New Sponsor Questions

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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New Sponsor Questions

Post by trueblue52 » Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:45 am

I recently relapsed. Had a couple sober years and got crazy again.
So I asked a woman who has decades of sobriety to sponsor me. She said yes. When I told her I have an online business she said was glad to hear it because she wants to bring some things to me to sell. I have tried to sell for others. I don't like it. Too time consuming and I don't like being responsible for others' things in case of loss/breakage. She also had told me in that meeting that I had to be willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober. I told her yes. She told me to remember that if she asks me to do something it is because she is trying to help me. Then she said that she even told one of her sponsees that her makeup did not match her skin tone. (Not sure what that has to do with staying sober). She wants me to go through the BB again with her and work the Steps again. I have no problem with this as long as I can trust her. She told me that she told someone who was at a meeting I have never attended that I asked her to sponsor me. (She had gotten my last name from me--not sure if she used it). Then she told me the woman's name she told this to. I don't know the woman and it kind of bothered me that she told our names to one another--I thought this was goes under the "who we see here, etc."

She told me to call everyday which I have been doing. I always get voice mail. That is ok as I have not wanted to drink again and I have not been as good as I should be about talking on the phone, I know. If I wanted to drink again, I am pretty sure I would leave the appropriate message and/or call someone else now.

She said she wants to meet with me over coffee a few times to get to know more about me before we get into the BB and Step work. I am feeling confused now. How much more does she need to know before we start working together? We talked for 2 hours. I told her where I grew up, and some personal things, however, did not want to get too deep at our first meeting. I also don't feel I have to share every detail of my life with a sponsor....I can get a therapist for that. I love the part about her having such long sobriety. But the work-related thing as well as the makeup and the mentioning my name all bother me. I have been in friendships with a couple of people in AA who were very controlling and manipulative until I finally got the courage to end the friendships. Also, my last sponsor shared private things about sponsees which made me not want to share as all this has made it hard to trust and I want to be careful however, don't want to be too picky either.
Thank you for helping me with this.

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Re: New Sponsor Questions

Post by avaneesh912 » Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:54 am

I am feeling confused now.

Nothing to be confused. We all need to understand that there are people who do not understand powerlessness. I would look around and find one that will help you realize the powerlessness and un-manageability (The state of being restless irritable and dicontented, you said you got crazy, you could add that as part of this) and help you launch on vigourous action so you can experience the 10th step promises.
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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Re: New Sponsor Questions

Post by PaigeB » Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:30 am

I was told to find a sponsor who was sponsored and who worked the 12 Steps themselves.

Here is a pamphlet I found helpful ... ponsorship
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: New Sponsor Questions

Post by No.3 » Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:01 pm

Hi trueblue52,

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I hear one question here: 'is this the right sponsor for me?' I/we can't really answer that for you. I've had doubts about every sponsor I ever had! So I'd suggest praying in some quiet place to resolve that question yourself. I also ask around, get recommendations from others: vetting is permissible. So is changing sponsors, at any time, if it really feels necessary. (Sponsor-shopping is discouraged however; it'll get you a fair rep as someone who's not serious pretty fast.)

Asking someone to spons is humbling, but the practice of Humility goes deeper. Sponsees often play games, look for excuses, don't take suggestions, "my sponsor sucks!" etc. An seasoned old timer who still takes newcomers also vets carefully, looking for teachable, sponsor-able alcoholics who are truly honest and willing. This is normal, though their quirks might not be!

You allude to a lot of stuff ("Then she said that she even told one of her sponsees that her makeup did not match her skin tone.") I don't even understand. Is that a racial comment? There may be gender disparity issues also, please bear with me. I sponsor men of all races, sexual preferences and socioeconomic backgrounds, but I know not everyone in AA is so progressive. I accept my sponsor's personal flaws, but some behaviors are obviously deal-breakers for each of us. I've experienced that pain, too: "firing" sponsors, letting go sponsees...

My current spons also asks me financial advice. I share, but it's not "work." For work, you get paid! Quite a few spons down South played that "I'll sponsor you if you paint my barn" trick; no, I didn't fall off the back of the turnip truck, thanks :roll: I'm sure it still happens. 'Love and tolerance' and all that.

Drawing appropriate boundaries, the balance between Humility and Respect can be challenging. I do think an AA should feel comfortable with her/his spons, a base level of trust is necessary, but building Trust takes time, and any Relationship is work right? In my own sponsor practice, I do start reading immediately, by the second time I've met the guy at least: I don't do long interviews, multiple times, just to agree to take someone through the Steps.

As for sharing names in AA, we are NOT anonymous WITHIN this Fellowship. That seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding for most newcomers and even some misinformed old-timers; some AA lit unfortunately also encourages that confusion. I share my sponsees names & phone #s w/ other AAs, and I don't ask consent first. I do respect others' privacy but let's be reasonable: 'I don't know your privacy-level unless you tell me first' etc. that's life.

When I hear a slew of resentment-y complaints from a new sponsee (my own, sometimes; usually, another's) I am also aware that these are just normal growing pains, typical Relationship doubts, early sobriety discomfort, etc. When a newcomer AA learns how to do a turnaround in the 4th Step, this should become much much clearer. In the moment though, it might not; feelings are difficult to bear, sometimes. So again I recommend pray for guidance. It works for me and lots of others.

On Sponsorship, I also recommend the AA Grapevine One-on-One with the important caveat that it's 'this, that and the other.' So many experiences, viewpoints, opinions - take what you need, leave the rest.

Have a great day, trueblue52!
"The Group demands total loyalty to the inner group. Some have had to leave the movement because of the Groups' demands which conflict with truth or duty." The Oxford Groups by Herbert H. Henson, 1933, pages 73-74.

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Re: New Sponsor Questions

Post by trueblue52 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:18 am

Thank you so very much to the posters who responded. I guess the main thing is to be grateful that there is someone who is willing to help me and not nit pick everything so much. I did wonder if maybe I was unconsciously trying to sabotage myself by clinging onto every word and making something out of nothing. So you all have given me other
ways to look at this and I feel so much better. I love this woman's shares in the meetings and that is why I asked her.

Thanks again.

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Re: New Sponsor Questions

Post by tyg » Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:31 pm

Not much more I could add that hasn't already been said. Seems you are having some spiritual awakenings about yourself. More will be revealed if you apply the 12 Step principles. Also, it is perfectly okay to not sell things for people, regardless who it is. My sponsor used to say, "no" is a complete answer, explanations are not necessary.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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