Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

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?

Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Gracekt » Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:15 am

I am in desperate need of enlightenment from anyone who is willing to help. I married a beautiful man a little over 2 years ago. He is in AA and loves to help people. (Part of why I love him so much) He had been sober for 3 years when I met him and spent many hours a day on the phone with various sponsees. He shared early on about the controversy of sponsoring the opposite sex. I personally was not in favor of it myself. He shared that he sponsors women and feels that he is above being tempted or inappropriate in any way. I didnt say much to that and instead just chose to observe. He seemed to keep me as the focus of his life......however as time went on there were situations that I was uncomfortable with. He will often call a sponsee as we are heading out on a date or spending some time together. One particular sponsee seems to have quite a hold on him talking to him every single day. ...sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. ( this is a women sponsee) For awhile she or he would call every night before bed and talk for about a half hour. And then I would listen to my husband tell this woman...."I love you too" before he got off the phone. I finally put my foot down and asked him how he would feel if he had to hear me tell a man on the phone every night that I loved him before we went to bed? We got that straightened out but weird situations like that just keep happening. I finally discovered that he is also mentoring women that are not in AA. I told him I thought it was very inappropriate to spend time talking on the phone listening to womens personal problems. He agreed to just stick to the AA people....which he did not do. He spends a minimum of 2 hours a day talking to these people ( mostly women) and sometimes many more hours than that. In the beginning he would be alone with these women for hours working on the 5th step until I told him I just wasnt okay with that anymore. When we are having some kind of disagreement or difficulty with one another he will go call someone he sponsors to take his mind off of it. He never calls his own sponsor or solicits help of any kind. I get the feeling that he feels that he has all the answers. I have tried to talk to him a handful of times about not sponsoring women. When I bring up the subject he has a way of shutting me up quickly. When I described these happenings to my therapist ( which I kept from her for several months) she came unglued. ( of course there is so much I am leaving out here) But she helped me understand that these things were not okay. With her encouragement I decided to deal with it. The result has been a separation which is headed for a divorce. I love this man so very much. I want so badly to be able to help him/us/myself. I really feel he means well but it almost feels like he left one addiction for another. He could give me up ( even though he professes to love me more than life itself) but could not give up the women. I have given him all kinds of suggestions of how he can still be very helpful and also how he can still sponsor men. It is a resounding no! I have been degraded, humiliated, and made to feel like a second rate citizen in his life. One day when I was crying after seeing messages on his phone ( he was showing me his new phone) from a woman he mentors who is not in AA.....he said "oh baby....why do you torture yourself like this" You can get over this pain if you will just do some work. I know what work he is talking about. He is talking about the 12 steps. Please advise me in this situation. I am at such a loss.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby jd4570 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:50 am

I understand your point, after being in AA sober for over 35 years, I slipped back because of body pain. I am looking for someone to call or text to. Maybe your husband could point me in a direction. Thanks
Jim
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Brock » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:04 am

Welcome here Gracekt. On these forums we have from time to time discussed what we believe a sponsors responsibility’s are, there is pretty overwhelming agreement, that the suggestion in AA's leaflet on sponsorship regarding men sponsoring men should be followed, the leaflet can be found here - http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf

The idea of 'mentoring' people not in AA is something I can't remember seeing here before, but certainly not something we recommend. I have heard of members becoming close to the church and perhaps taking a role there, but this is passing the word of God not advising on everyday life.

To me the underlying problem here, and one I have written about several times, is that some AA members become amateur psychiatrists, and this I believe is doing great damage to our fellowship. It is pretty well the agreement by the members here, that a sponsors job is to take someone through steps 1- 9, after which we may remain friends, and depend upon that person for advise, more or less the same way we would discuss something troubling us with any good friend.

Modern day AA seems to encourage having a sponsor all your sober life, I can find nothing in the original program that suggests this, and I don't have one. If I am calling someone every time a problem pop's up, then I am not doing what the program suggests and turning to God for the answers. Here's a section from our big book, something your husband knows very well, part of what they say in step eleven – “We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.” Anyone not encouraging others to look upstairs, (and within), for the answer instead of running to them, is not following the program as written.

