Ever a good time to change sponsors?

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?
happycamper
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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by happycamper » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:17 pm

Hi Renegade, thanks for your honest share.
I was merely wondering, cuz when I sponsor gals, if they 'use' anything besides alcohol after we have begun working the steps and I know about it, I start them over at step 1. I wouldnt feel right working steps when someone has used pot, or pills, or whatever.
And you are so right ... God cannot get to us and thru us if we are still using any mind altering substance.

My very first sponsor was assigned to me thru a back to basics AA mtg. As much as I cared for her, she talked .. Alot! and she often brought up what she and I were sharing about in front of other ppl at mtgs , and I didnt like this. So, I told her so, and she apologized, and I moved onto finding another sponsor. IN the meanwhile I started drinking again, but was still going to meetings, and sponsorless. I was about a month sober and a guy I knew who was sponsoring a gal suggested that I get his sponsee to sponsor me. Women are few and far between in my area, at least any with any amount of sobriety. So, I asked this gal to sponsor me. I really wanted to work the steps and stay sober ( or at least at the time I did ) and so I was desperate in a way.
Well, come to find out, the gal didnt know squat about the AA program, she was merely going to mtgs, and staying sober. She tried to help me, in her own sort of way, and there were many times I called her to hook up and do some BB work or share with her, and she never returned my calls, and I got frustrated , cuz i knew she was blowing me off. so, I gave her a call finally and told her thankyou for all her help, but I didnt need her anymore.
Later on I found out that she lied to many ppl telling them that she fired me cuz I wouldnt stay sober , which was a lie. Oh well, no biggie, I moved on and found yet another sponsor. she was good and she worked with me very hard. But I came to find out later that she didnt really know how to work the steps, and while I still stayed in touch with her, I had met another gal via here .. the internet in a diff AA group chat room . This particular gal told me she would sponsor me, cuz I was failing and struggling. So at this point in time, I now had 2 sponsors .. One f2f and one internet. I eventually parted ways with the f2f gal and we are still friends today.
Going on 7 yrs now I still have the same internet sponsor and She helped me work the steps the way the BB describes, we still share today and are closer than ever. I actually love this woman like I never thought I could love a person.
I currently have an Alanon sponsor ( who is also AA, and actually sober 30 yrs and Alanon 30 yrs too ) who has never worked a step in either program. Amazing isn't it? Well, when I asked her when would we start the steps of the Alanon program, she said, " well, I have never really worked the steps, I just go to mtgs and read the daily readers". Hmmmm, okay then.. and when I told my AA sponsor this ( who is also Alanon ), she said she would help me work the steps. I told my first Alanon sponsor this, and told her I really wanted to work the steps, and she was okay with it.

What one member cant help with, its always possible that another can.
I need what I need and that is the bottom line for me. And I will search until I get what I need all the while praying for Gods guidance in my search. I dont set out to hurt anybodys feelings, but after all ... I dont wanna be a member of either program and not get the full, real deal. I want it all !!!

And I truely believe its cuz of the Alanon program that today I can say what I reallly want to say about anything . of course, I say what I mean, mean what I say and I dont say it mean.
But if I dont like something, at least I dont have to stick around or put up with 1/2 measures. I can move on, its okay. Its my life, and as long as my motives are good, then I dont ( and havent ) see a problem with changing sponsors.

Thanks for letting me share. I tried to keep it as simple as possible. Even tho I know from experience that it can and does get complicated at times.

Oh and btw .. very happy to hear that you are joining the BB study. I honestly believe that if more ppl did this, AA would have just a little bit better success rate at helping drunks ... just maybe :)
Faith without works is dead

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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Steven F » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:19 am

Renegade27 wrote:I started to see how my life was unmanageable from pot as well
Hi Renegade! I'm just picking one line out of this, just because it jumped at me when I went over your post... Your life is unmanageable without the spiritual dimension. Full stop. It is not unmanageable because you drink, or because you smoke pot, or because you eat too many burgers. It is unmanageable because we rely on self-will. And basically because we fail to make the distinction between what we can change and what we can't.

