Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please help

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Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please help

Postby annasapphire » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:36 pm

I am ten months sober and confused- namely about what a good sponsor is. I would love some feedback.
The dilemma is that I don't trust that my sponsor is a safe person for me. I feel very uneasy with some things that she has done, but I also don't trust my own motifs for wanting to terminate that relationship. Since getting sober, I have doubted my decision making , as I think I should considering the fact that my thinking has gotten me into a world of trouble in the past.
My sponsor recently got very angry when she found out that I had gotten together with another AA member, a woman with 7 years of sobriety, who I really like. My sponsor told me that I shouldn't be talking to anyone else but her- because she's the only one who really knows me well and can help me. Talking to anyone else would be confusing and 'too many cooks in the kitchen'. She also called my new friend (also her sponsee) and reprimanded her. My friend then canceled our upcoming plans without explanation. Clearly, this is not AA practice, right? It's about connection I thought- with each other, not with just one person.
This sponsor also has me involved in a group of her women sponsees. That seemed ok at first, but it has started to feel like a class. We are assigned chapters and do assignments and respond via group text. She is conducting this as a teacher would. This isn't the relationship I had signed up for - I had hoped for a more intimate, personal relationship. And there has been some drama of course, in this group of women- drama I didn't feel was helping anyone- cattiness, etc. Some of it has been hurtful.
On two occasions when people were being social on the texting group, the sponsor got angry and sent long texts to the group about how we were a good example of "self will run riot" and self-centeredness, etc, etc. (all taken from the big book).
Then we were all pretty much required to go on a trip together. I told her I wasn't ready to go on a trip and really didn't want to go, but she said I was "bailing" on the other group members. (I will mention again that I didn't originally commit to be part of a group. I just wanted a sponsor). Believing her, I ended up going in the end- I spent $250 I couldn't afford, 2 days off of work, and 4 days away from home, and was without a car and spending time with people I didn't really know. With my husband sitting at home wondering why I don't have any time for him these days.
I'm just asking myself, why am I doing these things that make me so uncomfortable? This doesn't seem like real sponsorship to me, but I have lost my confidence to act in my best interest. When do I trust my instincts again?
This is actually becoming an obstacle for me in my sobriety- I feel like my life is being hyjacked.
Please help-
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby positrac » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:44 pm

Look at your AA coin and it should say: To thy own self be true. So if that lady is not to your liking then you should look at other meetings for that person who has what you want. I would suggest trying to go in peace with no resentments because that does nobody any good. And you would have to make amends later and hurt and resentments are a real hard to get hold of.

I have been involved with some work when teaching stuff with some of my step work and it was interesting to learn clear information on steps.

Go to other meetings and explore atmosphere and find the place that suits you and your comfort zone. Trust is a hard one to overcome and you'll have to take some risks in order to grow and prosper I n your recovery.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby Brock » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:58 pm

I am very sorry you are having this experience, earlier when this was put up I wanted to answer but decided to wait, I can be and have seemed a bit anti sponsor on these boards in the past, my own experience with a sponsor was very short and unpleasant, so I did the steps without one. And to my mind where you are in the steps is the main question I would have. I love AA and it's literature, but there is no hiding the fact that they have swung one way then another on this subject. In the book 'living sober' they clearly say on page 30 - “And the best sponsors are really delighted when the newcomer is able to step out past the stage of being sponsored.” In other guides like the questions on sponsorship here - https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf we see them saying something different.

When we have discussed this in the past, the majority certainly among the men, felt after the steps they stay friends if they like the sponsor, but ask anyone for advise or just to chat, anyone at all. And of all the stories we have had, yours may be unique but not the most over the top I have seen, we have had people who had to sweep up the car park before and after each meeting to show wiliness, dress code when attending meetings collar and tie. I know one who insists you can't think of doing anything first thing in the morning except exactly what he says, out of bed on your knees, say exactly this prayer, make the bed, go to the bathroom etc etc etc, a list of things, the pamphlet on sponsorship with the link above says nothing like this.