We also have people saying things here about having several sponsees, just as your husband does, and yet these would say each person should have one sponsor not several. So if I should have one only, and you are sponsoring more than one, simple mathematics says there will not be enough for everyone to have the opportunity to sponsor another person, this is then selfishness, probably the biggest defect the program of AA warns us to rid ourselves of.

I am sorry I don't have better answers to your problem, it is very sad that such a wonderful program should bring grief to others. If your husband does not himself believe in God, I can see the temptation to do what he does, some people I believe and I know one such personally, instead of relying on step eleven, put all their energy into that part of step twelve which speaks of helping fellow alcoholics. I wish you the very best, perhaps someone else will have a better answer.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby D'oh » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:38 am

Hi Gracekt and welcome.

My name is Bob, I have been around the program many years, but just recently back in after a stint of "Trying to do it Myself"

Anyways, I have Sponsored some of the opposite sex, while being Married. There was reasons that we felt it was the best way. I was always Very Open about it to my Understanding Spouse and told my Sponsee that I had to be this way. Not of Her dark secrets, but of My involvement. Especially during Her Divorce, which my Spouse knew about because She also knew the Sponsee. However I have never said "I Love You" to anyone I have sponsored.

It can be done, if it is done in the open. so Please "Ask your Spouse" One thing that I have learnt while being in the Program is "We tend to judge people by our own actions" Meaning if I can have a plutonic relationship with one of the opposite sex, I will believe my Spouse can also.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Duke » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:58 am

Good morning Grace.

It's pretty clear from what you shared that the simple answer to your question is yes, he is.

Unfortunately, after that, all any if us can offer is our experience.

I've been in the program for over thirty years married to the same woman who is not. There have been more than one occasion when she has felt relegated to second-class citizen status by my program work.

So far, we have been able to work these times out. We have used counseling a couple of times in our marriage which we both found helpful.

The one thing I can tell you for certain is that one or the other of us telling the other what we should or shouldn't do has never worked. We've both had to learn to express our feelings clearly, as well as what we will and won't do and let each other make our own decisions.

It sounds like you've done that. I hope you can accept the result. My thoughts are with you.
"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: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby PuppyEars » Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:06 am

You can put a dress on a pig, it's still a pig.

Hubby is cheating and using AA to dress it up to be something else.

Maybe I have been around no tolerance women my life but any female I know would be like "kick rocks I can find better than this" and start the divorce process.

Welcome to the forum.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby ann2 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:01 am

jd4570 wrote:I understand your point, after being in AA sober for over 35 years, I slipped back because of body pain. I am looking for someone to call or text to. Maybe your husband could point me in a direction. Thanks
Jim


Welcome Jim, glad you found us and thanks for posting. I found my sponsor through participating in a group. I just kept showing up to meetings and listening and asking questions and evevtually it all started falling together. For me having a group to bounce things off of was even more important than having a sponsor, or maybe it's more accurate to say that they have been excellent complements to each other.

I think it would be great if you could use the forums as support -- text and chat here, and read up on some of the topics that interest you.

Ann
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Noels » Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:49 pm

Hi Grace, welcome to e-aa :D I am female and have been sober for just over a year. I used to be this exceptionally helpful person who concentrated more on others pain and making their pain better. I thought that was how I was supposed to do it - help others then my life would automatically be okay.
Only after joining AA and working the program did I realize that I concentrated so much on helping others that I actually neglected my own problems with the ones closest to me. The ones who really loved me and stood by me through good and bad. I realized that although helping others was a good thing, I overdid it which resulted in my behaviour unknowingly (I chose not to know) damaging my personal relationships.
Effectively by helping everyone else, I gave everyone around me value except my husband and son.

Since ive had this "awakening" (if I can use this word for the lack of another) I have put my family first. I still help where I can and whom I can but never if it makes my family unhappy.

Perhaps your hubby have not yet realized that he hasn't given you value - the same way I didn't give my loved ones value.

