What do you guys think of this?

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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What do you guys think of this?

Post by Tosh » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:00 pm

Hi all,

I've a sponsee that is religious, he attends regular Bible classes, which I think is great. But his Minister wishes to speak with me regarding his Step 5, which also isn't a problem.

But this is complex. My sponsee's wife (whose kicked him out) has went through the 12 Steps with another minister whose a member of our fellowship, because she was self-harming (she's NOT an alcoholic).

Now this is where it gets weirder; it seems the Minister who is my sponsee's Bible class teacher seems to have some sort of resentment against A.A. because of some politics between him and the alcoholic Minister and also regarding with how the situation has ended up with my sponsee being asked to leave the family home. It kinda sounds like my sponsee's Minister is blaming the alcoholic minister/A.A. for their marriage break up also. My sponsee talks fast, and I'm slow thinkin'; so I don't know this for certain though; and on reflection I should've clarified it. I've let my sponsee know that I have no problems at all discussing A.A. and it's program with his minister, and suggested he ask the minister to read at least Chapter 5 of the Big Book before he phones me (because I suspect I'm going to get a tough time from him).

And, if you're with me so far, my sponsee wishes to do his Step 5 with both his Minister Bible Class teacher, and myself, together at the same time. He feels it's important to do it with his Minister, since he's going to be his religious guide for a 'long time'. After a bit of thought, I said my initial feelings were that he should do it with his minister alone (I know God is there also), but also do a short version for me, so I can hold him accountable for his amends, and so that when he sponsors, he can share he's done a Step 5 with another alcoholic; kinda leading by example; and I shared my experience of my sponsor prodding me along with doing my amends.

I also did Steps 5, 6, 7, (my sponsor wrote my step 8 as I shared), and discussed Step 9, all in one sitting; taking the hour reflection time after my Step 5. It also kinda worries me that they won't follow what I consider to be the correct recipe, which I know works.

I said I'd run the situation through my sponsor, which he's fine about, but what do you guys think?
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: What do you guys think of this?

Post by happycamper » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:58 pm

Gosh, I dunno Ken, this seems so complicated to me.

Is there any possible way to just keep it simple?
Faith without works is dead

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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by avaneesh912 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Tosh, You may hear what the Minister has to say. After the conversion if you don't feel comfortable sitting together for the 5th, you can tell the sponsee that he can do the fifth with the Minister and later with you if he wishes to on an individual basis. If that does not work out, I would say, you simply let go of this guy. Look for some other person whom you can help within the fellowship. Its not worth it.
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: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Tosh » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:09 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Tosh, You may hear what the Minister has to say. After the conversion if you don't feel comfortable sitting together for the 5th, you can tell the sponsee that he can do the fifth with the Minister and later with you if he wishes to on an individual basis. If that does not work out, I would say, you simply let go of this guy. Look for some other person whom you can help within the fellowship. Its not worth it.
I don't want to let go of this guy; he's great potential sponsorship material, and we're short of effective Big Book sponsors in my area. We need him. I also have no problems sitting in at the fifth step with the Minister, but I suspect one-to-one is more effective, rather than an audience; and this guy knows he needs to grow, he wants to grow, and he sees this Minister as an integral part of learning how to do that; which I think is great. His motivation is there and if it's best for him to do two fifth steps, he'd do it. He's willing to go to any lengths.

My sponsor arrived back in the UK yesterday; I'll give him a ring tomorrow and run it through him also.

Thanks. Sometimes just typing this stuff out helps to clarify a situation.
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: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Frankie » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:05 am

Big Book pg. 74
Rightly and naturally, we think well before we choose the person or persons with whom to take this intimate and confidential step. Those of us belonging to a religious denomination which requires confession must, and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed authority whose duty it is to receive it. Though we have no religious connection, we may still do well to talk with someone ordained by an established religion. We often find such a person quick to see and understand our problem. Of course, we sometimes encounter people who do not understand alcoholics.
Good Morning Tosh

Around here, I have to be careful not to take every thing my sponsee's say as fact. Their thinking, as mine can sometimes still be, is muddy, cloudy, foggy = complicated, oh! and let's not forget (self) induced. It may be his truth, but sometimes not the whole truth. The minister may, truly, just want to know the process of the 5th Step. I would suggest, if you want, to get a few pamphlets and a copy of the Big Book and offer to meet with him in person, (if he calls). I also suggest leaving out all the other info (pre-judging) if you meet and trust God.