The programme has a solution to that, but that means you have to stop relying on self-will. And in order to have any success in that, you need to be clean. To what extent? Well, to the extent that you need to be ready to do stuff instead of thinking "screw it, I'm going to finish my joint first".

Take a moment to think about this unmanageability as being separate from drinking, smoking, ... If it is true - and I believe it is - then it answers many of your questions, doesn't it?

Sober25
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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Sober25 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:40 am

happycamper wrote: ... I had met another gal via here .. the internet in a diff AA group chat room . This particular gal told me she would sponsor me, cuz I was failing and struggling. So at this point in time, I now had 2 sponsors .. One f2f and one internet. I eventually parted ways with the f2f gal and we are still friends today.
Going on 7 yrs now I still have the same internet sponsor and She helped me work the steps the way the BB describes, we still share today and are closer than ever. I actually love this woman like I never thought I could love a person.
Some people like to put down the whole concept of internet or long distance sponsors, but they can actually work out nicely. My sponsor is in Wyoming and I live in Tennessee. We communicate by email and phone. It works great. I am also sponsoring a man in Budapest. I doubt if we ever will meet in person. Even though I recommend ftf if possible and practical, sometimes our Higher Power just does things in an unconventional way. IF we are willing to go to any lengths, as the BB says, then we can do well with long distance sponsors.
AA has one program of recovery - the 12 steps. It's tried, tested, proven and gauranteed.

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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Lali » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:40 am

I have been told that most sponsors make you start over at step 1 when you change sponsors. Renegade, this may be the best time to make the switch before getting too deeply into step 4. Just my opinion.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Steven F » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:56 am

lisar wrote:I have been told that most sponsors make you start over at step 1 when you change sponsors. Renegade, this may be the best time to make the switch before getting too deeply into step 4. Just my opinion.
I can imagine something with that, but on the other hand: they are YOUR steps. Not your sponsor's. If you do a good inventory - following the instructions in the big book - don't let anyone tell you that you need to start over because it is not "their" way.

Read the book, follow the instructions to the letter (even if you don't agree with them), trust the process. That stuff works.

I don't know about all the other stuff and methods. Simply because I haven't tried them.

happycamper
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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by happycamper » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:57 am

Oh yes Lisa, most definately. If I start sponsoring someone , we start at step 1 ,no matter what they have done in the past with anyone previously . I need to be on the same page as this person, we have to do it together.

yes Sober, the internet does work cuz Im living proof and apparentlly you are too! No, I dont recommend this as the only way, but if there isn't f2f same sex sponsors available, then why not utilize what is available.
I have met my sponsor twice in person. I was so blessed to take the 3rd step with her , go over my 4th step list and the 5th with her.
I am in Michigan and she just recently moved back to Cleveland , her home town. I am looking very forward to visiting her sometime in January possibly and hitting some good meetings in the Cleveland area.
and I am currently sponsoring a gal in Calgary via the temp sponsor list here. Id LOVE to meet her, and wont rule out that I never will. I just never know how or when God is gonna work in my life :)
Faith without works is dead

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Renegade27
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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Renegade27 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:08 am

Thanks all for sharing your experiences and thoughts. As always, I find wisdom here and am grateful to be able to reach around the world for guidance :D

Happycamper, your experiences and suggestions are really invaluable. I appreciate your views from both the sponsor and sponsee side.