I think some are hooked on the sponsorship itself, the book says it works when all else fails, some folks seem to have none of the 'all else,' which is a spiritual experience which they should continue to develop, and frankly without a bunch of sponsees like yours has, one wonders if she could stay sober at all. But then I am judging her and shouldn't do that, my advise is certainly to look for someone else, complete the steps which should normally have been done by now, grow on the spiritual experience you will have, and listen for the answers from the God of your choosing, as some say go to the throne before the phone.

I am absolutely convinced a good sponsor takes people through the steps at a decent pace, encourages them to walk on their own feet and listen to their own conscience, not to be overdependent. I hope you find the right fit, the pamphlet says there is nothing wrong with changing sponsors. Wishing you the very best of luck with our marvelous program, which should not seem as difficult as it is being made for you.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:28 pm

I would find another sponsor ASAP.
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby Jojo2 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:49 am

Blue Moon wrote:I would find another sponsor ASAP.



I absolutely agree with this succinct response.

No wonder you are confused. I could hear alarm bells ringing as I read through that.

I believe this link was given earlier, but an excellent introduction on sponsorship, permanent or temporary, with questions and answers, is this pamphlet
from GSO :

Questions and Answers on Sponsorship:

http://aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf


Meanwhile, if you need a temporary sponsor from e-AA, please complete the form here:

http://www.e-aa.org/form_sponsors.php

Kindest Regards

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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:25 am

I will run far away from this kind of people. As others pointed, the primary role of the sponsor is to help you realize the powerless and un-manageability concept and then guide you though the rest of the process so like the book says "find the power".
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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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby annasapphire » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:12 am

Wow-
Thank you ALL for your thoughtful responses. Having this objective point of view is exactly what I needed. Brock- thank you so much for your thoughts about this. I am really grateful to have your perspective.
I have been stewing about his for a very long time, but had doubted myself too much to take action. I will definitely find another sponsor. Having made that decision, I already feel better- a lot better actually.
I have explored whether I need a sponsor and I have decided that, for me personally, I do. I have a history of keeping secrets so having a sponsor will help keep me accountable for any old tricks I might be attempting.
I also know now that being a quiet and introverted person, I need to find someone who understands and can relate to that. Trying to be overly social goes against my nature and my recovery. An overly disciplinarian approach will not work either. I like structure and know that I need discipline, but I will run if I feel pushed or pressured. I can't afford to run from this program. I believe in it and know that it will save my life.
I have not made it through the steps- and haven't done any step work for the past five months, so I look forward to getting back to my program and moving forward in a way that feels right for me.
So, I think the right thing to do is call her and let her know- and thank her for her time and effort. I am nervous about it, because her response has most often been anger, but I'll go to the throne before the phone and get some direction on that. :)
Thank you all-
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby Cristy99 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:26 am

Anna!!!!

I am so very sorry for what has happened to you!!! What this woman has put you through IS NOT SPONSORSHIP!!! I am assuming she has no idea of the control issues she has. The fact that you are nervous about breaking off the sponsorship breaks my heart. Recovery is tough enough without this situation.

A good sponsor will encourage you to make friends, talk to and get advice from other members. That's how it's done. It takes a village to raise a new-comer, Hahaha!! Also a good sponsor will listen to you and thank you for your honesty in the fact that the two of you just don't fit. There are like 8 billion of us on the Earth, and every one of us is different!!! We cannot all be right for each other. If your gut tells you the sponsor is wrong, the sponsor is wrong. Do NOT worry about losing the friendship of this person. Give yourself permission to not like everyone. It's ok. And it's also ok that not all people will like you.

I am on my third sponsor. My best advise is to be honest at all times. Tell how things make you feel and ask a lot of questions. A sponsor's job is simply to walk you through the steps. Not a banker, babysitter, psychologist, or best friend (not that they won't ever be your friend, but the sponsor relationship should come first). Go to lots of different meetings other than the ones you usually attend. Listen for someone who shares from the heart and has what you want in recovery.

