Male vs female sponsorship

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?

Male vs female sponsorship

Postby Dog » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:29 am

Hello all,

I first got sober in a big city with lots of meetings, and it was really frowned upon for anyone to have a sponsor of the opposite sex. Having recently moved to a smaller town I am surprised at how different things are here. The sponsor's gender does not seem to be an issue, despite sponsor-seduction featuring in many shares.

Yes, I know that there are some people for whom this works just fine. But I also know of far more cases where it has gone horribly wrong through an informal introduction to the legendary 13th step.

Is there anything in the literature about this?

All thoughts appreciated......
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby LetgoJoe » Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:12 pm

On the AA pamphlet, "Questions and answers on Sponsorship" on pg 13 it states,
http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf

"Can any member be a sponsor?
There is no superior class or caste of sponsors in A.A. Any member can help the newcomer learn to cope with life without resorting to alcohol in any form.

In most instances, A.A. custom does suggest one limitation, already noted on page 10: If the group is large enough to allow a choice, sponsor and newcomer should be of the same sex. The reasons are the same from both viewpoints; we A.A. members, no matter how long we have been sober, remain thoroughly human, subject to emotions that might divert us from “our primary purpose.”


~Joe K.
Honesty gets us sober, tolerance keeps us sober. ~Bill W.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby bowlerdawg » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:54 am

just speaking in generalities, it's probably not a good idea
First of all we had to quit playing God, it didn't work
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby Allamerican » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:44 am

Being already here or bringing someone to A.A.?

There are no rules on this matter it will just be determined by who is sicker -

"BEING" here the greatest gift that I know of as a man is a female, and I would hope that would be of mutual respect instead of another sick personal dependency on someone else man or woman.
edited by moderator Karl R.--unacceptable behavior in this forum
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby vicki_chinn » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:27 am

I am a female with a male sponser until I find a female sponsor. My husband is an al-anon with a female sponsor who is the wife of my male sponsor. I have to say that I am not entirely comfortable with this situation. I would feel more comfortable with a female sponsor. I trust my husband with his sponsors although i have jealousy issues with other women in his al-anon group who he seems to be becoming close to. The trouble is that it is a small town and I feel like there is no privacy. I am worried that if I share with my sponser it will get back to my husband or other people in the AA/al-anon group. I understand that my jealousy is an issue that I have to work on although it is not entirely without cause. My husband has lied to me through most of out marriage. I have resentments that I need to work on. I hate that al-anons think they are the only ones who suffer. I dealt with so many lies and rejection from my husbands before I became an alcoholic and now that I am one I feel like I am treated like the only one to blame. and before you answer. Yes I have been told that I am to blame.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby happycamper » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:01 am

HI Vicky, welcome.

I am an alcoholic sober by Gods grace and AA for almost 5 yrs. I am also Alanon too , because of some family members drinking and drugging and I want to be free of that and be healthy.

As an Alanoner, I do NOT think that Im the only one who suffers. I know how miserable some of my family members are, cuz Ive been there.

I realize you are dealing with a sponsorship problem in your area ... but listen , it is highly important that you not be sponsored by a man, and then have that mans wife be your husbands Alanon sponsor ( I replied to your other post in different topic thread ).

You already have concerns about trust issues . Your trying to stay sober, not figure out what your husband is or is not doing.

I would highly suggest you travel out of town to AA meetings ( dont share anything personal at a table, ) and locate a same sex sponsor out of town. Or another option is an internet sponsor. It can be done, cuz I have One and have been one as well.

Getting and staying sober in the first few months and even after can be difficult. Dont complicate and (or ) compromise your well being and health with a bunch of 'he said, she said' stuff that will be full of drama and mistruths.
You owe it to yourself to find a loving, caring, concerned individual who you can trust. So start the search asap !!
Faith without works is dead
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby vicki_chinn » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:55 am

Thanks for your reply. I thought the same as well. My husband will not give up these women but there is nothing I can do about that. I need to find meetings that are independant of his I think. He will not like it as he has control issues but I think that that is what I need for my recovery. I will find different meetings to go to which is difficult as I no longer have a car and will have to use my husbands vehicle when he is off of work. Thanks again for you help.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby LetgoJoe » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:44 pm

He will not like it as he has control issues but I think that that is what I need for my recovery.


Whether Alanoners in my life, like what I am doing or not about what I need to do for my recovery, is for them to work in their own programs if they choose to do so.

I think that your thoughts of doing what you need for your recovery are very much on the right track. In early sobriety, that thinking with some rigorous honesty and communication with my sponsor seemed to give more peace with each day I worked those steps. The lenses in my glasses would stay turned on me a little more each day, instead of on other people. Dealing with my stuff after all is a full time job. Freedom from fixing other people and their emotional responsibilities seems to be a couple of the gifts toward freedom from the drink by working this AA program.

