Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

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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Tosh
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Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Tosh » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:43 pm

Hi guys, just a question here that I'd like to hear your thoughts on, and that's the speed of progression that you take your sponsees through the steps.

My own experience is that I met my sponsor for a formal Big Book sit down, once every-two-weeks, and we did it like this, with two week intervals inbetween:

1st meeting: A.A. History; including the Preface and Four Forewords.

then two weeks later:

2nd meeting: Bill''s Story

then two weeks later:

3rd meeting: There is a Solution.

then two weeks later:

4th meeting: More about alcoholism

then two weeks later:

5th meeting: We Agnostics

then two weeks later:

6th meeting: How it works - and as we read through it, we followed the actions, so when we got to the Step 3 prayer, we did the Step 3 prayer, then a little bit more reading and then he showed me how to do my inventories.

I was given three months to do them for my Step 5, and we did Steps 5, 6, 7, (one hour reflections) and discussed Step 9 (my sponsor wrote my Step 8 list while I shared my step 5).

So, you get the idea of how I was taken through the Steps, and it's pretty much how I take people through the Steps. My sponsor has long term sobriety, sponsors a lot of guys (I don't know how many, but he's always churning them out), and he runs 12 Step workshops. He knows his stuff and he's a Big Book guy.

I think some of his ethos is that during the time he takes me through the steps, we meet up once-per-week at a meeting, and I phone him twice per week. He says it's important that we build a relationship, so that when it came to my Step 5, it would be easier and more comfortable for me to talk to him about it (it was). Also, part of the deal was that I go to at least three-meetings per week. So, I think he doesn't rush people through the steps, so that they have time to build a relationship with him, which makes it easier for his sponsees to be honest, and also for A.A. and the internal change to take place during the process of doing the steps.

However, when I get a guy whose sobriety is very fragile, like the one I'm working with now; who desperately wants to get sober, yet relapses for three-to-five day periods, every two weeks(ish), I think if I maybe took him through the Steps at a faster rate of knots, it would help him. And maybe we could - at a later date - go back through the work in more detail when he's gotten some relief from making an inventory, discussing it, and making some amends?

I haven't discussed this with my sponsor; he's on holiday right now (in the middle of nowhere with no mobile signal); but I will, but I'd also love you hear your views on the speed of progression through the steps with sponsees. For example do you tailor the speed in accordance with the capabilities of the sponsee; if so why and what if any difference does it seem to make?

Cheers, and apologies for my long-winded post.
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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Tosh
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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Tosh » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:53 pm

Guys, please don't reply to this post.

I typed it while tired, and I'm sure I could do a better - more concise - post that'd be easier to understand when I'm rested.

Could a mod please remove it for me?

Thanks.
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: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by happycamper » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:01 pm

Im a Mod, but I like your post and I dont necessarily want to remove it, lol. Sorry.

I have heard so many things on working the steps guided by a sponsor.
One gal said in a meeting that her sponsor said they would do 1 step a year , which I totally disagree with.

I am all for what your sponsor does and uses the book.

My sponsor ( may she RIP ) guided me on a schedule of about a step a month, altho I finished initially before the 12 months was up, somewhere around 8-9 months. We were internet friends ( sponsor/sponsee), so sometimes getting togething and hooking up via the internet or phone was tuff somedays.

My last sponsee and I worked the steps in about 6 months. She was ready, willing and able and it worked.

I have heard of ppl who take new comers thru them in a matter of a few weeks too.

I can share that my own sponsor Mary has always told me to use the book ( chapter 7 ) and to never, ever forget to pray for Gods help when Im helping another. She would say that if Im spiritually fit that I would get the answers I needed in order to properly help another.

I think yoru post is fine Ken and if you still want it deleted, then I'll check back later ...
Thanks for the topic and sharing, it is an important one.
Faith without works is dead

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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Lali » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:15 am

Tosh, why don't you just go to "Edit" and erase everything you typed? lol


My sponsor and I met once a week for 1 1/2 hours until we got through all of the steps. That speed was comfortable for me.

I believe that doing all 12 in several weeks is too fast. How can one comprehend all that in a short amount of time?

One step a month? IMO thats a bit slow. The newcomer needs all of the information contained in the Big Book a little sooner than this. The sooner we work the step, the sooner we live the step.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:19 am

Tosh,
Its not going to hurt. Perhaps doing the steps quickly, if he is honest, probably result in the spiritual awakening quicker. There is a story at the back of the book "He sold himself short'. Many alcoholics would visit this character but not tell him what they did to recover, all they would say is life is good. But about 2 weeks later Dr. Bob walks into his room and walks him thru the program in 3 to 4 hours and also helps him with his amends process. I believe the next day he goes to Chicago to start AA there. He does get drunk 8 months later due to resentment toward his wife but then he already knows what needs to be done so he goes back to Akron and fixes himself.

