Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

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Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby GJMcPrinciples » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:53 pm

Thanks in advance for all responses and advice.

A little about me and my situation: a little less than a year ago I was charged with a DUI. On the advice of my lawyer (whom I discovered later was also a 12 stepper) I entered the program. I've been in AA and NA for ten months with nine months clean / sober and working with the same sponsor in the fellowship of AA. I was convicted of the offense but decided to appeal based upon the advice of my first lawyer and the conviction was overturned. As a consequence of the charges I lost my job since the jurisdiction I reside in has automatic administrative suspensions, so I could no longer perform my employment duties as required by my contract. The legal bills have been onerous, and I paid the last one off less than a month ago.

As a result of my job loss and the charges that were pending I had to take a job that paid far less than I used to earn. After every payday I have money for about four or five days and then I'm broke. I recently asked my sponsor to borrow $20 to get a few staple grocery items and to pay the balance of my drycleaning bill so I could have clean clothes for the upcoming work week. He kindly agreed, and was even nice enough to drive me to the mall to take care of the errand, on the condition I repay him next payday.

The problem is this: the fact that he loaned me the money has driven his wife (a greatful member of Al-Anon) bats**t crazy. She has two basic admitted problems with this: firstly, she thinks that lending money in the program is wrong; and secondly, she thinks I should deal with this myself. I suspect that she thinks that I am drinking or using again, but that doesn't bother me since t simply isn't true. It's important to mention that I have never borrowed money from him before, although I did borrow $25 from another brother in the fellowship once and paid him back. My sponsor doesn't know about that since I didn't feel the need to discuss it.

My basic question is this: was I wrong to do that? Personally, I don't think I will do it again since it bothers his wife so much. Any advice or commentary would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby positrac » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:28 am

Welcome and continue to work and do your part for sobriety one day at a time.

I learned a long time ago NOT to loan money out to anyone because I don't need them sticking me with a huge resentment. If I lend it is mentally a gift and if they pay me back it is a gift because they are growing and learning how to be more responsible.

Motives and agenda of what you are doing and what you gain in the long run?

Were you wrong? No: but it is your responsibility to figure out things as you mature in a sober life.

I have no real advice except I never want to owe anyone because the end result could be I have to pay them back again with favors I might not have to give.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:49 am

The family man should have consulted his wife and then lent the money. To put an end to this torture, pay back whatever you borrowed so far that will show that you are serious and don't want to disrupt their harmony.
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: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby Brock » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:45 am

On page 17 of this leaflet on sponsorship https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf it does discourage lending of money, but it’s worded in a manner to mean if the person is not trying to help themselves, and just looking to AA for financial support, then we should be careful. In my opinion this case is not like that at all, and I admire JGM for trying to stand on his own two feet despite a greatly reduced income.

I think he is right that the sponsors wife just has a ‘thing’ about lending money, and maybe as was suggested he should have asked her first, but what I can’t get out of my head is that it was 20 dollars, who kicks a big fuss about that, no doubt she is saying it’s the principal of the matter.

What can happen, and it has happened to me, is when a wife (or husband) tries to control the purse so much, the other person ends up just not telling them about certain things. My wife is from Ireland and very tight when it comes to spending, it has helped keep me in check because I am the opposite. But now even though I don’t like doing it, I sometimes spend without her knowing, and certainly I would lend a brother in AA if I thought it was a genuine need as in this case, I just wouldn’t tell her.

In answer to the question - “was I wrong to do that?” My opinion is not at all, and well done on the nine months of sobriety, I expect the time will come when higher paying work will once more be available to you, best of luck.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby Roberth » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:46 am

If loan someone money and my wife when crazy that would be between her and me. My action. my problem, our solution. The fiction it cause between my wife and myself I would handle it as a family matter. Should I dare say a group conscience? Not right or wrong but rather what is best for the group. Maybe there is enough room to practice these principals in all of my affairs for this too.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:09 pm

A sponsor is not a nurse or a banker. Your sponsor should know this. So if he lends someone $20, that's his decision. It's not his wife's decision, and it's certainly not yours.

Now to the real problem here ... A sponsor should try to set an example for you to emulate when sponsoring another. So if his lending you money may lead to you feeling an obligation to lend money to a sponsee, then he is creating a problem because lending money is not what AA is about.

Therefore, I suggest you discard the fact that anybody involved in this arrangement is in any 12-Step fellowship at all. You borrowed money from someone, and that fact needs to be totally separate from recovery.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:15 am

He may be broke and homeless. If he is, you might try to help him about getting a job, or give him a little financial assistance. But you should not deprive your family or creditors of money they should have.


Big book doesn't outright come and say we cant lend money. But we have to be careful and not deprive your family. The mistake I would say was, that he didn't consult his wife. I have lent money knowing that, if it is not returned, it wont hurt me or 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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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby tomsteve » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:21 am

GJMcPrinciples wrote:
The problem is this: the fact that he loaned me the money has driven his wife (a greatful member of Al-Anon) bats**t crazy. She has two basic admitted problems with this: firstly, she thinks that lending money in the program is wrong; and secondly, she thinks I should deal with this myself. I suspect that she thinks that I am drinking or using again, but that doesn't bother me since t simply isn't true. It's important to mention that I have never borrowed money from him before, although I did borrow $25 from another brother in the fellowship once and paid him back. My sponsor doesn't know about that since I didn't feel the need to discuss it.

My basic question is this: was I wrong to do that? Personally, I don't think I will do it again since it bothers his wife so much. Any advice or commentary would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.


i dont see how what your sponsor does for you is her business.

greatful members of Al-Anon dont get bats**t crazy IF they are working that program.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby PaigeB » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:49 am

avaneesh912 wrote:The family man should have consulted his wife and then lent the money. To put an end to this torture, pay back whatever you borrowed so far that will show that you are serious and don't want to disrupt their harmony.

I agree in part. It is not you who is causing the disharmony, I don't think you have that power. It is up to the man to console his wife. Plainly speaking, it is not your problem or your business what occurs in their marriage. Just keep your side of the lending bargain or pay early (which is always cool).
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby positrac » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:02 am

Must be more to this story is all I know.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby GJMcPrinciples » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:42 am

I'm not sure what you mean, Positrac?
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby positrac » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:16 am

GJMcPrinciples wrote:I'm not sure what you mean, Positrac?

The wife was having a fit over 20 dollars and so something in the past must of occurred for the wife to get into a twist on lending money in any amount.
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Re: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:33 am

It is not you who is causing the disharmony, I don't think you have that power.


Just wanted to clarify. I never meant to say he caused it. I was talking about diffusing the situation.
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: Need Advice - Borrowing and Lending in 12 Step Programs

Postby Patsy© » Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:08 pm

GJM.... simply repay the 20 dollars on pay day. I am not sure why this sponsor discussed his wife's reaction with YOU, because the issue your sponsor has is between him and his wife.......it has NOTHING to do with you at all. You asked to borrow 20 and he gave you the 20. Now, pay him back on pay day and think about getting a sponsor who doesn't feel it necessary to discuss with YOU what is going on in his marriage.
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