sponsorship-new to program

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?
Layne
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Layne » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:52 am

I understand the logic behind choosing a sponsor with a few years under their belt, however a more important point to me would be how is their program TODAY. Yesterday in a meeting a woman with 25 years of sobriety with a good program and who is known as being a go to sponsor shared that her sponsor, who had 32 years of sobriety with a good program and who was known as being a go to sponsor had in the last 6 months relapsed and was now homeless, husbandless, and a charity case in the hospital from drinking rubbing alcohol.

Today is all any of us has. How is my program today? Is it one of action or am I resting on my laurels? Length of time in the program will not keep me sober. A sponsor will not keep me sober. Meetings will not keep me sober. Reading the big book will not keep me sober. The only thing that will keep me sober is working the steps. The part I really need to remember is that for me it is "working" not "worked" the steps.

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Glynn
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Glynn » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:39 am

Yes, I agree that today is what counts, but the query was basically "can a person, one month sober, be a sponsor?"

I, too, know people with long-term sobriety who are not following the programme. I know people with years of sobriety who I wouldn't trust with looking after a goldfish and I know some people with only a few months who I would be happy to invite to my home. The question, as asked, was if a newly sober person is suitable as a sponsor and I would have to say "No." Equally, I would say "No." if the question was, "Is time sober the only qualification needed to be a sponsor."

As I have said previously, I put my faith in the group, I asked the group about a suitable sponsor and, with their advice, I seem to have got a good one.

Glynn
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Lali
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Lali » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:35 pm

Lisar - It wasnt my intention to be sponsoring so many at one time. And my sponsor told me, that even tho we pray they all stay sober, that I shouldnt be to concerned, cuz probably more than 1/2 of them would not stay sober , stop coming to meetings, etc.
I am a little over 6 yrs sober now, and in my circle of meetings that I attend .. there is one lady with 36 yrs sober who will not sponsor anymore, and another lady with 32 yrs who wont sponsor either . There is another gal at a local club about 7 yrs sober and I rarely see her or go to meetings with her.
Thats it!! There are no more women in our area.

So, in all reality, at that time, I had no choice but to say "yes" I would help these newcomers. And I prayed about all of it, asking that God help me help them and He did in fact give me the answer ... have the new girls help each other. After all, thats really what its all about , ,One drunk talkin to another.
Well, I sure do respect your decision to help these gals out when there was no one else.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

Steven F
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Steven F » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:41 pm

Well, I picked a sponsor who had what I wanted and I asked him how to get it. He basically told me to read the book and to do exactly what was in there, and we talked about how that worked. I didn't ask him how many years he had. In fact, I still don't know - I find it utterly unimportant.

Interestingly, whenever there is something being discussed vividly, I find AA has a pamphlet on it :-). http://aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?origp ... product=17

happycamper
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by happycamper » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:54 pm

Exactly Steven, and nothing speaks for AA literature like AA literature :D
Faith without works is dead

Lali
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Lali » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:07 am

Dustin quoted Glynn
" I needed to find someone who had proved to the group that he was as stable as any AA can be, that he was following the AA path and was able to listen and share his experiences."

Dustin's response:
What was the proof? Time?

My response
Yeah, in my opinion, time. I've seen so many newcomers come in and parrot what other people say because they don't have a clue how to stay sober. They sound great for a while, then they relapse because they have not had enough time in the program to learn on their own what they need to learn. Happens all the time.
And yes, people with time also relapse but the better odds are on the one with the time.

Dustin, how new are you talking about. If they have worked the steps, I sure hope that they have more than 6 months. If you are talking about someone with 12 months or almost 12 months, well, then that's different.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

Lali
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Lali » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:32 am

Dustin M wrote: If a person was to work the steps, say within a week of coming to AA, and was living a happy sober life,and was then asked by someone how they did it and if they could be his sponsor....Could he be a sponsor or not? After all, he is a newcomer with only a week or two sober, but he is working a good program.
Absolutely N-O. How do you tell if a person is working a good program from observing them for 2 weeks? If you want to do this, be forewarned. And as for your comment, "If a person was to work the steps, say within a week of coming to AA..., that's ludicrous. They wouldn't be "working" the steps, they'd be "doing" the steps and unless you have taken a speed reading course, it can't be done. Steps are done by sitting down with your sponsor on a regular basis, reading the material and then DISCUSSING the material. There is no way to retain all of that material if you are rushing through it. If this sounds harsh sometimes we have to be harsh to save another life.
Last edited by Lali on Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Glynn
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Glynn » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:47 am

Hi

Sorry, but I didn't say that, Dustin did. All this quoting is getting confusing................ :D

I will try to stay out of it now, note, I said "try". :lol:

Glynn
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Lali
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Lali » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:57 am

Sorry, Glynn. I fixed the post. I know you didn't write it.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Steven F » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:25 am

lisar wrote:
Dustin M wrote: If a person was to work the steps, say within a week of coming to AA, and was living a happy sober life,and was then asked by someone how they did it and if they could be his sponsor....Could he be a sponsor or not? After all, he is a newcomer with only a week or two sober, but he is working a good program.
Absolutely N-O. How do you tell if a person is working a good program from observing them for 2 weeks? If you want to do this, be forewarned. And as for your comment, "If a person was to work the steps, say within a week of coming to AA..., that's ludicrous. They wouldn't be "working" the steps, they'd be "doing" the steps and unless you have taken a speed reading course, it can't be done. Steps are done by sitting down with your sponsor on a regular basis, reading the material and then DISCUSSING the material. There is no way to retain all of that material if you are rushing through it. If this sounds harsh sometimes we have to be harsh to save another life.
Pardon me...

