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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Post by Shakinbacon » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:25 am

I have deep respect for my sponsor who took me through the steps and I have found great peace in the process. I trust her - to a point. She is 9 years younger than me an currently going through a long health challenge. She has admitted that sometimes her issues come out sideways at me, and because of my deep respect for her and her guidance, I have mostly let those times roll off my back. I call her every day.

However, now I have 2 service positions and on average attend two mtgs a day, and for some reason she has become focused on me volunteering for yet another service position. I am *immersed* in the program, and feel I am doing AA service in one form or another every single day. I do not want another service position.

Last night she said she is seein unwillingness, and she will not defen herself or her suggestions.

I am troubled about where the line between unwillingness and still being allowed to determine my own limits. She has taught me so much & I don't want to be difficult, but she has no service positions and frequently reminds me that I need to respect my own boundaries and Be consistent with them.

What should I do? I prefer to keep her as a sponsor, but I can't help but feel it's getting pretty hypocritical and I've become a place for her to focus her frustrations.


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Re: Willingness

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:36 am

A sponsor should lead by example. Looks hypocritical. We need to slowly wean away from such people. The promises says we would intuitively be able to handle situations that used to baffle us. Does not say the book to call your sponsor for every single action you need to perform. Some sponsors promote such ideas and in my experience is very detrimental to the growth of an individual. You can state your concerns politely and if it does not work out, you may choose to move on.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Willingness

Post by someoneinaa » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:45 am

Perhaps you need to "call" her on what you see her doing?

Sponsorship is a 2-way street... and if you can't be honest and speak freely, it isn't happening. "There but for the Grace of God, Go I.". Realizing that with anonymity it could be me. We're in this together.

Besides, with the stress of illness, uncertain changes - she needs the steadying hand of a friend in the program to bounce things off of and the assurance of honest response.

Hopefully, this reflection will allow you to see your way right. Whatever the decision is.

~ Keith M.

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Re: Willingness

Post by Layne » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:51 am

I can't help but feel it's getting pretty hypocritical and I've become a place for her to focus her frustrations.
It may be true. It may be not true. Bottom line is what do you want out of a sponsor? Be careful not to confuse the question with what do you expect (resentment waiting to blossom) from a sponsor.

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Re: Willingness

Post by jakpar » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:25 am

welcome to eAA shakin, this is interesting to me as I am fairly new and very pleased with my sponsor, and will be curious to feedback here.

"We are of service by accepting responsibility for the authority God has given us and by respecting the authority God has given to others"

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Re: Willingness

Post by Tosh » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:40 am


Can I ask why you go to two meetings per day? I think that's great if you're new to A.A. and are under the obsession to drink; but if you've had that removed by following the program, then that sounds really excessive to me.

And welcome to the forum too.


Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Re: Willingness

Post by Shakinbacon » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:57 am

Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone.

I spoke with another experienced woman in the program about this after I posted the question, and she shared her experience with determining between unwillingness and autonomy. After some time, she's figured out that about every year she needs to re-assess her relationship with her sponsor to see in she's still growing in the relationship. Her priority in her life is not only to stay sober, but also to maintain her relationship with herself and her higher power to support her sobriety and her overall happiness. If she's not taking care of herself, then she cannot maintain sobriety. For her, that has meant limiting her service to one position, in her home group, and allowing herself to set some of her own personal boundaries after getting sobriety firmly under her belt. Since I am at 15 months and am deeply committed to staying sober, I listened closely.

She asks herself a few questions - setting emotions aside and looking only at the facts:
Am I attending meetings on a regular basis?
Do I hold a service position and am I actively engaged in that position?
Do I have sponsees?
Do I share at first step meetings when the newcomer is a woman?
Do I speak to my sponsor regularly?
Am I honest with her?

If the answers to those questions are in line with what she wants in her sobriety, then the question of what to do with sponsor suggestions that may create questions clears up a bit.

For me, all those answers are yes. And I see that it is time to move forward to another sponsor.

I am not a follower of the "firing my sponsor" line of thinking. I prefer to think of it as evolving through different folks who can meet my needs at different times, with my decision made carefully and without impulsiveness. If we can ease through this transition of my moving on to a different sponsor and remain friends, which I would very much like, maybe then I'll discuss what I see from my side as far as her stuff, but not unless she asks.

And, yes, two meetings a day is frequent, but I have no children and am unmarried so my family is my AA family, and I like spending time with them. My home group is the 8am mtg, and then I hit different evening meetings with my friends probably 4-5 nights a week. It works for me at this time.

Thanks again everyone - this helps!

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Re: Willingness

Post by Steven F » Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:15 pm

I have a question to that, if I may... did this stuff not pop up in your evening review?

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