Sponsor needs 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?

Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Brock » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:04 am

Today Patsy, whose writing and opinion I respect very much, advised someone like this - “So, I would suggest attending a different AA group, and look around, ask...who has been through the 12 Steps of AA herself, has a sponsor of her own, has an AA home group that she belongs too, is reaching out to newcomers AND is Smiling “ Very good advise, and recently another lady I respect, Paige, also advised someone to choose a sponsor who has a sponsor, and I have seen this advise by others as well.

Now I am not anti sponsor, and very often on here advise newcomers, that although I didn't have a sponsor, (there are a couple of other members here who didn't either), that a good sponsor would make the journey through the steps easier. I do speak out when new members report what are obviously 'bad' sponsors, the thread that Patsy made her recommendation in for example.

So this sort of advise, which I have also heard in live meetings, can result in those who choose not to have a sponsor, although years sober and recovered, to never have the opportunity to sponsor someone themselves.

I have looked to see where this is an AA recommendation, and can't find it, if someone can I would be happy to read it. What I have found is in the AA pamphlet on sponsorship, under “How should a sponsor be chosen,” they say things like - “Stick with the winners... a member who seems to be using the A.A. program successfully in everyday life...should seem to be enjoying sobriety.” All good commonsense stuff.
In 1944, the well known AA stalwart Clarence S, printed a sponsorship pamphlet, it contains this advise - “Additional information for sponsoring a new man can be obtained from the experience of older men in the work.” Again, very good commonsense advise, if you are not sure on a particular matter ask others.

I turned away from the church of my youth, as did many in AA I know. And one of the major reasons, was that it wanted to guarantee the survival of it's ideals, by insisting that whoever you marry your kids must be of this church. Now to guarantee the survival of their ideals, are we going to have AA members suggesting we can't sponsor, the basic right of all, and often the means of guaranteeing sobriety. It not only sounds unfair, but off putting to a certain type of independent thinking newcomer, who is pretty well being told you will have a sponsor for the rest of your life, if you disagree, we will suggest to newcomers, that they don't ask you to do the most rewarding and important function the program offers.

Sorry if my post looks a little like a rant, I just don't think Bill and Bob and the others like Clarence, had anything like this in mind, and I find it upsetting.
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:48 pm

Given a choice between a sponsor who has a sponsor, and a sponsor who has a clue, I know which I would turn to.

So if your determination about my sponsoring you is whether or not I have a sponsor, rather than whether or not I have recovered from alcoholism using the 12 Steps and can teach you how to do it, then perhaps your priorities need a review.

AFAIK the suggestion of "a sponsor who has a sponsor" is not written in any Conference-Approved AA literature, except perhaps some anecdotal personal stories published by AAWS. So if someone wants to suggest it to a newcomer, that's fine as a personal opinion, but maybe they should just be a little clearer that it's not AA's opinion.
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby PaigeB » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:46 pm

I have been sponsored by both types... 1st by a sponsor who takes you through the Steps and my advise as you go a long based on 10, 11 & 12. Now I am in a sponsorline who regularly does paperwork assignments meets with each other and other sis sponsees as well as working through the Steps at least once together from beginning to end.

I like my new more active line. But I think it IS important to work the Steps with someone who AT LEAST worked the Steps. Preferably worked them with a sponsor so they have experience with being a sponsor (by having had one).
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby clouds » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:21 am

I had a sponsor for the first 6 years. It was my second sponsor who took me through the steps and probably had the biggest influence on me and the need for honesty, humility and total willingness to accept and do the steps as written in the Big Book.

I moved to a new city after amost two years of sobriety. There I began to sponsor others and probably handed on to them the same initial Big Book step work I did in my first years.

I still work the steps every day and talking about and listening to others about the steps is still a big part of my life and a vital one.

Thats my experience and what I did in early years must have clicked. :D
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Layne » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:14 am

So this sort of advise, which I have also heard in live meetings, can result in those who choose not to have a sponsor, although years sober and recovered, to never have the opportunity to sponsor someone themselves.

It is just advice, not an edict. Advice will always abound in AA meetings, as will different personalities. An important part of my recovery journey has been learning to filter and process advice; not just take it as gospel. Good (from my point of view) advice and bad (from my point of view) advice have all been important parts of my growth and development in sobriety.
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Brock » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:12 am

I agree it's just advise and also - “An important part of my recovery journey has been learning to filter and process advice; not just take it as gospel.” But keep in mind it's new people we are talking about, if someone said I suggest that on each anniversary you take a drink, I might say nothing, because I know by their first anniversary the person would know different. I am talking about something like 'Hello AA I think I have a problem,' and the answer includes advise to 'find a sponsor who has a sponsor,' that person hasn’t learned yet to filter or process anything.

And the reasoning behind it I think is well intentioned, they say the sponsor needs a sponsor, to assist in case they are unsure on anything while sponsoring. Clancy says ask elders in your group for this assistance, to me a much better method on every level. We see talk of sponsorship lines or lineage, so any sponsorship shortcomings are liable to remain within this lineage, almost like inbreeding, surely it's better to have a wider pool of knowledge from which to get advise.
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Spirit Flower » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:50 pm

Even worse around here, they sometimes say something like has a sponsor, has worked the steps and had a spiritual awakening.

Well, excuse me. I can't prove I have had a spiritual awakening.
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Patsy© » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:08 pm

I have looked to see where this is an AA recommendation, and can't find it, if someone can I would be happy to read it.