I was making amends within six weeks, and I was slow (kind of found there was so much to do instead of writing inventory - I think they must have aired the very best must-see tv-shows during that period). A man I know is making amends at five weeks after stepping into AA. Neither of us are speed-readers. We just picked up what is in the book and did it. It's not rocket science, it's just stuff to do. One can always study it in more detail afterwards - that is a lot easier and more helpful when sober and content.

To frame that use of time a bit: I found my sponsor after about 1.5 weeks in AA. We talked for a few hours and I took a week in the countryside to think about God. Inventory took me two weeks (love those re-runs of Law and Order), step 5 a day, steps 6 and 7 half an hour - on that same day. Step 8 was basically written (I didn't burn my inventory and I would advise anyone not to do it either unless you want to make step 8 hard on yourself), and step 9 was, and is, again a question of doing. I am not an exception.

I did not need a sponsor to read a text, and I did not need to know what my sponsor was doing in order to follow the instructions. In Latin there is a saying "interpretatio cessit in claris" - which means that there is no need to interpret that what is clear. My sponsor and I talked about what I didn't get. Less about the stuff that rang through loud enough. And I found six weeks was plenty of time. I can perfectly see how someone takes these steps in a weekend, and I wouldn't know why such a person would have to wait an arbitrary period of time after that before he or she is "allowed" to save someone's life.

At those six weeks I had made amends, I was practising steps 10 and 11, and I had had more than one experience that I would call spiritual. From that moment on, I started to talk to newcomers. I don't really give a hoot about what others think about my time or my quality. The book tells me I'm qualified to carry the message, and so I did.

The alcoholic who has done step one knows a lot more than the alcoholic who hasn't. As long as one talks to the other with honesty and from experience (as opposed to from knowledge and "what could have been") - I see no issue whatsoever. Even for the guy who comes off the weekend, shining with a new-found awareness. If that bloke jumps on a plane and meets a suffering fellow there, on what authority would anyone here tell him that he should keep his mouth shut?

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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by happycamper » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:35 am

Some of the first questions I ask a new person who needs a sponsor is, " What are you willing to do, and how long do you want to continue suffering " ?

I tell them .. Lets get happy, lets stay sober one day at a time, lets get started on your new life and not waste any time. I dont rush them, we agree together on the pace.

I have sponsored gals who were writing their 4th step within 10 days of their first meeting. And they in turn were helping other gals with steps 1 & 2.
We all share our esh, and if Ive had the experience of working the steps, I share that with others .. and they in turn share what they have learned or experienced.
I believe back in the good old days of early AA, they were working the steps very quickly and many were making 9th step ammends very soon after detoxing.

Our own literature tells us that helping others is the foundation stone of our recovery. Why wait, why pick and choose according to sober time? Jump in and get to work!!
Faith without works is dead

happycamper
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by happycamper » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:38 am

Thankyou Steven F -- well said !!
Faith without works is dead

Lali
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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Lali » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:19 am

Steven:
Dustin M wrote:If a person was to work the steps, say within a week of coming to AA, (emphasis added) and was living a happy sober life, and was then asked by someone how they did it and if they could be his sponsor....Could he be a sponsor or not? After all, he is a newcomer with only a week or two sober, but he is working a good program.

Steven, I do not understand how your response to me had anything to do with my reply to Dustin’s question as to whether someone with a week or two sober “who is working a good program” can be a sponsor. My problem with that as I stated before is how can you know whether someone is working a good program after only two weeks. (This is just another example of a watered down program). As an aside, the less time a person has, the more likely they are to go out. I personally would give someone more than two weeks before taking them on as a sponsor. In all my time in AA, in all of the groups I have been in, I have yet to see someone with 2 weeks sponsor another. I’m not saying it hasn’t been done and I’m not saying it could never work, I’m just saying it would be like playing the lottery.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Steven F » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:03 am

Hi Lisa,

The answer was general. I wanted to demonstrate that there is no "absolute".
lisar wrote:My problem with that as I stated before is how can you know whether someone is working a good program after only two weeks.
How can you know after 20 years? I can spin you a story today, you wouldn't know based on that, would you?
lisar wrote:(This is just another example of a watered down program).
No it is not. Where do you read in the book that two weeks is not enough?
lisar wrote:As an aside, the less time a person has, the more likely they are to go out.
I'm sorry, but that is a generalisation.
lisar wrote:I’m not saying it hasn’t been done and I’m not saying it could never work, I’m just saying it would be like playing the lottery.
Again, that is opinion. I find no time qualifications in the book. And it is not as if we have so many sponsor for so few prospects. If a man wants to work with another man after two weeks and after having had a spiritual experience as a result of the steps, he is welcome to it. Provided that he sticks to experience.

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Re: Thought I'd better start joining in..

Post by Layne » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:16 am

Bill W checked into the hospital Dec 11, had a spiritual awakening, talked with his Doc about it on Dec 14, and checked out on Dec 18. Had he worked the steps?

Dr Bob appears to have gotten into, the still not written down, steps after one day.

When Bill W and Dr Bob 12stepped Bill D, Bill W had about 7 months sober and Dr Bob had 18 days sober. In reading the story, it sounds like Bill D got into the steps from that first day.

Clarence S took thousands through the steps in 2 days.

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