Always disappointing my 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?

Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby Ravensgrl » Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:46 pm

I'm almost 5 months sober and am currently working on the 6th and 7th step. I want to start this post by saying that I am not trying to complain about my sponsor, I know she is doing what she thinks is best. I just get the feeling that if I don't do everything she says, I am disappointing her. She recently started working with a second sponsee who is very newly sober and very different from me.

I believe that when I came into the rooms I was what the big book calls a potential alcoholic. I didn't drink every day, my life wasn't ruined by alcohol, but I did think that alcohol was holding me back from my best life. I suffer from depression and I self medicated with alcohol. My sponsor was a low bottom drunk. I point this out not to say I'm not as sick as her but our sickness is different. I feel sometimes that my sponsor is forcing her own recovery onto me. I am constantly being told I need to go to more meetings. I currently go to 3 to 4 a week and being told to get more phone numbers and call 3 to 4 women a week. And she regularly gets advice about how to sponsor me from her sponsor whom I have never met. Now I know she wants me to develop a better AA support group hence the phone numbers. I tend to isolate, but I also feel like it is a bit much. I am expected to call her everyday, but I also feel like it is a bit one sided, which I don't know, maybe that's how it's supposed to be, this is my first and only experience with sponsorship. If I don't call, I don't hear from her. This feels much different from when we first met before she was my sponsor when she would text me daily about meetings she was going to. Maybe this is normal, like she texted me so much in the beginning before I was ready to go to meetings on my own.

I was at her house last night working on the 6th and 7th steps and she told me she would from now on point out my character defects when they started to surface to help me. This kinda rubbed me the wrong way. I just feel a little suffocated. I just feel like I am spending more time in AA than I ever spent drinking or thinking about drinking. I feel that there isn't a one fits all approach to AA but I am being forced into a mold. I don't want to give up AA, I know officially the only requirement for joining AA is a desire to stop drinking, but unofficially I feel like there are many requirements. I feel like I am always disappointing my sponsor and eventually she is going to dump me. Her schedule is changing giving her less time and now she has a second sponsee. I feel like I am being replaced by someone who gets the program more than I do. I guess my question is should I try to find another sponsor, or do you think I will have the same problems with someone else?
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby PuppyEars » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:07 pm

If you are pleased with your sit downs and literature readings, my advice is to keep this person around for that. As far as how many meetings a week, calling every day? Beat it, not interested.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby Ravensgrl » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:25 pm

I am pleased with the sit downs and readings but they happen very rarely, like maybe once a month. I am at home in bed nursing a migraine right now, didn't go to a meeting, didn't call her because I didn't want to hear that I should go to a meeting even when I don't want to. I feel guilty which as a recovering Catholic/alcoholic I am all too familiar with.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby whipping post » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:35 pm

I have learned that what I "feel" may not necessarily be true. Why don't you just have a good honest sit down with her about your feelings? Honestly you are so close to being able to live in steps 10, 11, and 12 it's not even funny. I would be hard pressed to make a change now and would focus on getting to step 9 sooner rather than later.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby Ravensgrl » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:50 pm

I have talked to her about these things. She says "as your sponsor I need you to do these things," meaning go to more meetings, call more women. I do feel like our dynamic has changed since she picked up another sponsee. Before, it felt like a 2 way friendship with someone who is also guiding me. Now, it feels like she is my supervisor, and I am continually getting bad reviews at work. I did bring up the other night that now she is working full time which she wasn't when we started and she will be taking 2 night classes which start in a few weeks. With her having 2 sponsees and her schedule changing I wanted to know if she was going to be able to continue working with me. She said she would try to make it work but if not she'd help me find another sponsor. I guess that's why if I don't do what she says I think she's going to drop me. Sometimes I feel like she is pushing me to do these things so when I fail she will have an excuse to drop me. Although to be fair, these thoughts may be coming from my own experience with previous relationships as that is a move I've pulled in the past.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby Ravensgrl » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:05 pm

After writing that last post I feel a flashback from second grade when my best friend dumped me for the fun new girl in school. I'm cringing at this. I'm not trusting my own gut. There are definitely differences in opinion as to how my recovery should go, but I'm now wondering if it's her or me and my character defects. I'm definitely mourning the friendship that we had started. But I don't know how much of this is in my head. The thing with AA is it really makes you question your own thoughts and feelings.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:50 pm

Hi Raven

Good to hear from you.

Congratulations on almost 5 months sober! That wonderful.

.... I guess my question is should I try to find another sponsor, or do you think I will have the same problems with someone else?


I think asking your higher power for guidance and direction on this question in prayer and meditation is always a good way to go. When I do this, I usually get an answer within 24 hours, usually at the next meeting I attend I'll hear someone say exactly what I need to hear.

