How to let go of sponsor?

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?

Postby From the heart » Sat May 26, 2007 6:41 pm

The first and last - let Go and Let God?
Step one - I can't
Step Two - God Can
Step Three - Let him

People places and thing will easily divert us

What’s wrong with A.A. altruism and brotherhood?
why always promoting and defending people?
Where in the Big Book does it say if you don’t get a sponsor you will get drunk?
Where in the Big Book is the word sponsor?

Why do you insist on diverting the newcomer with the outside sytem?
You need to read where you come from its not part of the A.A. way yet in A.A.
Let me make that clear not of A.A. yet in

You will not answered this question
because it is not part of our program mabe yours
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Postby Lena » Sun May 27, 2007 12:46 pm

BB, Chapter 7 "Working with others":

First sentence: "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this massage to other alcoholics!" (p.89)

"But he will be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. (...) Perhaps your story will help him see where he has failed to practice the very precepts he knows so well. We represent no particular faith or denomination. We are dealing only with general principles common to most denominations.

Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him. Make it plain that he is under no obligation to you, that you hope only that he will try to help other alcoholics when he escapes his own difficulties." (p. 93/94)

"Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you. Offer him friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help.

If he is not interested in your solution (...) you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. (...) If he thinks he can do the job in some other way (...) encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us." (p.95)

"Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. (...) Suppose now you are making your second visit to a man. He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of recovery. Having had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical advice." (p.96)

"Never avoid these responsibilities, but be sure you are doing the right thing if you assume them. Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be." (p. 97)

"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." (p. 98)

"Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. (..) Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress." (p. 100)

That is what we call sponsorship, I guess...

I thank God for my sponsors, who guided me through the darkness, knowing that the sun is still shining even though if I can't see it. I am eternally grateful for that people who showed me the way and how it works. Without them I would be dead. In the beginning I couldn't trust something I couldn't see. And this people I can see, I can touch, and I can see the love and spirit and hope and joy in their eyes.

God works through people!


God, make me a channel of Thy Peace!
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Postby From the heart » Sun May 27, 2007 8:11 pm

Sounds like A.A. brotherhood and altruism of A.A. itself

It amazes me how arrogant and coercive the outside sponsorship system gets when the Tradition One of A.A.
Plainly States “No A.A. can compel another to do anything:” 12&12 page 129
Bill W surly saw them coming its in the first Tradition and applies to inside A.A.
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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby johnd » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:39 pm

I came across this thread from 2007,
I had a similar situation when I was about 4years sober, my first sponsor had just moved about 75 miles from me.around 1990, WoW! that was a while ago :lol: Anyway, we had talked about acquiring another sponsor to help me out from time to time. I guess some people just become over possesive of their sponsees, I would be instructed just as the original poster had said, what meetings are you attending, you should redo your 4th and 5th, when enough became enough I had talked to my original sponsor and he said "You didn't get sober to have someone decide where your going or who you are going with. You should be experiencing the joy of living."
I asked for help and I had a talk with the newer sponsor, it was amicable, but he had a few things that really should not of been said. I told my orig. sponsor and he says just pray for him. So if you have to breakawy from someone who is a little heavy handed with their experience. It is best if both parties part ways.
just thought I'd share this. John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous
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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby Ida » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:39 am

I was in a similar situation just last fall. I had been with my now ex-sponsor for 2 and 1/2 years, so it was really awkward to end it. She wasn't quite as severe as what you are dealing with, but it was basically the same type of problem. I actually saw the signs that things were getting dysfunctional, but being an alcoholic, I waited 6 months or so before I finally broke it off.

I thought it was important to not go into specific incidents or to point out flaw in her techniques, so I simply said that it wasn't working for me. She asked if I felt judged, and I answered sometimes, but I didn't list specific times when she made me feel judged. If she judged me, she knew when those times were.

Luckily she was professional about it, and I was too. I told her that she really did help me, but we had reached a point that it wasn't working anymore. Honestly, if you feel your sponsor may not take the news well that you are leaving, you may want to do it in a more public area (like a park or coffee shop); that way she may be less likely to make a scene, but if she does get angry, stay calm and walk away. Remember you have to take care of you.
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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby Brock » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:03 pm

In the third post down on the preceding page, Yvon P. says :- "The concept of 'sponsorship' beyond taking another alcoholic through the steps, continues to elude me." And she goes on to make a very good case, that once that is over, the person is no longer your sponsor, you are both on equal footing as recovered alcoholics.