Happycamper wrote:
What one member cant help with, its always possible that another can.
I need what I need and that is the bottom line for me. And I will search until I get what I need all the while praying for Gods guidance in my search. I dont set out to hurt anybodys feelings, but after all ... I dont wanna be a member of either program and not get the full, real deal. I want it all !!!
I can easily see that each person has unique experiences and it's most helpful to seek out the people that might help best. My sponsor has said essentially the same thing, and has directed me to different people on occasion where he thought it would be helpful. I also very much like Steven's thoughts:
I have never seen sponsorship as exclusive. In your position, I would talk to my first sponsor and let him know that I would like to work with the other one also. That will probably lead to a change in relationship with your first sponsor, into more of a "trusted friend" in AA. It is always good to have a few of those .
I plan to continue on with my existing sponsor with his tremendously helpful wisdom of spirituality, the program and living life sober. I will look to let God direct us both. I'm also going to utilize the experiences of the many happy, joyous and free people in the groups I go to by ASKING for their help (never denied help when I've asked, either f2f or online!) and develop as many "trusted friends" as I need. Lastly, I'm looking forward to the small BB study group that I'm now part of.

Still mourning the loss of my bong, but I know that too will pass with prayer and some help from my Higher Power. I'm ready to do the legwork and do everything in MY power to continually expand my spiritual condition so that I can know his/ her/ it's Will.

Ken, please do PM me your sponsor's number - even if 'officially' recovered, it sounds to me like you still need some work :lol: . That's right though, I probably wouldn't be able to understand his Geordie accent :wink:

Lisa, why do keep suggesting that I start over!?! :shock: First with a sobriety date in another post (oh, no! precious to me!) or now with the steps! :shock: :shock: Kidding.... I always appreciate your sober viewpoint and honesty :) . As I've written to you before, you really bring a unique perspective to this forum.

Ain't life grand! :D
"More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor... he presents his stage character... but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it." pg 73

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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Lali » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:55 am

Because, my friend :D , your sobriety date starts when you stop using all mind altering substances, including pot. Just ask, 'cause that's what I've always been told. Also, I said that many sponsors want to start you at step 1. Happycamper agreed with that and I know you like her opinions??!!!
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Renegade27
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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Renegade27 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:10 pm

I understand and really can't argue... but I'll fall (conveniently) back on my sponsors opinion here. OK, so maybe not 100% indisputable honesty on this point but I'm quite proud of my half-cake 6 months of alcohol-free approaching!

BTW I also value YOUR opinions. I clearly sense you've been there and are working good service through your posts - sometimes a little tough to swallow, but the truth isn't alway easy.
"More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor... he presents his stage character... but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it." pg 73

Steven F
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Re: Ever a good time to change sponsors?

Post by Steven F » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:52 pm

lisar wrote:your sobriety date starts when you stop using all mind altering substances
*looks at the coffee pot, the chocolate box, the computer and the ashtray* - guess I'll never get sober then :-p

Just kidding. Well actually, in a way I am not. The fact that I smoke can get me to display alcoholic behaviour, as does my desire to play computer games at inappropriate times (for example, while I really should work). Or my yearning for gadgets, or... It might not alter my mind (what does that mean anyway?), but it can be an excuse for me to be selfish and self-centered. I can easily ignore an opportunity to be helpful because I want to go out for a smoke. I might not do my best because I want to get online and play a shooter game. You could find me lying to my kids because I don't want them to have that chocolate (sure, it's bad for them, but above all it's MINE). Well, you get the picture.

Luckily, what I learn in this programme applies to those things too. Why? Because alcoholism is not just about the drinking. I believe it is about the insanity of the ego.
Selfishness--self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.
If there is one thing I have learned in AA, that it is not the consumption of alcohol that is at the root of my problems.
Our liquor was but a symptom.
Why are we in AA then? Well, when I am spiritually fit I can safely smoke tobacco, play computer games, eyeball gadgets, eat chocolate... all that is personal assessment, not "fact for everybody". But I can not safely drink. I can not be aware and awake and drink. Because drinking is where my personal insanity comes in.

We are in AA because that is the truth for all of us alcoholics. What other drugs might do to us is not necessarily the same for us alcoholics. And that is why this stuff is an outside issue.

That said, Renegade, if giving up pot is difficult for you, giving it up is the right thing to do. A person who has no abnormal reaction to the stuff would probably not feel a desire to ritually bury their bong when the time comes :-).

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