Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

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Ida
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Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by Ida »

O.K. guys, I need some advice:

I've been approached by a woman who has had at least one slip, and has just gotten out of rehab (no judgments, I'm just giving info). The main problem I have with saying yes is that I do not have a sponsor myself. Those of you folks on this site that have talked with me now and again might remember I broke it off with my sponsor about a year ago, and I haven't gotten a new sponsor since. I told this gal who approached me that I do not have a sponsor, and some people would advise against sponsoring someone when you do not have a sponsor yourself. Then I told her to meet me soon to sit and discuss what she wants from a sponsor and if it would be a good fit, but I honestly don't know if it is a good idea or in her interest, but also a small part of me is worried about what the other few women in our fellowship will think, especially my ex-sponsor. I don't have anyone else to ask for advice because things have been tense between me and the women since I left my sponsor (real or imagined). Anyway, sorry for rambling. I'm just confused and afraid, I guess...Any advice? Anyone?

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avaneesh912
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by avaneesh912 »

Not having a sponsor is not an issue. Have you experienced the power the book talks about having worked the 12 steps with the help of another sponsor. Will you be able to guide this person through the 12 steps? If you are not confident, you are playing with the life of another person. If I were you, i will simply point this person to another person and walk away from this.
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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kjay
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by kjay »

I certainly would not choose a sponser who does not have a strong support group of his own. I know my sponsers sponser. I feel more comfortable knowing that if I put my sponser in a pinch, he has someone to go to. As Aveneesh said.. You are playing with life here. Good luck with your decision.
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Brock
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by Brock »

Avaneesh says not having a sponsor is a non issue, providing you have worked the steps with a sponsor yourself, and kjay comes down on the other side of the fence, and feels you should have a sponsor. I think this subject will generate a fair amount of replies, any discussion involving sponsorship usually does. Last time something like this came up, it started when someone said they felt that someone who never had a sponsor, should not sponsor anyone themselves, now we are just talking about not having a current sponsor. If for example with the kjay opinion as he says it’s good to even know your sponsors sponsor, so you have an additional view if needed, then those people who never had, (apart from someone to hear their 5th), any sponsor at all, are doomed to never be a sponsor themselves, I am in that group so I of course disagree. I remain silent about it, but look on in wonderment when I hear people saying they check in with questions to their sponsors, even after years of sobriety. So my opinion is that if you are on solid ground yourself, there is absolutely no reason you should not help someone else get on board, and if a question comes up and you are unsure of the answer, do the right thing and say you are unsure but will look into it, and then since you don’t have a sponsor ask the fine people on this site, you will get answers from folks who have a combined experience far in excess of any sponsor.
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PaigeB
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by PaigeB »

Around here it has been said that you should not sponsor without a sponsor yourself. BUT my opinion - and that is all it is - is that if you have worked the Steps and have a fair amount of sobriety yourself it would be okay. Sounds like she really needs someone who has been successful at this thing. If you have, then you should be ok.

Do you have a home group? Service opportunities? Those helped me a great deal when it came to a support system, but it is the 12 Steps that keeps us sober.
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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Tosh
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by Tosh »

Ida, my experience of trying to help someone through the program when I was basically sponsoring myself, wasn't good. I was fuzzy in a lot of areas, and although it kept me sober, I probably didn't do the guy I was sponsoring much good.

After that - actually during that process I did get myself a proper sponsor who took me through the steps - and I'm now confident with sponsoring; I'm not fuzzy on the program; I understand the process.

Saying that, they say if you want to get sober badly enough, then a monkey could be our sponsor!

I think my point is, I doubt anything you do will harm an alcoholic (they harm themselves) if your intentions are honest and you're kind and compassionate (which doesn't mean practising 'idiot compassion'; we carry the message, not the alcoholic - for some very good reasons), but if you're not clear on the program yourself, you may harm yourself if things go pear-shaped.

What if this person drinks again and maybe dies; how will you feel about that? Would you feel guilty? I think if the answer is 'yes', then maybe you ought to get a sponsor - even one from here - and work the steps with the guidance of someone who has been through the program before you.

If you can answer 'No I won't feel guilty' because you did your best to carry the message of recovery to your sponsee, yet they drank and died anyway; then go ahead and sponsor this person.
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)

hecramsey2
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by hecramsey2 »

I think the question should be how long does it take to lose your mind trying to work a program without a sponsor?. I was sponser free for about years, never again. Ever. No way, no how, period. Being a sponsee is an essential service, I can't tell you how many times a sponsee has saved my asp. Oh wait, yes I can: tons.
Last edited by hecramsey2 on Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Ida
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by Ida »

Thanks everyone. I've been through the steps with a sponsor, but only twice, so I feel shaky never having sponsored someone myself. I also feel afraid because my ex-sponsor could very well judge me and call me out for sponsoring someone (just being honest about my fears). I know this gal probably doesn't have anyone else in our home group that she feels comfortable around. I don't feel that I'm "playing" with anyone's life; her life is her own, and I would never sponsor someone if I thought something could happen that would harm them. I'm taking this very seriously (hence asking for help). I would never want to turn someone away if there was a way I could help them. I have been up-front with her about the fact that I have no sponsor, and I have told her that it is often discouraged to sponsor someone when you are not sponsored yourself. However, it's true: I don't feel confident in my abilities. I do service, but one-on-one stuff is new to me on the flipside; I can admit that. I worry about messing up, or hurting someone because I've never done this before. I would never promote myself as a sponsor, but I feel conflicted because someone has sought me out and asked for help. All I can think about is the reaction I would have had if someone had turned me down when I was brand-spankin' new...