I completely agree with everything Happycamper said in her post. ~Joe K.
Honesty gets us sober, tolerance keeps us sober. ~Bill W.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby Allamerican » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:12 pm

Someone already here that cannot grasp the simplicity of the A.A. program and has to follow conditions sober, I have one question? What step can’t someone help another with man vs woman – Maybe the truth lies in one’s own wisdom to know the difference as in the serenity prayer rather than personal ambitions. I know a lot of great ladies and men that don’t threaten each other or have to walk in fear of each other as A.A. beg them to be fearless from the very start.
Why condition yourself through fear?
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby Joe H » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:38 am

Maybe the truth lies in one’s own wisdom to know the difference as in the serenity prayer rather than personal ambitions.


Wisdom of what happened the last time I drank did not prevent me from picking up a drink.

Our literature says that we are not saints. I have natural instincts that I looked at in step four, one of those is sex. Now if I am not a saint and I have a natural instinct to have sex, why would I want to test myself by placing me and another person into a situation which later we would both be sorry for.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby LetgoJoe » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:57 am

I know a lot of great ladies and men that don’t threaten each other or have to walk in fear of each other as A.A. beg them to be fearless from the very start.
Why condition yourself through fear?

It seems that AA as a whole thought it best to put it in the pamphlet as indicated in the orange post above. I think that pretty much is the simple version of the why that just makes good sense. The same sex sponsor principle is an AA custom that has been shared in that pamphlet and many AA groups to let us know that some AAs before us have run into this sponsorship issue before using the same spiritual principles before us and thought it would be helpful to write down their conclusions in steering away from the problem. And of course it seems to be indicated as one by the person who posted the issue here - so by that fact it seems that the suggestion seems to apply.

There are negative reactions and positive reactions to fear. And I pray for guidance to make the next best decision in the right direction. Sometimes even though I thought it was God's will because I prayed for it - I still got it wrong and that answer came back to me from God in the form of a consequence for that decision. So I acknowledge it and pray about it and try something else I believe to be the next best thing. I believe part of God's guidance for me is to seek experience from people that seem to be following His path, since they are on a similar journey and those that seem to have peace and happiness in their lives and that have experience in what may be troubling me and have worked through it to a positive resolve.

And I guess another way of looking at fear is that there are some healthy fears I have today and some adjusted reactions to them from learned experiences. Some came easy. Some came hard. I don't touch the stove cause it burns my finger. It will burn it every time not matter how much I pray about it or how "fearless" I am. I don't hang out in bars and around a lot of conduct that is detrimental to my spiritual growth - I am human and I know myself well enough to know that it will wear on my spiritual condition much faster than simply staying away from them unless there is a "good" reason for being there. I understand today that until I got an understanding of that "good" - in those environments, I had BS'd myself into believing I was fearles but I was actually flirting with temptation or playing with an idea of being powerful over those environments.

I still have a healthy fear of what that first drink will do to me today if I take it, but that fear is detached and it is not obsessively haunting me, just like the one about the touching of the stove - its learned and put in the lessons learned part of my sharing stuff in my brain to pull out when I think it might be helpful. And I try to live and let live with understanding when I see people choose the hard way of learning because Lord knows I have chose a lot of hard lessons, even after having heard sound advise, to get here. All I can do is keep my own door step clean and share my experience, strength and hope about how I am trying to do that and people will choose their own path. The results are between them and God according to His Plan and Will, not mine. ~Joe K.
Honesty gets us sober, tolerance keeps us sober. ~Bill W.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby happycamper » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:22 pm

I too still have a healthy fear of what that first drink will do to me.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:46 pm

vicki_chinn wrote:My husband is an al-anon with a female sponsor who is the wife of my male sponsor.


I think that is a problem. Not because of gender, but because your husband's sponsor's partner is your sponsor. Unless they both have a LOT of sobriety time and recovery experience (e.g. many years each and solid in the Steps and service) I would suggest you find another sponsor. Your sobriety is worth more than such a complication. Sooner or later, your issues with your husband will need to be discussed, and they can't be discussed honestly with such a person unless you know they can keep their mouth shut even at home.

Regarding gender, where possible I would always suggest same-gender (unless one is homosexual). It avoids a lot of complications. Yet I think a more important question should be "have you actually taken the Steps and recovered from alcoholism?" Nobody can really direct you on a path they've not walked.
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby Allamerican » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:58 pm

A dependency on sponsors has nothing to do with gender it's all about sickness
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Re: Male vs female sponsorship

Postby Champion1 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:28 am

Your sobriety is worth more than such a complication. Sooner or later, your issues with your husband will need to be discussed, and they can't be discussed honestly with such a person unless you know they can keep their mouth shut even at home.????



== Solitaire ==
Last edited by Champion1 on Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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