This sounds way to complicated. (We try to keep things Simple) I also understand about not being the one to hear their 5th Step, but it is theirs, we are just guides and his God will help him with his accountability and will give you what you need to guide. If sharing with his minister and holding himself accountable doesn't work, he'll stay drunk.

Here's somethings I've learned in my adventures sponsoring so far. Each sponsee has not taken the Steps exactly the way I did, but it was by the Big Book and this has lead to me not being able to deliver the way my Spnosor did. :) Like I could ever duplicate that experience. :D Today I do my best to let my Higher Power guide me in working with others. And one of the biggest for me things for me today is I'm supposed to be learning and growing too.

Thanks for sharing, made me go back to some conversations I've had with a few sponsees. :wink:

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Tosh
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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Tosh » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:51 am

Thanks, Frankie; I read your post and it was good advice; I think it roughly translates as 'letting go'. Yeh; spot on.

I do understand the reasons why Bill didn't overtly write about sponsorship regarding hearing a Step 5 in the Big Book; the fellowship didn't exist in the form it does today when he wrote the book and I think the reason why I'm 'holding on' is that in my area not many people have went through the steps, not many people sponsor in a manner where they actively take people through the steps - in fact there's a bunch of long timers who're positively anti-steps - and in this guy I see someone who will make a good, strong sponsor.

And your point about each sponsee not taking the steps in exactly the way you did it is spot on. Each sponsee is different; it's a real pain! :lol:

Thank you.
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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Duke
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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Duke » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:28 am

I've had several sponsees take their fifth step with someone else. It seemed to work out okay. I've never had one ask me to hear it with someone else. I'd be reluctant to do so unless I was very comfortable with the dynamics.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Sally » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:36 am

i was taught early on that the only thing we all do exactly the same is not
take that first drink- there are no right or wrong ways to do a 5th-
if your sponsee is set on the idea of doing it with both of you-
humor him- if that keeps him coming back- after he has been here
longer- he'll develop his own ideas of how to do 5th steps-.
i have never met a recovering person- who has what i want-
(important qualifier there)- who doesn't keep right on doing the steps-
no finishing- those who do are usually pretty unhappy nasty people-
dry or not. just my experience.
Sally

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Karl R
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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Karl R » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:50 am

I was unaware that it was our responsibility, as sponsors, to decide and manage who is to hear a sponsee's fifth step. So far as I am aware my responsibility as a sponsor is to make sure that the sponsee is aware of and understands the description of potentials that starts with the last sentence on page 73 and includes the first two paragraphs on page 74.

What the sponsee decides to do with that information is up to them. :-)

peace out,
Karl

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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by leejosepho » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:21 am

Karl R wrote:I was unaware that it was our responsibility, as sponsors, to decide and manage who is to hear a sponsee's fifth step ...
Certainly not. Our job is only to share what has worked for us at the personal level.

I have had your kind of dilemma, Tosh, and I have known some ministers who understand our Steps, and I have known some who do not. If I were you, I would just be sure the sponsee knows of the actual experience shared in our book and then keep all discussion with him or her focused on that even if s/he might go elsewhere for Step Five. Some people use religion to avoid A.A., but then some just still think "religion" has some kind of final authority or "special effect" on spiritual matters. In the end, however, we have been "called", so to speak, to do what we do as sponsors for a completely different reason:
Hearing "God" as the speaker here ...