I really do appreciate the different perspectives and the advice. I suppose prayer and a couple of days to think is next on my list.

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kjay
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by kjay »

Wow guys help me out here. Ida has a really good point. She has been approached by somone who needs help. (I am early in sobriety) I am perplexed, because if I was approached I would not turn them away either.
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Db1105
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by Db1105 »

If I've been through the 12 steps and the compulsion to drink is gone, and I've had a Spiritual Awakening, then it is my duty to help others whether I've have a sponsor or not. A good place to start is to read the pamphlet
Questions and Answers on Sponsorship.

hecramsey2
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by hecramsey2 »

maybe the best way to help her is to sponsor her and get a sponsor yourself at the same time, my first sponsor always used to say I'm going to ask my sponsor about that when stumped by my lunacy. Consider getting a sponsor a service for HER.

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johnd
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by johnd »

Good Question,
It would be ideal to have a sponsor before tackling becoming a sponsor. But there is another alternative. Just be friends and co-sponsor one another til either of you get a sponsor.
Just talk in general with each other don't try to handle too much that you had no experience with. Go to meetings together just encourage each other. Join a BB step group where they would assign sponsors that may be a better alternative for both of you. Also, you don't have to feel pressured with the responsibility of a sponsor per say. Just a thought
John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

danderisup
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by danderisup »

I feel this depends on what you and the potential sponsee believe the role of a sponsor to be. If it is a person who has been through the steps and found a spiritual awakening guiding another through the steps, then no current sponsor would be necessary.

If the understanding of a sponsor is a super friend, go to person, who should be available on short notice and serve as a confessor and counselor, then it would be good if that person has a sponsor as well, who also serves that function.

I know people who are in either camp who have found good recovery, but it seems to work best when there is a like understanding/expectation.

Mike D.
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by Mike D. »

Hi Ida, I found your post to be most interesting and felt the urge to put in my 2 cents-worth, if you don't mind. First of all, I don't really have much information about you, so I should apologize in advance for any potential mistakes here. Since I'm not sure where you are in the Steps, or how long you've been sober, I'm sort of making a blind-commentary here. So, that's my disclaimer. However, what got me interested was the basic premise of the question, "Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?" Perhaps we could get a better perspective on this by asking it this way: "Should someone who has NOT worked all the Steps be a sponsor?" That's different. The true purpose of an A.A. sponsor is to lead and guide a person through the 12 Steps. If one has not worked the Steps him or herself, it would be a terrible mistake to try to lead another person through Steps which he or she has not worked. It would be the blind leading the blind. It's not about having a sponsor at the present time. It's about Step-experience. If you have worked the 12 Steps, you are absolutely qualified to help another person work them. As I say, I have little information about your actual situation. But, if you've been through those Steps yourself you've found the Solution. So, that means you have a real Solution to offer this new person. If not, you have little to offer but kind words and sympathy. Kind words and sympathy do not cause a spiritual awakening. We experience a spiritual awakening "as a result of these Steps". Not sure if this helps at all. Let me know. God bless, Mike D.

kenyal
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Re: Should someone without a sponsor sponsor?

Post by kenyal »

You have experience both being sober and with the steps. I do sense a little confidence in the answer we provide to new people wouldn't hurt. It's so effective it doesn't matter who the teacher is, within reason.

Things to be cautious of are if she is coming to you because she senses that you are disconnected and not currently solid in your associations with other members, someone who can be more easily manipulated or who will give her an extra amount of ego-soothing attention. If she is asking you out of fear that someone who is more solid will turn her down or be too direct and hurt her feelings. Is what you outline as your weaknesses what is attracting her?

Will you be ok if she drinks again, can you drop her without regret if you must without that haunting you? If she should suicide will you blame yourself or will you be confident you gave her the best help that was available to her?

You've had your feelings hurt...will you be able to hurt her feelings or will you couch your responses in such ways that she continues to feel good but the truth is obscured? Could you disconnect from her as others have disconnected from you if the relationship turned sick?

Learning by doing is the best way to grow in effectiveness as a sponsor, imo. What you may do with her and learn from her will benefit others no matter how it turns out with this one. Accept you'll make mistakes, perhaps some serious ones. Down the road you will not make the same ones with other sponsees. I think we need to step up to the plate and swing when we're called to bat. With time our batting average improves. And, she's the one choosing you.

Batter up!

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