How do your family relate to your sponsees?

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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How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Tosh » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:35 am

My partner is shy and nervous around 'strangers' and she really doesn't like new sponsees coming to our house; though once she meets them, she's generally okay about it; and a few guys - the ones who've had a severe kicking by their alcoholism - she's just wanted to 'Mother' and feed them. But recently I've been 'swamped' with new guys (well 'four' is swamped by my standards) and this morning she got quite upset about it, complaining about "having strangers just coming to the house all the time".

And it's not like she has to spend any time with them. They arrive, out of politeness my partner will say 'Hello' and pass some pleasantries - my sponsees normally look a bit sheepish at first, just like I was a bit sheepish around my Sponsor's wife - I make tea/coffee and then we go and find some privacy in the dining room; alone and away from my family; even the dog.

I've said that I'd try to arrange it so that they come when she's out (she's a serious runner and does a lot of stuff with her local running club; and I spend a lot of time supporting her in her sport (me and the dog are her support team)). But it still doesn't negate the fact that she feels awkward around new guys.

I'm feeling a bit like I'm between a rock 'n' a hard place. I've got guys I want to pass this thing onto, but I also don't want to upset my partner. She's having a tough time recently with her PMS linked depression; so maybe this is part of it; but if you guys have any experience with this sort of thing, that'd be great.

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: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Karl R » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:55 am

Hello,

There's a story....I forget the specifics....about Lois W screaming and pitching a fit at Bill and even breaking dishes because Bill had drunks scattered all around the house at all hours of the day and night. Maybe someone else remembers the story.

I was blessed with being a commuter husband for all of my sobriety (so far). The wife and I maintain two residences so the physical presence of sponsees or friends from the program was not much of an issue between us. The phone calls however eventually required that I take a look at where I was being selfish in relation to my family obligations vs. sponsor/12 step obligations. Mrs. R. and I talked and negotiated. Not an easy thing for me. I learned to be "actually present" with her when I was with her.

Another thought? I often set up time with sponsees in a quiet corner of the local community college, or a quiet corner of a local library where they have privacy study rooms. I even use a local donut shop very early in the morning. For my first meeting with a sponsee I usually set it up for 5:15AM at the local donut shop. If they show up they're serious about doing this thing. If they sleep through the appointment.....welllllll....who knows.

Ive worked to develop a fellowship of friends in the program whom I can pass off gentlemen to when my life balance is questionable. And they do the same for me when they are fully occupied. It's all one of those questions of balance we all struggle with.

Take your wife's reactions as an early warning sign. Our partners do usually give us a bit of an early warning radar read don't they? I didn't and came to regret it. All good now though.

regards,
Karl

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leejosepho
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:44 am

Karl R wrote:There's a story....I forget the specifics....about Lois W screaming and pitching a fit at Bill and even breaking dishes because Bill had drunks scattered all around the house at all hours of the day and night. Maybe someone else remembers the story.
Your recollection seems accurate, and things were much different at Dr. Bob's house where his wife was typically the leader of the group's morning readings, devotions and meditations or whatever.

I once found a guy "feeling my wife up" while we were driving him to detox, and I once told another guy to go right back on home and apologize to his wife after she had become angry over a selfish wrong he had committed and then kicked him out in the middle of the night.

There is not always an easy answer here, but "we must be hard on ourself (and) always considerate of others" (page 74) is a principle I find helpful.
=======================
"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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Tosh
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Tosh » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:58 am

Hey, thanks, guys, there's some good ideas there, especially about finding a quiet place away from the home. I know a place, if I can get permission to use it, at our local hospital where we have our Tuesday night meeting. I'm friendly with all the security guards (especially one whom I suspect could use our services :mrgreen: ), so I'll investigate this possibility further.

And since I posted this, my partner apologised and just said that she had been having a bad day, however, I will still take it as a warning.

And Lois was certainly a tolerant lady, one for whom I feel grateful for. I'm also aware that my sponsor's wife must be tolerant too; my sponsor sponsor's a lot of guys, but his wife is a nurse and he plans home meetings for when she's at work in the evenings. But still, she's there as we arrive, before she departs; and she's lovely. I always give her the bottles of wine I get given from my work customers as tips at Christmas.
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: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Tosh » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:59 am

Karl R wrote: For my first meeting with a sponsee I usually set it up for 5:15AM at the local donut shop.
Oh, man, that's tough going! :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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leejosepho
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by leejosepho » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:12 am

Tosh wrote:Lois was certainly a tolerant lady, one for whom I feel grateful for. I'm also aware that my sponsor's wife must be tolerant too ...
I always give her the bottles of wine I get given from my work customers as tips at Christmas.
Nice move! :wink:
=======================
"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)
=======================

RustyS
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by RustyS » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:58 am

Tosh wrote:I always give her the bottles of wine I get given from my work customers as tips at Christmas.
Wow. You're strong. I look forward to when I'll be that strong. I gotta have faith and keep working the program.

When I read that sentence you wrote I felt my stomach turn, lol.

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Karl R
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Karl R » Sat Oct 29, 2011 6:52 am

Oh, man, that's tough going! :mrgreen:
But I do buy them loads of coffee and donuts if they do suit up and show up. :-)

regards,
Karl

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Tosh
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Tosh » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:18 am

RustyS wrote:
Tosh wrote:I always give her the bottles of wine I get given from my work customers as tips at Christmas.
Wow. You're strong. I look forward to when I'll be that strong. I gotta have faith and keep working the program.

