Young and Sponsoring

For the younger AA generation, some experience, strength and hope.

Young and Sponsoring

Postby masteroftheory » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:34 pm

Hi I'm Mo, and I'm an alcoholic.

I got sober when I was 16 and am currently 2 years and like three months sober and life is truly amazing. Being young and in AA brings a lot of challenges and opportunities that I never would have thought I had. And I am grateful for all of them. Recently, I have had the blessing of being asked to sponsor a guy a year older than me who has been struggling with drugs.

Now, when I washed up in rehab, I didn't exactly have the "pleasure" of experimenting with many different drugs other than pot and alcohol and I also didn't use and drink for very long. But I used enough and for long enough for my addiction to get so bad that I needed immediate intervention and to get some help. The guy I am sponsoring has a lot more experience than me in terms of drinking and using, but I don't let that factor in to the way I approach his drinking problem. However, trying to convey to him why "just smoking pot" wont be a good idea is difficult because my main course is just his appetizers of drug choice. This is technically my first sponsee and I have heard horror stories of sponsees dying, so I am scared shitless that this guy is going to get high again and may eventually go off the deep end.

I know that my alcoholic mind likes to catastrophize things and that regardless of what happens, I can't control his using and if he does die it wasn't of my doing. But I would still like some experience strength and hope from my fellow internet users (see what I did there) on sponsoring young people and being young yourself. If you aren't young, your suggestions are still greatly appreciated!
"There are no good of bad choices. There are just the ones you are willing to live with." - Anonymous
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:10 pm

Hi Mo,

Your responsibility is to carry this message... the recovery message outlined by the Steps. To this end, you're a resource for the sponsee to use - and he'll use such resources IF he really wants to get sober and is willing to do whatever it takes.

If he uses and dies, that's not your fault. It just means his relationship with his drug was still stronger than his relationship with his Higher Power.

Likewise, if he stays sober, that's not your merit. You didn't do it, you're just the messenger.
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby johnd » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:32 pm

Hi Mo, Welcome.
I'm not young but have drank, smoked pot, tried cocaine ,mescalin,speed. or whatever. My name is John I'm an alcoholic that is my real drug of choice alcohol, I've been sober over 26 years now. I understand the multi addicted personalty,but try to keep it simple. my own experience is all I can share with someone, regardless of how they came through the door. Just encourage him to attend meetings and get involved in the steps. You can also suggest NA meetings to him also.
I thought I wouldn't get involved in drug use but, as I progressed I was willing to take or try anything to get me out of my mind. I was not comfortable with me or anybody else.
Also, don't put pressure on yourself, you obviously have something going if this person asked for your help. If he talks to you about something you never experienced just be honest and tell him so, Remember you can't get anyone sober and you can't keep them sober. Just let it all happen. Talk with your sponsor if you feel you are over your head. Introduce him to your sponsor also, it helps both of you to know who you are dealing with,besides your sponsor may be able to see something that you may not.
I've worked with a few others about 6 officially, 4 are still involved with A.A. 1 found another way,and the other just isn't quite ready and willing. I had to learn that I have to leave the results to my HP. Not Easy that's for sure. Thanks for posting I wish you well and keep us posted about your experience. John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Abraham Lincoln » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:37 pm

What a sensible and concise post, Blue Moon.

It's all about ourselves -- the best thing I can do for another person is get quiet and be in a state of meditative awareness with my own feelings and thoughts about that relationship. Are my feelings and thoughts in interactions with a person being defined by their actions and my fears about the outcome (I.e. self-seeking)? Or are they being guided by a recovery program gained from working the 12 steps?

It's hard to let go of the outcome, especially when it's a close relationship. Do you do a daily 11th step inventory to examine your day? It's a good way to gain ongoing awareness about your interactions.
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Jimmy B. » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:08 am

Hey Mo, thanks for joining the forums. It's cool seeing another sober youngster around these parts. :)
My AA Birthday: December 6th 2011

Still taking things One Day at a Time.
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby masteroftheory » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:51 am

Abraham Lincoln wrote:What a sensible and concise post, Blue Moon.

It's all about ourselves -- the best thing I can do for another person is get quiet and be in a state of meditative awareness with my own feelings and thoughts about that relationship. Are my feelings and thoughts in interactions with a person being defined by their actions and my fears about the outcome (I.e. self-seeking)? Or are they being guided by a recovery program gained from working the 12 steps?