At this point I would say you should do what makes you happy. You shouldn't have to beg to be loved. Love should be given freely to you from your spouse.

In AA we use the words "you cant give what you don't have yourself yet" often. Perhaps hubby have forgotten that particular part of our recovery.

Be well and know that everything is happening as it should. You will be okay.

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Noels xxx
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Gracekt » Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:10 pm

I want to thank everyone who replied. It is just what I needed. You have given me much to think about. To the one who asked if I was ready to accept his decisions.......yes I am. I already have. As I said we are headed to divorce. ( which absolutely breaks my heart) I do understand that I cannot change him or his mind. I know that it would be fruitless to try.

I love the AA program. I think it is an amazing program and I can see where people can get a little off track at times with their interpretations of principals of the program but over all it is extraordinary and teaches solid life principals that change and save lives.

I do feel my husband is practicing a form of infidelity that has nothing to do with what he has learned in AA. He told me this last week he is happier without me. He cannot live with me disapproving of his life. And I said to him that make no mistake.....I absolutely disapproved of his life. ( regarding the issues stated above) I can live with that. But I still feel very sad and miss our good times.

Noels.....Begging to be loved is exactly what I was doing. Literally!!!! It was shameful! I am in a better place now and maybe he is too.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Lali » Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:35 pm

Unfortunately, Grace, sponsoring is not what he is addicted to.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Gracekt » Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:08 pm

Lali.......Please explain. I really value every ones insight. I am learning.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Tosh » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:03 am

Hi Grace,

Mrs Tosh will NOT allow me to sponsor women; this is a non-negotiable. My own sponsor says I should NOT sponsor women.

I'm a bloke, I'm not in my prime, I'm not driven by testosterone (well not all of the time), but I'm hard-wired to find members of the opposite sex attractive.

So no matter how much my ego would like to be some female alky's knight in shining armour, to save them from their alcoholism, I don't sponsor women. Women should sponsor women.

I value the support I get from Mrs Tosh; I know sponsoring is a pain for her too sometimes.

I would never spend two hours a day on the phone to sponsees either. I sponsor one guy at a time and won't take on another till I get him through the steps, or lose him. This is a good policy. I suggest they ask one of the guys I've previously sponsored.

And don't let any man 'close you down' ("shut you up quickly"); as an ardent feminist speaking here, it's your duty to find ways of asserting and making yourself heard.

Your husband's behavior, especially with a few years of sobriety under his belt, is not okay.

I hope you find some resolution.

Regards

Tosh
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Gracekt » Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:30 am

Tosh.....Thank you! You would not believe the conversations I have had with him over the subject. He has an answer or justification for everything.
He looks at me sometimes like.....if only she were as good as I. He often talks about his life experience as though no one else has ever had any. I know these behaviors are symptoms of a bigger problem. I dont believe it is who he really is.
but they are his choices ...right? Everything translates to him like it is a sign from god. He has told me twice that he would stop sponsoring women because he just couldnt live without me. But he didnt follow through. When brought up to him he responded as though it was evidence that God did not want him to stop doing it. He has told me this is his mission in life. It is a gift God has given him and he must be about his work. When I remind him that no one has asked him to stop doing the work....just to stop sponsoring women.....he has all kinds of reasons that he cannot stop. His motto is how can I best serve and he has told me that he will never turn someone down if they ask for help. He also said that he never asks to be someones sponsor but he always seems to be grooming women. When ever we are in public he fusses over every woman that comes into sight. It is embarrassing. I have no problem with kind gestures, opening a door for someone as we are going into a store, etc..... but what I see with him is grooming.
I am all about service. I have several kids and have taught that as a staple in their lives. This is something much different.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Db1105 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:06 am

Trust your instincts. Perhaps it is time to see a marriage counselor.
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Re: Is my husband addicted to sponsoring?

Postby Lali » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:06 am

Db1105 wrote:Trust your instincts. Perhaps it is time to see a marriage counselor.


Why? Did you not read Grace's posts?
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