"a sponsor who has a sponsor" is not written in any Conference-Approved AA literature



Guess what else you won't find written in any Conference-Approved literature? :lol:

"Keep Coming".... "Get off the "Pity Pot" ...."Make no major decisions the first year." ...."EGO = Ease God Out"...."Sit down, shut up and listen"...."FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real" ...."Learn to Listen and Listen to learn".... "Take what you want and leave the rest".
And the one I love the most that isn't anywhere in the Big Book, but we share constantly with newcomers...."DON'T DRINK!"
But we all know one thing for sure, that this program doesn't work when one is actively drinking.

No, you will not find ANY of the above sayings in Conference-Approved Literature... but you will find them often being passed on IN AA meetings from one alcoholic to another. Because they WORK whether they are written in conference-approved literature or not!

There are many many sayings that are passed on as experience, strength and hope from one alcoholic to another.

I am sure that you are very well aware that there are thousands of very helpful things that shared with drunks in AA meetings every day that ultimately turn out to be gifts, especially to the many AA members who use them. And these things are NOT always in AA Approved literature.

One of the sayings that is very popular here at AA meetings is this one: "An AA member who chooses to sponsor himself, has an idiot for a Sponsor" :lol:


Now, lets not be silly ok?
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Noels » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:17 pm

Well in that case I'm truly blessed with the best and greatest sponsor of all. God Himself. ..
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Patsy© » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:53 pm

Twelve and Twelve pages 103 and 104:

Of course, it is reasonable and understandable that the question is often asked: "Why can't we take a specific and troubling dilemma straight to God, and in prayer secure from Him sure and definite answers to our requests?"

This can be done, but it has hazards. We have seen A.A.'s ask with much earnestness and faith for God's explicit guidance on matters ranging all the way from a shattering domestic or financial crisis to correcting a minor personal fault, like tardiness. Quite often, however, the thoughts that seem to come from God are not answers at all. They prove to be well-intentioned unconscious rationalizations. The A.A., or indeed any man, who tries to run his life rigidly by this kind of prayer, by this self-serving demand of God for replies, is a particularly disconcerting individual.

To any questioning or criticism of his actions he instantly proffers his reliance upon prayer for guidance in all matters great or small. He may have forgotten the possibility that his own wishful thinking and the human tendency to rationalize have distorted his so-called guidance. With the best of intentions, he tends to force his own will into all sorts of situations and problems with the comfortable assurance that he is acting under God's specific direction. Under such an illusion, he can of course create great havoc without in the least intending it.
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Brock » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:52 am

The big book offers the same sort of advise, it's for those newer in the program, or rather newer to spirituality, who haven't got a good connection to God. Some it seems never get it, and for their whole lives will rationalize and look for the easy way, the type who will have a sponsor forever.

From 'Into Action'-
We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. 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. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

Yes we come to rely on it, after we gain experience, and even then we may ask others in the program with more experience for an opinion, surely that's better than asking one sponsor, unless of course the person is so immature that they will continue to pick the easiest answer.

What we are talking about here is not some “gift” as it's described a couple of posts above this, it's not some non conference approved advise like 'keep coming back.' It's speaking to a newcomer in a group in which members like myself and Noels are present, and telling them pick any sponsor except those two, and any others here who don't have a sponsor. Nice people give out good gifts of advise, those who give out advise, based only on the fact, that they can't get along themselves without a sponsor, I don't think are being very nice.
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Patsy© » Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:51 am

Brock.... I would suggest that taking care of that resentment that you have ..... why not relax and stop struggling?

There are many AA members who have long time sponsors who have long time sponsors. Now that might not fit with "your experience"...however, it is highly suggested here in the Boston area. Yes, we pass on what was passed to us in AA Groups, AA meetings and from one alcoholic to another.

Perhaps when you said that there are many where you are who, I think you said don't get it, say what they want or something like that? Well, maybe it would be best to attend those very AA meetings and bring what you think is your experience, strength and hope and help those there, or let them help you. I have never shared here that one is to ONLY use their sponsor... that is the conclusion you came too, I never said that, not once. In fact, that is ridiculous to think that an alcoholic can only talk with their Sponsor! lol

When I see someone who is running on a resentment, unable to clear the path to serenity..... I usually suggest they get a sponsor and I really am not interested in how much time they have... because its one alcoholic helping another. And the simple truth is this, if someone doesn't like what one alcoholic has to share,... well, just hang in there because there will be another alcoholic along any moment! lol
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Brock » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:14 am

I am in a service position here, and have tried to tone down the arguing ways for which I have a reputation on these boards, so I will let this slide. But I may pray that God gives me the sort of power, to advise someone on an AA site thousands of miles away - “Brock.... I would suggest that taking care of that resentment that you have ..... why not relax and stop struggling?” And you wonder why I don't want a sponsor!
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Patsy© » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:23 am

Brock wrote:I am in a service position here, and have tried to tone down the arguing ways for which I have a reputation on these boards, so I will let this slide. But I may pray that God gives me the sort of power, to advise someone on an AA site thousands of miles away - “Brock.... I would suggest that taking care of that resentment that you have ..... why not relax and stop struggling?” And you wonder why I don't want a sponsor!


I don't wonder why anything, about you Brock. However, since you mentioned it, I would strongly suggest that you get a sponsor, one who has a sponsor :)
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Re: Sponsor needs sponsor?

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:48 pm

Patsy© wrote:And the one I love the most that isn't anywhere in the Big Book, but we share constantly with newcomers...."DON'T DRINK!"

Which is not only not written in any Conference-Approved literature, it directly contradicts the Big Book. We will never know how many alcoholics have died trying to do exactly what AA told them to do, cursing themselves as weak for failing whereas nobody bothered pointing out what the book actually says about powerlessness.

I find it interesting that some would sit in one thread complaining about groups such as AAAgnostic or something watering down AA's message, yet here we are in another thread, seemingly happy to have whole swathes of AA watering down AA's message.
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