sponsee relapsed

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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happycamper
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sponsee relapsed

Post by happycamper » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:30 am

My sponsee has relapsed, what should I do ??
Faith without works is dead

Lali
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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by Lali » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:08 am

I would reach out to her 2 or 3 times. If you get a negative response or no response at all, I would let her know that I will be there for when she is ready. Then I would move on to someone else.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Ken_the_Geordie
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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:08 pm

Hi Happycamper,

I'm sorry that your sponsee relapsed, but I will be interested to read the replies in this post. Can I ask how long your friend was sober for and do you have any idea why she relapsed; if it is possible to pin it to anything specific.

Regards,

Ken
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Blue Moon
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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by Blue Moon » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:29 pm

happycamper wrote:My sponsee has relapsed, what should I do ??
Much the same as you'd have done if she hadn't. You don't have to let her insanity become yours.

Beyond that, what you do very much depends on what she wants and is willing to do. When someone relapses, it's usually because they either weren't doing something, or stopped doing it.

I would let the sponsee know I'm there if needed to provide support to recover. I just suggest you beware of enabling the unmanageability.
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ann2
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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by ann2 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:59 am

Honestly, us thinking somehow our sponsees, sponsors, AA friends, even ourselves *won't* relapse is like playing God. I'm kind of blessed in that i see the insanity of my alcoholism every day, and I know how easily I would fall if I picked up a drink. I have been blessed with the reasonable fear of drinking every day of my sobriety, and that in a way makes relapse sort of like, "yeah? so?" as my 9 year old daugher often comments :roll:

We are very very lucky to have one minute of the day sober, in conscious contact with our higher power, able to do something that is in line with his/her/its will for us. Very very luck, full of grace, undeservedly blessed. We have this chronic, progressive disease and every second of my life today is a miracle I did nothing to earn. I don't care about yeah, I went to meetings, yeah, I put in the footwork, ya da ya da ya da -- no, it was nothing compared to the incredible gift I've been given.

I am not cured, I have the alcoholic short memory, the alcoholic ego, the alcoholic self-centeredness -- daily treated by my higher power but just as often righteously proclaimed! And all those things tell me how much I have under control, how little it matters if I pray for this or that or someone, how my actions don't have to be in service to another. I mean, it's all there, texting me as it were throughout the day. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I learn, sometimes I listen and regret my behavior later. But every time I realize, wow, I'm a sick puppy, as my first sponsor said.

I'm not here because I'm all well and healthy inside, noooooooooooo way. And that's why the fact of an alcoholic drinking is no surprise to me. Ever. Can't say I would be shocked. But what would I do? More AA, more service, maybe service in an entirely different area. And pray for a day of sobriety.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

happycamper
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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by happycamper » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:04 am

Thankyou Ann, I too have a healthy reasonable fear of drinking today. My sponsor always says that a grateful alcoholic will not drink. I believe this to be true.

I sometimes happen to be the type of person who often second guesses myself. Maybe I should have done this , or done it that way. Maybe I didnt quite say that the way I meant to and they took it the wrong way. etc, etc. Maybe its my fault ( even tho I know I dont make anyone drink ) cuz I should have been more supportive, or maybe I didnt take enough time to really listen, etc, etc.

And, as blue moon stated I have to be careful not to enable the unmanageability of this sponsee's life and her recent behaviors. Which pretty much so were and are -- oh the world is against me, im tired of doing everything for everybody, I got sober and they should have to do the same, waaaa, waaaa, waaaa ...

So, very compassionately and understandingly I let this sponsee know that the world doesnt revolve around her. I 'called' her on some of her moves. She didnt ike this and I could tell. I made suggestions, I offered more of my time, I continued to reach out and pray for her and ask God as well to guide me in helping her. Ive been in touch with my own sponsor who tells me ... " theres only so much you can do ".

Someone suggested in the initial posting of this ( pre - edited ) that I move on.
Today ... Im going with BB in hand to do the 3rd step with another sponsee and get her started on her grudge list.

Thankyou everyone for your help, and thanks for letting me share,
Faith without works is dead

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ann2
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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by ann2 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:44 am

happycamper wrote:Today ... Im going with BB in hand to do the 3rd step with another sponsee and get her started on her grudge list.
Fantastic, thank you so much for sharing how it's done . . . you are a model to me.