Everyone does things differently. Brock is of the opinion that for him, a sponsor was not necessary. There are those that do well without a sponsor, and my hat is tipped to them. From what I read of Brock's posts, he is very wise and I have already had a lot of benefit from posts his posts. I know that I will not ever be thorough enough without a sponsor. Much like you, I do not yest trust my own thinking and decisions. For me, this comes from a lifetime of fear instilled since early childhood.

Be courageous sweet Anna!! You are loved and you are worth the best!!!
"Talk doesn't cook rice."
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby Mary » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:18 am

Ditch her. She's a flake.
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby annasapphire » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:05 am

Thank you, Cristy, for your thoughtful response- it is much appreciated. I agree with everything you wrote. I guess the bottom line is - does my sponsor have what I want? Next time, I will choose very carefully. Thank you again!
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby Cristy99 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:15 am

Thanks Anna!!
Message me any time if you want to talk. =biggrin
"Talk doesn't cook rice."
~ Chinese proverb
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby PaigeB » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:42 pm

Having made that decision, I already feel better- a lot better actually.

Remember this!

I have found it to be true for me whenever I suffer from indecision - making a decision always helps!

Good luck with the new sponsor! I am sure you will find the right one!
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: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby God is great » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:37 am

The Big Book does not mention the word 'sponsor or sponsorship' in the first 164. I have seen too many sponsors cripple the work God is trying to do in someone's life. Members have got to stop worshipping people and acting like ambulance drivers when a member is going through pain. Pain is when we do our most growing. Sponsors need to stop trying to shield the pain and stop helicoptering in as they do more damage than good with the controlling ways. I hear it all the time at Birthday meetings, everyone celebrating human power. 'Of myself I am nothing, The Father doeth the works.
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby Brock » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:32 am

Welcome here to e-AA God is Great, it's nice to have you with us.

To be fair, in the days when the book was written a person pretty well had to be 'sponsored' into the fellowship, they didn't use that word I agree, but our history shows that members then sought out alcoholics, and took them a bit into the steps before even inviting them to a meeting.

I posted on this subject already near the top, and it is plain to see, that my personal opinion is that the business of sponsorship has gotten completely out of hand, therefore I agree with most of what you say. I don't think the founders did it this way, yes they would 'sponsor' someone into the fellowship, but after he did the steps and recovered they might do as I quoted from the AA book 'Living Sober' - “And the best sponsors are really delighted when the newcomer is able to step out past the stage of being sponsored.”
Only those who have found it necessary to lean on spiritual power because their lives depended on it, might understand that the pain of being in a dark place is how the greatest growth comes, some writers call it 'the dark night of the soul.'

In how it works we see this -
“As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.”

Well people are only 'reborn' in a spiritual sense, 'spirit gives birth to spirit,' is what a good fellow called Jesus said.

I have gone off on another of my long winded replies again, but in closing I will say this. Those who lean on other people too much, the 'human power' you speak about, can obviously not develop spiritually like those who lean on 'spiritual power,' the old saying “go to the throne before the phone,” makes good sense to me.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Ten months in and confused about sponsorship...please he

Postby God is great » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:06 pm

Thank you for your response. I too agree with most of what you have said. I don't really hold a lot of weight with a book that was not endorsed by Bill W. The Living Sober seems to read more about the 'mind over matter' type of recovery and written by one man. I would be concerned if individual members wrote their own personal account books and these books then became a part of the AA meetings. We would not know what the program of action is, it would become so convoluted. Even today, some people say AA is a religion while others say It is just another form of yoga.

Often times many of the members are confused about what the program is or is not. The newcomer is even more confused and the answers given at the meeting level run the extreme of the spectrum which could be why there is such a low recovery rate.

I do have to say I love that scripture that you quoted from the book of John. We know that more is required from us in order to be reborn. We are not reborn just because we made a decision.

We have been given this beautiful gift of sobriety by the one whom I call God, my humanness or anyone else's would not have gotten me sober. I know where my help came from.
Last edited by God is great on Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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