I try to get the folks into inventory writing in about 2 to 3 weeks, usually what happens is, they fade away or move to other sponsors. But thats fine with me.
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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Tosh
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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Tosh » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:49 am

Thanks, I think what I was trying to ask was this:

Most of my sponsees (not that there's that many - hence my inexperience) who've stayed the course and completed the 12 Steps all had periods of sobriety before I took them through the 12 Steps; apart from one who had three months sober, then relapsed, then asked me to sponsor him. With these guys, we did a chapter a fortnight until we reached Chapter 5, then we did the first three steps (a, b, and c points), the Step 3 prayer, and straight onto how to do an inventory. We go through the Big Book, almost like an academic course - very structured - just like the way my sponsor sponsored me through the steps, and when we get to Chapter 5, we do the actions as we reach each instruction.

But with this guy, he gets about a fortnight sober, then relapses for a few days, repeat. He's 25 years old, doesn't work (hasn't worked in three years), and has the time to do the work; no family, no nothing - so I reckon if I took him through a little quicker, maybe that would give him enough relief to be able to stay sober long enough to go through the program again in more depth.

Anyway, thanks Nari, I'll make sure I stress the honesty part - though I tend to do that anyway, since I wasn't honest on my first Step 4 and 5 and missed the important stuff off; so I just share my own experience around the honesty area, and I do a mini Step 5 of my own Step 4 of my worst in stock, with each sponsee when I get them to the Step 4 stage (just how my sponsor did with me).

I'd love to hear more views though.

Thanks.
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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Karl R
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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Karl R » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:01 am

relief
Yes Ken, sometimes it seems it's a bit of a race between the mental obsession and some relief from the program doesn't it?

My take-----if he's got the time, been beaten badly enough to be willing to do the work, is capable of some level of honesty, and is open to new ideas. And...if you've got the time, and the willingness.....why not try to show him how to place himself in a neutral position in regards to alcohol (aka relief).

Why not ask him? See if it's something he wants to try?

Reminds me of one of those sayings that is not in the Book. Newcomer: When do I take the steps? Sponsor: When you want to get well.

regards,
Karl

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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by leejosepho » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:53 am

I typically just help people into the next Step after they have completed the previous one.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Tosh » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:03 am

Karl R wrote: Why not ask him? See if it's something he wants to try?
I'll explain what some of the issues are around the speed of progression and ask him if he wishes to try it this evening. I meet up with him in about half an hour.

Thanks.
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: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Lali » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:38 pm

It couldn't hurt, could it?
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Tosh » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:54 am

I had a chat with him last night, he's willing, and he seems to have the right attitude. He's had a real beating by his alcoholism (and he's only 25); so we're going to get stuck in and do this thing quickly. There's other issues, such as he's almost completely illiterate, which doesn't help - he's been diagnosed as severely dyslexic but he's got the Big Book and Joe and Charlie on mp3, and he's been listening and re-listening to the various parts, trying his best to follow it in the Big Book he's got.

We're meeting up for a few hours tomorrow, so I'll do a Chapter-per-week, instead of a chapter-per-fortnight, till we get to the action part in Chap 5, and then we'll just follow the directions from the Big Book.

I'm not sure how a Step 4 is going to work since he seriously can't read or write; but maybe that's another post. :mrgreen:
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: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Lali » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:27 am

It shouldn't be a problem that he is illiterate. I read a long time ago when I was in school that one of the best ways to retain information is to hear it read out loud as opposed to reading it to yourself. Good luck.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by leejosepho » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:08 am

Tosh wrote:... he's willing, and he seems to have the right attitude ... almost completely illiterate ... diagnosed as severely dyslexic ...
What you have there is someone who will get over his drinking by simply joining in with other people already living in right spiritual fellowship and miming them. Even if for different reasons, many last-gaspers are like that. I know people who have been sober for many years and still do not have any intellectual comprehension of what has made the difference in their lives ... and that is what you are facing here. For him, there will possibly never be much of anything gained by reading the book and/or trying to do academic stuff. Rather, you will need to just take his hand and lead him on along the actual path.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by Tosh » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:45 am

leejosepho wrote:
Tosh wrote:... he's willing, and he seems to have the right attitude ... almost completely illiterate ... diagnosed as severely dyslexic ...
What you have there is someone who will get over his drinking by simply joining in with other people already living in right spiritual fellowship and miming them. Even if for different reasons, many last-gaspers are like that. I know people who have been sober for many years and still do not have any intellectual comprehension of what has made the difference in their lives ... and that is what you are facing here. For him, there will possibly never be much of anything gained by reading the book and/or trying to do academic stuff. Rather, you will need to just take his hand and lead him on along the actual path.
Well, I don't know really, but the guy is dyslexic; not brain damaged. There's many successful business types who're dyslexic, Richard Branson springs to mind; I'll not prejudge anything and try to serve this bloke the best I can.
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: Varying the speed of progression through the steps....

Post by leejosepho » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:16 am

Tosh wrote:... the guy is dyslexic; not brain damaged.
I had not meant to suggest that. Rather, his illiteracy is going to make "book work" virtually impossible, and that means he will have to be shown ...

"Show him, from your own experience, how the queer mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power. Don't, at this stage, refer to this book, unless he has seen it and wishes to discuss it." (page 92)
"... lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you." (page 95)

Like my first sponsor used to say, "You might be the only Big Book he ever reads."
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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