It's hard to let go of the outcome, especially when it's a close relationship. Do you do a daily 11th step inventory to examine your day? It's a good way to gain ongoing awareness about your interactions.



Hi honest abe. Yes, my spirituality is a big part of my daily routine and I find myself praying and meditating more often when in his his company lol but I do understand and try my best to let go and let god. As one member mentioned, i cant get them drunkand i cant get them sober either. I can just carry the message. And if he is serious about sobriety, he will get it eventually. Thank you for your comments and ill be sure to update you all.
"There are no good of bad choices. There are just the ones you are willing to live with." - Anonymous
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Tommy-S » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:39 pm

Welcome Mo,

As was said, we carry the message, not the Alcoholic, and often they help me more than I help them.

If, as said, the problem is Drugs,the fellow might do better in NA than AA. This is Life & Death, and I am not so AA that I would keep someone from getting the help they need elsewhere. Not having similar experiences with someone is Not mandatory, but thinking I can get 'everyone' to fit AA could be to deprive them of a chance to recover.

I also make sure I have a sponsor, especially when I sponsor someone. It's my back up for situations like this one.

Congrats on the 2 years of one ay at a time. Keep stacking up those 24 hours.

Thanks....Tommy
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby PaigeB » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:54 pm

I am not young if you ask my body, but I still think I am 21 and love to hang out with folks younger than me! I am sponsoring a gal who is 23 and she has 2 gals that got sober around the same time a her. She has not stayed sober the whole time, but seems to be the one who gets them all together to go to a meeting cause she is the one who calls. By default, I seem so sort of sponsor the other two for immediate questions... like drugs and like socializing with people their age.

Here is the deal for me though... it is not what I know. I can only pass on what my sponsor told me. I can maybe add an intuitive thought or my actual experience. I don't know anything except that if I ran out of beer I would likely do any substance around me to change the way I felt and thought. And I have come to know that alcohol was but a symptom of my disease. Still, alcohol is definitely my drug of choice... If there was a 1 time choice: do you want theses pills, this baggie, this case of beer - I would sooo go for the beer.

If any of the young gals I know were to have more than a passing issue with drugs I would suggest both programs, just as some of us also use alanon or another 12 Step program. It is not a fault - no better than or worse than - just a desperate desire to get well. In desperation, some go on the marijuana maintenance program... some change their sobriety date, others don't. I would let my sponsee choose.

The answer lies in the 12 Steps. I guess it depends on where one seems to fit in as far as fellowship and understanding, but the Steps are the answer no matter what the drug of choice is.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby masteroftheory » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:38 am

Tommy_S wrote:Welcome Mo,

As was said, we carry the message, not the Alcoholic, and often they help me more than I help them.

If, as said, the problem is Drugs,the fellow might do better in NA than AA. This is Life & Death, and I am not so AA that I would keep someone from getting the help they need elsewhere. Not having similar experiences with someone is Not mandatory, but thinking I can get 'everyone' to fit AA could be to deprive them of a chance to recover.

I also make sure I have a sponsor, especially when I sponsor someone. It's my back up for situations like this one.

Congrats on the 2 years of one ay at a time. Keep stacking up those 24 hours.

Thanks....Tommy



Yeah, he is actually working NA. Its the program I started out in and I am still very close with my sponsor from that program. The only reasons I switched was because I wanted to see how the other fellowship worked and I figured if I could stay clean in NA, then I could stay sober in AA. I mean, we work the same steps dont we? All an alcoholic is an addict to alcohol. (Plus I have seen from experience that AA is a tad more strict. Idk, am I alone in that feeling?)
"There are no good of bad choices. There are just the ones you are willing to live with." - Anonymous
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Db1105 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:21 am

As everyone has said, I can only carry the message, not the drunk. I got sober in my teens back when Jimmy Carter was president. Drank every day, smoked pot every day, shot up meth whenever I could get it and did any other drug I could get my hands on. Trying to control usage by just smoking pot was a failure. You just can smoke pot without a beer can you? Alcohol, I just had no will power over.

I got sober using both AA and NA. I stopped NA when I went off to college and didn't have time for both. I've stuck with just AA for a long time now and just identify myself as an alcoholic. for myself, i cannot use any mood altering or mind changingbsubstances. I tell those I sponsored the same thing. If you use, you'll eventually drink again.