Both here and at meetings I attend, some seemingly quite sane folks, who have been in AA for years, and claim to have completed the steps, hang on to sponsors: and here we discuss the best way to let them go. I am not knocking anyone for the advice given, like meeting in a public place to do it, in case the sponsor throws a fit; reminiscent of some jilted lover.
I just wonder how a person, could allow anyone other than a lover, to become so emotionally attached, that the possibility of them being so upset arises.

When we have completed the steps, if you want to remain friends fine, even ask a little advice now and then. But if you think I am going to continue to monitor your behavior, and let you become dependent on my approval, no way, that is looking for trouble, and from what I have read, is not part of our program of recovery. Can't you see without someone telling you, when your ego, selfishness, or unfounded fears, are once again impeding your progress and spiritual wellbeing ? this dependence, and the problems that arise from it, seem so unnecessary.

God bless all who contribute.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby Ida » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:32 pm

I don't feel so alone either. Jim, your words were like a giant light bulb going on in my head! I have been so fretful about not having a sponsor because everyone in the program here really feel that if you don't have a sponsor, you are a second class citizen. I never felt like I needed one; but I finally got one because I was pressured into it when I was too new to know what else to do. I don't think I should let one single person dictate how I live my life (that is why I don't go to church).
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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby becksdad » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:54 am

I'm not sure where the idea originated that a sponsor dictates someone's life. My sponsor simply shares himself with me. He has far more sober living experience than me, and initially he walked through the steps with me. After all, when I first got here in AA, I was willing to do the steps, but it was like trying to speak Swahili or something. I need some help. I bring my own goofed up thoughts and demands, and create roadblocks for myself. I can talk to my sponsor about stuff like this, and he can share how he got past some of those same roadblocks. Or point me to someone who has had the same circumstance. It's just sharing, not dictating or controlling your life. If I'm not willing to try to do the things suggested to me, it's no sweat off anybody's back but mine.

I have come to believe that the largest portion of sponsorship lies with the sponsee. My sponsor has put Honesty, Open Mindedness, and Willingness into his life. And his life is a demonstration of where that can lead. If I'm not willing to open my self to what he shares with me, then I don't really have a sponsor. It's up to me. He does his part.

Maybe I'm just lucky. I've just been helped along in the steps, and never even been told where it's going to lead, what I'm going to see, or how it's going to unfold. We just share recovery together. I like to think today that we were put into each others lives for a reason. And it's good.

I really do hope for others to find that in AA & sponsorship. It's been a real blessing for me.


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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby ann2 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:11 am

My sponsor has been someone I can admire AND be close to. That's huge for me, to have this woman with umpty years' sobriety (40 I guess) sharing with me, showing personal caring, being open about herself, while starting up ameeting for the women in the county jail and "adopting" random children at her church who don't have grandmas, just feels so incredibly special.

She knows I can do the system that brings me sobriety, and a conscious contact with my higher power; she's here to show me the human love in it.

"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby PaigeB » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:41 am

This thread has 10465 views! It made me think, "What the heck is it about letting go of a sponsor that is so interesting?" For me it is about the excuse to cut someone loose who invariably calls me on my BS.... my fear that I will have to change if I am to apply her wisdom.

Otherwise, she is priceless.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65
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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby Service » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:45 am

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Re: How to let go of sponsor?

Postby Pamph » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:51 am

The AA pamphlet titled "Questions and Answers on Sponsorship" is extremely helpful.

Note what is written on page BB 95: "simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection." Notice it does NOT say to hand the kit to a prospect because handing it to him implies he should take it. No, it is up to him to first inspect, then pick up a tool and use it (if he chooses).

Note pg 94: "he is under no obligation to you."

Pg 98: "we do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God."

Pg 99: "recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God."

Pg. 100: " Follow the dictates of a Higher Power". (Not dictates of human)
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