When I read that sentence you wrote I felt my stomach turn, lol.
Rusty, the program works; but many of my customers don't know I don't drink, so at Christmas I get bottles of red wine and port. My parter likes the port, so I give her that, but she doesn't like red wine, so I give that to my sponsor's wife.

Serious; alcohol is something that's for other people now. And I'm not strong; will power only ever got me so far and then I'd snap and drink. I doubt you use will power to avoid spraying perfume on yourself, and in the same way, I don't use will power to not drink. I just don't feel the need to drink any more - the obsession to drink has been removed - and you will be the same too; by Step 9 at the latest, if you're fearlessly honest and thorough.

We've still got booze in the house from last year, which is amazing since the life expectancy for any alcohol in my house used to be no more than a few hours. I've even drank mouthwash, aftershave, and the worst of all, aadvocat (the yellow drink people mix with lemonade to make a snowball) in a tight spot. :mrgreen:

So it may feel like you're having to tough it out now, using will power not to drink, and that's normal, and it takes real grit in the early days; but as you progress through the program, one day you will notice that you've been feeling comfortable, and you'll get this thought, "Hey, I haven't thought about drinking today...", and you'll be like "Wahoooooo, this S*** really works!". I loved that feeling when I realised the monkey was off my back.

Trust me and get stuck in.
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: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by leejosepho » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:35 am

Yes. I have heard stories about people foolishly keeping bottles setting around in order to then be able to make a big deal out of proving to themselves and/or to others that they no longer drink, but we are talking about something entirely different here:

"We are careful never to show intolerance or hatred of drinking as an institution. Experience shows that such an attitude is not helpful to anyone. Every new alcoholic looks for this spirit among us and is immensely relieved when he finds we are not witch-burners. A spirit of intolerance might repel alcoholics whose lives could have been saved, had it not been for such stupidity. We would not even do the cause of temperate drinking any good, for not one drinker in a thousand likes to be told anything about alcohol by one who hates it.
"Some day we hope that Alcoholics Anonymous will help the public to a better realization of the gravity of the alcoholic problem, but we shall be of little use if our attitude is one of bitterness or hostility. Drinkers will not stand for it.
"After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol. Besides, we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to!" (page 103)

And then even along with that, and at least during the early days when medical detox was not always available ...

"Many [but certainly not all] of us keep liquor in our homes. We often need it to carry green recruits through a severe hangover. Some [but again, not all] of us still serve it to our friends provided they are not alcoholic. But some of us think we should not serve liquor to anyone. We never argue this question. We feel that each family, in the light of their own circumstances, ought to decide for themselves." (page 102)

I used to drive a truck delivering lumber, and one contractor who happened to be a rather heavy drinker used to give me a six-pack as a tip ... and the guys back at the yard thought it was really great that they could split that six-pack amongst themselves at the end of the workday since I would not be having any ... and then one day I was actually able to talk a little with that contractor about alcoholism and recovery.
=======================
"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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Tosh
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Tosh » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:35 am

I got it wrong again!

I've got a sponsee that is staying by himself at Christmas; so I've invited him to Christmas dinner. I said I'll have to run that past Mrs Tosh first, just to check that's okay with her. I was sure it would be, I couldn't imagine Mrs Tosh allowing someone to spend Christmas alone. It's only going to be Mrs Tosh, my daughter and myself anyway.

Hmmmmm. Maybe she's not having a good time at the moment with her depression, but she's certainly not happy about it. She says I should've checked with her before I asked him, and now she can't say no, otherwise she'll feel bad, but at the time when I was speaking to my sponsee, I felt like I didn't have a choice. I asked him what his plans were for Christmas and he said 'not a lot - just staying in' (he rents a room in a house),... and well you know what I did!!

It's tough innit when you've a compulsive big mouth? :?
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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leejosepho
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by leejosepho » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:07 am

Just be honest with him (without talking about your other, of course) and give him your morning or afternoon elsewhere.
=======================
"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: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by avaneesh912 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:10 am

She says I should've checked with her before I asked him, and now she can't say no, otherwise she'll feel bad, but at the time when I was speaking to my sponsee, I felt like I didn't have a choice.

I can't entertain even a normie without consulting her. LOL, let alone an alkie. I keep AA out of my family.
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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Karl R
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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by Karl R » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:32 am

She says I should've checked with her before I asked him, and now she can't say no, otherwise she'll feel bad,
Understandable. She probably lost a lot of your "presence" in holidays past. And has certain expectations/feelings about that.

Just be grateful that your HP keeps giving you opportunities to continue practicing 10. That's the deal. We grow in effectiveness.

Just this morning my wife called me from 185 miles away at the other home and informed me in an agitated tone that her truck wouldn't back out of the driveway. I listened for a long while to the "concerns" she expressed. (that's a new thing for me)....then quietly and gently as possible said "did you take the e-brake off?".....Away she went. I'm sure there's more to be heard on the subject. It's part of the learning curve. Love it. The HP keeps sending me these wonderful opportunities for growth.

It will be right Ken....

regards,
Karl

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Re: How do your family relate to your sponsees?

Post by ann2 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:21 am

Hi Ken,

I would do the same thing and have the same problem. I'm sorry for your sponsee. Are there any AA holiday things going on? Any Christmas homeless dinner serving opportunities you can recommend?

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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