Keep up the good work. The Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous has given me the oppurtunity to live with the disease of alcoholism without the horrors that the drinking part brings with it. Not drinking hasn't kept me from doing anything I've wanted to. It's been a great ride so far.
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Tommy-S » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:40 pm

Thanks, Mo... .but you got me a little confused.

You are an AA sponsoring an NA which you no longer attend? Help them find a NA sponsor... I mean sure, the Steps are relatively the same, but thats like me sponsoring an OA...and they even use the AA Big Book (recently have created their own). It's just not something I would do.

And it's always been my understanding that Clean included Sober... I believe the NA Clarity Statement suggests people refrain from using the term "Clean AND Sober" due to the implication (for NA) that there is two separate illnesses.

I respect for Jimmy K as he spent a life trying to provide a way out for addicts with the creation of NA, which included Alcohol. I took everything I could find back in my day, and tried both fellowships at the beginning... I even had one of the First Edition number NA Basic Texts, but finally found myself a home in AA and adapted to fit it, rather than changing it to fit me.

And that's important. We could say that Math and Science are both classes, but I still recall getting whacked by the Nuns IF i was talking Math when it was Science time...And because of their 'singleness of purpose in class', I graduated Every class I took.

IF I cannot make the identification with the sponsee as you were saying when you originally posted, then he may be better off with someone &/or someplace else. Exaggerating what I did to cover what I didn't do, or trying to "Make Fit" what doesn't or shouldn't, could keep someone from getting the help they need...

Maybe this fellow needs a Science Teacher in Science class, or a Math teacher in Math class, rather than a Math Teacher in Science class (or vice versa) to make it?... It could be the difference between Life or Death for him.

Bottom line, trying to help someone else keeps me Sober, but I got to be sure I am Helping, and not hurting (or keep them from the kind of help they need). Thanks for the responses :)

Tommy
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Abraham Lincoln » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:18 am

An AA/NA sponsoring an NA isn't like an AA sponsoring an OA. We have problems with mind and mood altering substances, of which alcohol is one. Food didn't bring us to our knees, nor did sex, alcoholic family members, or the like. A person's substance of choice makes no difference in working the 12 steps in AA. It only makes a difference if the person working the steps can't relate to the person taking them through the steps.

I might not have much success working the 12 steps with a pure alanon, a pure OA, SA, etc. But I might have a lot of success, too, if I could relate to that person. As we've seen from the various programs springing up, the compulsive behavior is a symptom of the thinking which the 12 steps addresses.

The really pertinent issues seem to be: whether you and your sponsee can relate to each other (you've already said you can), and the material you used to work the 12 steps. As long as your sponsee is comfortable working them the same way you've worked them (I.e. if you did them out of AA material you oughta do 'em the way you've been taken through them yourself -- he'd have to be comfortable with the way of working steps you know), then there doesn't seem to be any practical problem with it.

NA and AA are entirely interchangeable in my area due to NA's tendency toward dysfunction here. If they can function well together here, why not anywhere else?
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby ann2 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:45 am

Hmm, in answer i would refer to Tradition 4. What works in one group definitely may not be welcome somewhere else. You'veheard od the resentment and the coffee pot?

Ann
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:16 am

Traditions? We don't need no stinking traditions... ((Ann))

Abe, Food has been proved to alter Mind & Mood, as does Sex according to those I know in both of those programs, so let's stick with Experience and Not opinion, OK?

AA is Not Anything Anonymous.
That's a treatment center belief put out by a multi-million dollar 'one-size fits-all' industry that resulted from changin in Federal Laws & funding when the government group the departments of Drug Addiction, alcoholism, and Mental Health into one entity, some of which is here:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10338

Or as Clancy put it, something put out by a center that had only one bus to take patients to meetings. Regardless, AA is Not rehab, its "We Have"... Do what we do, get what we got.

This 'Math & Science are both classes" debate I been hearings for years always raises the same question:

"IF NA is for All addictions, and believe Alcohol is 'just another addictive chemical", what is it that those people are failing to do in NA that creates this 'I Need' AA also?"

There's already several discussions on this, AND so as to Not highjack Mo's topic here, here's one of the more recent threads on the "AA/NA =Same" line of thought
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=9026

Thanks... Tommy
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Re: Young and Sponsoring

Postby Abraham Lincoln » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:37 pm

My experience has been that AA and NA work extremely well in tandem. If you disagree, that's fine.
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