When to Find 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?
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Ken_the_Geordie
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:34 am

And if the person you ask to be your sponsor declines, that is a great thing they've just done.

I had a fellow Geordie ask me two weeks ago to sponsor him; I was the third person he'd asked that week (the previous two guys said they could not afford the time commitment for another sponsee) and I also had to decline. The poor guy was gutted. I could see the exasperation in his face. (My sponsor says I'm not to sponsor anyone else until I go through the steps with him (this is my 2nd time through the steps)).

I told him I was honoured to have been asked, but no, and after further speaking with him, he spoke about an elderly guy who sounded just perfect. He was only put off because of the type of clothes this guy wore (I know I know), but then he pointed out that he didn't know what this elderly guy had on the inside. He asked him, and the reply was 'yes'.

He now seems to be getting on fine with his new sponsor!

So a refusal isn't anything personal; it's just your Higher Power's way of directing you to the right person; maybe.

And here's a pamphlet on sponsorship that I like:

http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf
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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Cascade Jack
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Cascade Jack » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:01 am

Is it ever the case that somebody can sponsor someone, even though that sponsor has not gone through the steps himself yet? Perhaps I'm misreading some of these posts but it sounds like that may be the case, which I find surprising. Just curious.

Steven F
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Steven F » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:40 am

Cascade Jack wrote:Is it ever the case that somebody can sponsor someone, even though that sponsor has not gone through the steps himself yet?
I would say no. Step 12 is clear enough - if you are willing to read all the words:
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
"A spiritual awakening as the result of these steps." Not "a bit of an experience". Not "as a result of some of these steps".

Whether or not a person has this is to a large extent up to self-appraisal. There is no such thing as the AA police. If someone decides to offer sponsorship in spite of not having gone through the steps him- or herself, there is nothing much anyone can do except offer hints or ask the person who offers sponsorship if he or she is being honest and truthful.

That said, anyone in the programme can give you valuable information about their experiences - even if that experience is only one day. Someone who for example has done steps 1 to 5 can share about that from the experience they have with it. But they could not in honesty talk to you about steps 6 to 12...

How to get a sponsor then, with all these uncertainties? I would advise to try to get a face-to-face sponsor. I myself had an online sponsor, and while all went well, in hindsight I see clearly how it could have gone terribly wrong in many ways.

So, look for someone who has what you want - who acts, talks, listens, creates ... in a way which you admire, which you would like to have for yourself. Then ask him or her (please pick someone of a gender you would not be sexually attracted to) what their experience is with the programme. You'll know straight away if there is an identification. If there is, just pop the question. "Will you help me?".

You will not always know who is being honest and who is talking BS. Many talk the talk but do not walk the walk, so to speak. That is why the advice often is given to check everything you hear with what is written in the big book. A sponsor who has experience with the full programme can help you with that. And you should never ever be afraid to ask a sponsor "where is that in the big book?".

It is also possible to get a temporary sponsor via e-aa. That means that someone will guide you further in a more personal fashion, until you have found a sponsorship solution that works for you. Have a look here if that would interest you: http://www.e-aa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5297

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Cascade Jack
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Cascade Jack » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:02 am

Many thanks.

As it happens, I met somebody who said he'd be open to being a temporary sponsor at a recent meeting and it seems we have enough in common that it could be a productive relationship. I think I'll take him up on it, at least on a temporary basis, and see how things pan out. Thanks for the input, everybody.

Steven F
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Steven F » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:07 am

Cascade Jack wrote:As it happens, I met somebody who said he'd be open to being a temporary sponsor at a recent meeting and it seems we have enough in common that it could be a productive relationship.
Sounds great! Please, for the benefit of you both, do have that talk and ask him about his own experiences with the programme. Clarity and honesty is everything.

Lali
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Lali » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:17 pm

Cascade asked: Is it ever the case that somebody can sponsor someone, even though that sponsor has not gone through the steps himself yet?


The short answer is No.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Blue Moon
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Blue Moon » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:41 pm

Cascade Jack wrote:Is it ever the case that somebody can sponsor someone, even though that sponsor has not gone through the steps himself yet? Perhaps I'm misreading some of these posts but it sounds like that may be the case, which I find surprising. Just curious.
"Can" or "do"?

Some do. IMO it's more about stroking their ego or suffering from untreated codependency rather than seeking to maximise the newcomer's chances of recovery. AA doesn't "vet" anyone's ability to be a sponsor, doesn't award any "sponsor" badge.

But "can" they sponsor, effectively, to help bring about recovery from alcoholism? The chances are less than average. The book itself says "you cannot transmit that which you haven't got". Surely if someone was able and willing to take the 12 Steps, they would have done so... but if they haven't, they are poorly qualified to be teaching or explaining to another about 12 Steps.

Would you bet your sobriety on someone who was only taking half measures themselves? Sounds like someone investing in stocks or taking a no-doc mortgage back in 2007 ... the guy selling talks good story, can even browbeat you into an action that benefits him rather than you, but you are the one who's ultimately responsible for the choices you make - whether you're investing for money, for a house, or for sobriety.

I prefer making informed choices, or following informed suggestions. Often far from easy, but that's why I was not buying a house when everyone else was (frustrating now that my taxes are paying for other people's bad mortgage choices), and perhaps it's why I've been sober a while.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

Mike O
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Re: When to Find Sponsor?

Post by Mike O » Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:01 pm

Cascade Jack wrote:..... how long should I wait this time before getting a sponsor and doing the step-work?
The 12 Steps are what AA is about, pure and simple.

Begin working them immediately. You do NOT need a sponsor to start working the steps. You will need someone to hear your Step 5, however.

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