Second guessing, hooo boy, yeah. I'm right there with ya. As my sponsor would say, you are just what you should be right now and God loves you this way. And we do too.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by Lali » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:02 am

Thank you, Ann, for your post on relapsing. I’m fairly new to AA and I’ve been a little surprised lately regarding certain people who have relapsed. These are people who talked the talk pretty well, but weren’t walking the walk, I guess. The following from your post is most helpful to me:

Ann stated:
"Honestly, us thinking somehow our sponsees, sponsors, AA friends, even ourselves *won't* relapse is like playing God"

Later in your post, you stated: “And that's why the fact of an alcoholic drinking is no surprise to me. Ever.” This is also helpful to me coming from someone with over 20 years of sobriety.

The reasons why I’m so bothered by other people’s relapses are: The selfish reason, being that if it happened to this or that particular person, it could happen to me; and the other reason that I just feel really bad for them. I also know that they made that choice and I cannot dwell on it for my own good. I know though how ugly it is for them where they are right now. It only takes me a few seconds to recall just how ugly it got for me., when I, for instance, see a beer commercial or see those coolers packed full of beer in the little market down the street where I get my gas. I’m in a much better place and if I don’t want to go back, I must continue with my program, i.e., meetings, praying to my higher power, helping others, etc.,

I almost never ask anyone why they relapsed. Because I was given the answer by someone in AA whose opinion means a lot to me. The answer is that they wanted to drink. I was told that after I myself relapsed and I don't give anyone an “excuse” for my own relapse since then.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by jak » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:09 am

happycamper wrote:My sponsee has relapsed, what should I do ??
The book Alcoholics Anonymous has many suggestions. The chapter titled Working With Others is the main text, but helpful ideas are also in other chapters such as To The Wives that deal with the active drinker -how and when to approch them and/or leave them alone.

jimk

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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by Blue Moon » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:54 am

lisar wrote: I almost never ask anyone why they relapsed. Because I was given the answer by someone in AA whose opinion means a lot to me. The answer is that they wanted to drink.
The last relapse I had, I definitely did not want to drink. I just didn't know how else to deal with the situation I was in. I drank because of the discomfort of not drinking, I needed the temporary psychosis.

So I suppose you could say I wanted to drink more than I wanted to live with the discomfort. But that's a bit like saying someone wants to breathe when not doing so is difficult enough. Do they really "want" to, or is it more of a need?

There's one thing worse than "a head full of AA and a belly full of booze", and that's a belly empty of booze and nothing in the head to replace it. I may feel ready to die, but I'm not ready to return to that state of despair.

I recommend a read of Chapter 3 in the Big Book - "at certain times the alcoholic has no effective mental defense against the first drink". This has been my experience on the path to fully taking Step 1.

As for relapse, no we shouldn't be too surprised when it happens. But it's also not a lottery. A heart patient is more likely to relapse if he stops the focus on healthy foods. A kidney patient is more likely to relapse if she misses a few doses of dialysis. Likewise an alcoholic relapse becomes more likely when we stop doing what we should. I cannot accept that some bearded man wielding a trident is up in the sky saying "I'll allow you to stay sober ... but you can't ... maybe you can, we'll see ... you definitely can't". If it was that, or simply a choice or a game of chance, why have any recovery program?

No, the ongoing difficulty for us is that life tends to get in the way of doing our own "spiritual push-ups".
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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avaneesh912
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Re: sponsee relapsed

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:31 am

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink

Its is one of the key paragraphs we need to point to very one who aspires to embrace this program of AA. Its baffling when people share that all we have to do is not pick up a drink and go to meetings. The book is clear that a 'real alcoholic' left on his own device will not be able to do it. Yet we let people share these messages, no wonder the recovery rate has gone down a lot.
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: sponsee relapsed

Post by Lali » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:48 pm

Blue Moon said, “The last relapse I had, I definitely did not want to drink. I just didn't know how else to deal with the situation I was in. I drank because of the discomfort of not drinking, I needed the temporary psychosis” . That’s right, we used drinking as a crutch to get through the discomfort of living. I also believe that we often, at least in early sobriety, start planning our next drink in advance and then just wait for an “excuse” that we can tell ourselves to have that first drink.
Blue Moon also stated: “I cannot accept that some bearded man wielding a trident is up in the sky saying "I'll allow you to stay sober ... but you can't ... maybe you can, we'll see ... you definitely can't". If it was that, or simply a choice or a game of chance, why have any recovery program?
Nope, I do not accept the bearded man wielding a trident either. (That conjures up a strange picture in my head - lol). But, the option of recovery programs is here for us; however, we have to want to do the footwork. God’s not going to do it all for us.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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