Keep coming back....
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:01 pm

Ravensgrl wrote:After writing that last post I feel a flashback from second grade when my best friend dumped me for the fun new girl in school. I'm cringing at this. I'm not trusting my own gut. There are definitely differences in opinion as to how my recovery should go, but I'm now wondering if it's her or me and my character defects. I'm definitely mourning the friendship that we had started. But I don't know how much of this is in my head. The thing with AA is it really makes you question your own thoughts and feelings.


That was fast! Good for you, Raven. We all have abandonment issues, i.e. fear of being dumped, and what triggers these fears is different for everyone. It takes a while for those "buttons" to get disconnected, but "flashbacks" like you just experienced about 2nd grade are very helpful to understanding where they come from.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby Ravensgrl » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:10 pm

Yes, I think it's good to know where my feelings come from, but it doesn't really answer my question. Posting this has been good for me though. I still don't know what I'm going to do about my sponsor, but I have come to the conclusion that I should seek help from a therapist. I think talking to someone outside of AA might help.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:01 pm

Ravensgrl wrote:Yes, I think it's good to know where my feelings come from, but it doesn't really answer my question. Posting this has been good for me though. I still don't know what I'm going to do about my sponsor, but I have come to the conclusion that I should seek help from a therapist. I think talking to someone outside of AA might help.


Is asking your higher power for guidance and direction on what to do about your sponsor not an option for you?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby D'oh » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:11 pm

Sorry Raven, I recall when my First Sponsor, said he was going to help another person through the steps. I was Crushed.

Then later I received advise from my Mom, "The only 2 things we can give our kids are Feet and Wings.

I know, I am rambling. But when you picked her as your Sponsor, was it because She had something that you wanted? Well maybe she has showed you how she has found that. Now it is up to you to do with it what you please. Analyze the crap out of it, or Utilize it with your own little twist on it.

The 6th and 7th Steps are very powerful and deep Steps. Much Bigger than the words written about them in the Big Book.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby Ravensgrl » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:35 pm

I am a little taken aback by the higher power response to me wanting to go to seek therapy. Someone seeking professional help should not be told to pray about it instead. You're prob the kind of AA that says we shouldn't take antidepressants in AA. That kind of advice gets people killed.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:45 am

After writing that last post I feel a flashback from second grade when my best friend dumped me for the fun new girl in school. I'm cringing at this. I'm not trusting my own gut. There are definitely differences in opinion as to how my recovery should go, but I'm now wondering if it's her or me and my character defects. I'm definitely mourning the friendship that we had started. But I don't know how much of this is in my head. The thing with AA is it really makes you question your own thoughts and feelings.


People look at things through the conditioned past. How much ever you write inventory, if you can't break away from the past, you are going to do the same thing over and over again. Some spiritual masters call it the root pattern. Letting of the past is part of the whole process. Maybe for you its still strong. Let go. Work on watching this as you move forward. Maybe finding a new sponsor will bring you a new experience. Keep trying.
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)
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby whipping post » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:32 am

Here is a really good pamphlet from AA which covers sponsorship. If you haven't read it I would suggest reading the whole thing and apply it to your situation.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf

As far as the therapist goes, if that is an option for someone I think they would be crazy not to take advantage of it.
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Re: Always disappointing my sponsor

Postby Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:44 am

I just feel a little suffocated. I just feel like I am spending more time in AA than I ever spent drinking or thinking about drinking. I feel that there isn't a one fits all approach to AA but I am being forced into a mold. I don't want to give up AA, I know officially the only requirement for joining AA is a desire to stop drinking, but unofficially I feel like there are many requirements.

I agree that there isn't a one size fits all, and I suppose if we had professional sponsors they would be able to adapt the program to suit individuals, but as it stands now, it is very much 'this is the way my sponsor showed me, this is the way I show you.' As also demonstrated when you say, “she regularly gets advice about how to sponsor me from her sponsor whom I have never met.” Sorry but there is a lot I don't understand, and I personally think the entire sponsorship system, and all the good it might once have done, has gotten completely out of hand.

D'oh quoted something from a very smart mother - "The only 2 things we can give our kids are Feet and Wings.” It is coincidental that the AA book 'Living Sober,' after saying the best sponsors are delighted when the newcomer no longer needs sponsorship, says this, “the time does come when even a young bird must use its own wings.”

Whipping post said - “As far as the therapist goes, if that is an option for someone I think they would be crazy not to take advantage of it.” Good advise, if you can see a professional go for it, you might be better off with that, than a dictator who insists on telling you exactly how many people you must call, and meetings you must attend, and best of luck for a happy solution.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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