - only kidding myself, mind. If I'm not prepared to get off my backside, get showered, dressed and get across town, then I'm not willing to go to any lengths. Understandable using an online sponsor if there's no other viable option, but if there is, don't go for the easier choice. Got to step outside that comfort zone :)
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby Lali » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:50 am

Niagara wrote:I would go for face to face every time.


I wholeheartedly agree with everything here said about the benefits of f2f sponsorship over online sponsorship.
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Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby clouds » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:10 am

I think email or snail mail or phone sponsorship would be ok.

I sure can't think anything would be wrong with it!

The main thing is that we are willing to do the 12 steps.

Sponsorship is to encourage, clarify, if needed and carry the message of how to do the steps.

That can be done by mail or phone.
" 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.
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby Service » Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:45 am

When all else fails and you get down to the end of your rope and all the co-dependencies stop working "TIE A KNOT AND HANG ON" try the A.A program not for pansies geared for tough living - and sure associated with you fellows is what a fellowship (not followship) is all about - if you need someone to be a member when your already here
you may have the wrong program a physical co dependent governMental one instead of a spiritual one ! Alcohol took me to some strange places -loneliness can to. Take a closer look
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby tyg » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:43 am

s
Last edited by tyg on Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby leejosepho » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:01 am

An online sponsor can be just as effective as any other, but your honesty as to the matter of avoidance is what can make a difference in the result. There either is or at least used to be a story in the back of our book about a man who had recovered and had yet to ever attend an A.A. meeting. His situation was such that no face-to-face contact was even possible. Then just a few weeks ago, three of us worked together online to take someone in a similar situation through the Steps. And so, the bottom line is about taking the Steps and not about the medium (a particular form or system of communication) of exchange.
=======================
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby Db1105 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:19 am

I suggest that you read AAWS's pamphlet 'Questions and Answers on Sponsorship'. You can read it online at:
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf

Having gotten sober pre digital age, having an "online" sponsor is something I can't fathom. In addition of guiding me through the steps, my sponsor got me involved with service starting with cleaning ash trays, taking a coffee commitment, taking me to institution commitments to detox, rehabs, hospitals and prisons. He also took me to Intergroup and GSO meetings and eventually got me to serve in that area. Most important, right from the beginning, my sponsor took me on 12 step calls. That was one thing that really woke me up to the real horror of the disease of alcoholism.

IMHO, virtual recovery should be just one item in recovery, not a major part of it. (except for those living in remote areas). again, just my opinion.
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby leejosepho » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:18 pm

Db1105 wrote:...cleaning ash trays, taking a coffee commitment, taking me to institution commitments to detox, rehabs, hospitals and prisons...12 step calls...

I take care of my home group's web site, I knew nothing about any of that just three years ago and everything I have learned has been done online. But then there are others at the software's support forum who arrange face-to-face gatherings and I wonder why.

Like you, I cannot imagine online as anything even close to a sufficient substitute for my own pre-digital experiences at the heart of my recovery, but then neither did I have my own notebook computer at three.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby D'oh » Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:48 pm

I am with the pre Digital Group here.

I was told to choose a Sponsor that has at least 1 day more Sobriety and has something that I want. So how would I know if they really have a Hummer, or if their Aviator just says that. JK about the Hummer.

No Body language from both sides is so important. I can't BS my sponsor, which is why I chose him.

I look at it like playing Poker online verses F2F, Two completely different games.
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Re: "Virtual" sponsor vs f2f

Postby leejosepho » Sat Oct 10, 2015 2:31 pm

D'oh wrote:I am with the pre Digital Group here.

Checking my personal filters here: Is that like "taking sides" on an internal controversy?
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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