"You are not selected because of exceptional talents, and be careful always, if success attends your efforts not to ascribe to personal superiority that to which you can lay claim only by virtue of my gift. If I had wanted learned men to accomplish this mission, the power would have been entrusted to the physician and scientist. If I had wanted eloquent men, there would have been many anxious for the assignment, for talk is the easiest used of all talents with which I have endowed mankind. If I had wanted scholarly men, the world is filled with better-qualified men than you who would be available. You were selected because you have been the outcasts of the world and your long experience as drunkards has made or should make you humbly alert to the cries of distress that come from the lonely hearts of alcoholics everywhere."
We might be the experts on permanent recovery from chronic alcoholism, but that just happened to come with the territory!
=======================
"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: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Layne » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:42 am

so I can hold him accountable for his amends
Whenever I start to have similar thoughts, I need to be careful because Iam proceeding into dangerous territory. It is usually best that I pause and do an honest inventory. Afterwards, I generally find that I need to reassess my status in the grand scheme of things.

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Tosh
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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Tosh » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:30 am

Layne wrote:
so I can hold him accountable for his amends
Whenever I start to have similar thoughts, I need to be careful because Iam proceeding into dangerous territory. It is usually best that I pause and do an honest inventory. Afterwards, I generally find that I need to reassess my status in the grand scheme of things.
My sponsor holds me accountable for my amends in the sense that he has 'chivvied me along' into making them; it's helped me overcome my procrastination, and I thank him for it.

He's never used a big stick, he'll just casually suggest we meet up for some food and I can give him an update on how my amends have been going. He'll set a date, say, two weeks into the future.

I'll say, "Fine, no problems", hang up, and then go and make some amends. :oops:

I mean you can't turn up to see your sponsor, when he's cooked for you, and say, "Er, well, I er, haven't made any progress!" can you?

My sponsor did me a service doing this.

I think you have spiritual permission to do this when you're asked to be someone's sponsor; and holding anyone accountable for anything isn't fun, and it takes some moral courage to be able to do that. Sometimes I'd rather not.
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: What do you guys think of this?

Post by PaigeB » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:21 am

My sponsor gave me some feedback & encouragement during my 5th Step that was priceless.

Someone with a resentment, even a Minister, might not be able to bring a neutral position to this 5th Step. I would have my sponsee do their 5th with the spiritual guide and then again with me. Of course I am completely confident that the 5th Step - done with another AA, especially a sponsor - is the best way to work this program because that is the way I did it and so far so good!

Also, I would worry that 2 people hearing a 5th might have conflicting feedback, perhaps leading to an argument between the listeners thus confusing the sponsee!

My sponsor holds me accountable for things in my 5th Step, some directly related to the danger of the first drink. I can't imagine saying a 5th and letting all that info blow away in the wind & hope for the best. I am a drunk that needs to have a lot of reinforcement.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Blue Moon » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:30 pm

No, no and ... er .... no.

If your sponsee wants to do confession with his religious minister, that's a totally different exercise to doing a 5th Step in AA recovery.

Especially if that other person is not entirely sympathetic to the AA cause. Your focus needs to be on your sponsee's bullshit, not his minister's. An AA member should not be doing Step 5 with anyone who seems even remotely prejudiced vs AA.

Of course, there's nothing to stop him doing his 5th Step with whomever he chooses ... however, in such a case, he needs to clearly understand the process and objectives involved.

I would invite the minister to attend Open AA meetings or discuss the recovery process in general terms. But I would never have a 3rd party involved in a 5th Step, and the only time I've discussed a sponsee's specifics was in very general terms with an FAA doctor as part of a flight-pilot relicensing program (basically, "would you put your kids on a flight with <sponsee> as the pilot?").
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Tosh
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Re: What do you guys think of this?

Post by Tosh » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:58 am

Right, had a chat with my sponsor this morning; he says that I've got to remember that I'm taking this guy through the steps, not vice versa! He suggests that I explain to my sponsee that he does a full fifth step with me, and if he wishes, he can do it again with his minister. He may have said something along the lines of if he does it with his Minister, it maybe no more than a 'mere' confession, particularly if this guy has got a resentment against A.A.. I'm not very good at relating conversations!

He also suggested I try to invite the minister to an open meeting, which I think is a good idea.

Anyway, thanks guys, I may put a post up to finish this off, at some date in the future, just to say how it all pans out.
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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