- AA Sponsors and Other Problems

AA Sponsors and Other Problems




Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober

AA Sponsors and Other Problems

Postby Powerless Dee » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:33 pm

Hello, All, I know that I have shared about big problems and AA not really being equipped to handling them. Well, my sponsor agreed with me that AA (at least our groups) were ill equipped to handle my problems. She told me to keep in touch, which I have, but she also told me this past Saturday, that "Sponsors" are not allowed to call those who they sponsor, even if it is to find out how they are. I find this very strange. Are these the rules? I left a very important message with her yesterday on her cell phone and she has not called me back...am I to understand that she won't? Am I to understand that I must keep calling her? I don't get it.

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Postby Dallas » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:25 pm

Dee, why don't you just find a different sponsor?

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Postby DebbieV » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:40 pm

Hey Dee,

I agree with Dallas, If my sponsor didn't call me back when I had something big going on, lets say a jumping off place, I would have to wounder if my sponsor was'nt the one ill-equipped.

Just my two cents. We all have to work it the way we work it.

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Postby garden variety » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:19 am

I'm not sure about saying "yay" or "nay" on this because maybe it isn't as simple as I like things to be.

If I recall correctly, Dee, you said you were pretty satisfied with your sponsor. We talked about the 4th step in particular, and you said what I posted was exactly the way your sponsor was having you do the 4th step.

To me, there seems like some information is missing. I'm not saying that to point fingers or make accusations either. Before I'd say find another sponsor, or say the one you have is going off target, I'd really need to hear from your sponsor so I can fill in the blanks.

There's another way of looking at this: Dee, if you had 5 continuous years of sobriety, and most of it with the same sponsor, my response or reaction would be different then with you having less than six months and not having gone through all the steps.

From what I've been taught, having a sponsor is important. The most important job a sponsor has is to help me get into working the steps, and to be a mentor or role model for the sobriety I'm hoping to "achieve". There will be disagreements between protege' and mentor - and those will happen more so in the earlier days sobriety. That's just a fact. It is not the sponsor's job to "keep you sober" or even to be a friend. I've always understood the sponsor's role is to help guide us along this "path" where the folks who've followed it rarely failed.

Some sponsors have "ground rules". Now lets say, just as an example, a sponsor has other protege's and a family. She says at the start, again for an example, that she expects her protoge' to call her every day. She might say she hasn't got the time to return calls unless there is an emergency or a time where the sponsee feels that if they don't speak to her they'll pick up a drink. But she also encourages sponsees to get other ladies phone numbers and build a support network.

Now if these were the "ground rules" that were agreed on at first and the "important message" was a matter that she felt was outside her role as an AA sponsor, then you might want to reconsider the response. Was she acting reasonably? Was she defining a boundary?

Next thing I'd think about is the actual words she used. Did she say "I'm not allowed to return calls to sponsees." Or did she say something that gave that perception but with different words? Something like "We (members of your home group) don't usually return calls to sponsees." Were there any qualifiers like "except in emergencies". When she used the words "not allowed", were they related to outside issues? "We're not allowed to get involved with things you are seeing a professional about, so if your call is about something between you and your (lawyer, doctor, shrink, etc.), I'm not supposeded to get into that."

Again, Dee, I don't have enough information from your post to respond with any kind of certainty. Now if you, as a protege' called her and said, "Please call me back because I feel like I'm about to pick up a drink - this is an emergency" and she were to respond "I'm not allowed to return calls to sponsees", I'd say something doesn't look right. But if there is a chance of "the girl who cried wolf" a number of times (I'm NOT SAYING YOU DID) then that's another thing that might come into play.

At first, the sponsor you asked either had something in sobriety that you found attractive, or you asked your home group secretary for a sponsor and she was "assigned" to you. It seems at first the relationship was working as far as the program and steps were concerned. The question is "What changed?" Did the "ground rules" change suddenly on her part or was there something she said or did that you don't quite understand. Did you go back out? Or have you been working the steps and keeping outside issues away from your program and relationship with your sponsor?

God I hate it when I start sounding like a sponsor! For some reason, we leave you with questions a lot of times. Then you have to work to get the answers.
Last edited by garden variety on Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby carol1017 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:05 pm

My first reaction in reading this post was like Dallas' -- just get a new sponsor, but I hesitated to respond to this post for all the reasons Paul mentioned. Thank you, Paul, for so eloquently saying what I was thinking.

In my experience, I have never heard of a sponsor who is "not allowed" to return calls from sponsees. AA doesn't really have any rules, so sponsorship doesn't really have rules, either. Consequently, as Paul said, some sponsors establish "ground rules".

A sponsor's role is to guide you through the Big Book and the Steps. They often provide moral support and guidance in issues pertaining to alcoholism, however, anything outside of that area is best taken to a professional. If your sponsor felt that some of the issues you were calling her about were outside of her experience, strength and hope, perhaps that is the reason she said what she did, although it was rather abrupt.

The Steps teach us how to deal with others by looking at our part in our relationships with others. I agree with Paul that maybe that would be a place to start, rather than just changing sponsors and having the same thing happen again.
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Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:39 pm

First, to the Moderators: Thank you for all that you do to keep the board healthy! And, per your request -- I'll clarify my question above.

I was simply asking the question "Why don't you just find a different sponsor?"

My question was just to get more information.

I was not suggesting that the person should get a different sponsor -- and I was not suggesting that the person keep their sponsor.

All I meant by my question was: "Is there any reason that you might not want to consider finding a different sponsor?"

I was not commenting on the sponsor, the sponsors methods of sponsorship, nor the sponsors capability.

I was just asking a question. :lol: :lol:

Sorry if my question led to any confusion or misunderstanding. I'll try to be more clear in the future.

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Postby DebbieV » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:33 pm

Hey Dee,

I agree with Dallas, If my sponsor didn't call me back when I had something big going on, lets say a jumping off place, I would have to wounder if my sponsor was'nt the one ill-equipped.

Just my two cents. We all have to work it the way we work it.

Deb


I think when I said that I agree with Dallas, I was reading his question wrong, sorry Dallas. It was a question not a statement.

I think I still may stand behind what I said, but that is how I work my program. Paul and Carol, I do agree with a lot of what you guys said, and more needs to be known before a true ES&H could be given, So I gave my ES&H with what I had. For me, with being still new to all of this, the program, God, sponsor...all of it....I would have a hard time if I called my sponsor and left an urgent message and they did'nt call back. If I have 2 years and I called my sponsor with a urgent message and they did'nt call back I would have a hard time with it. I also think what I think is urgent at 2 months may be different than it is at two years. I hope I will have grown by then.
I also think that if I was a sponsor, and a sponsee called me with an issue I could'nt or did'nt know how to deal with, I would call her back and let her know that I was sorry, but that was something she needed to take up with someone who was able to deal with that problem, but to call me back and let me know how it went.
We are all different people, with different issues, and different sponsors. I am glad Bill W. wrote the book to fit all of our needs. And I love the 'working with others' that tells me a lot in that chapter on this subject.
As far as 'rules' go, I only know of one (there maybe 500, but I know of one) pg 101 in BB 3rd pagh. And I hope if I am at a jumping off place, that first I hit my kness, then I call my sponsor, and then I am told even if my ass falls off dont pick up a drink. Then goes on to help me through what ever is going on ( by using the BB ) even if what is going on is that my mom yelled at me and called me a bad parent. (yep, an outside issue, but not one if it makes me feel like giving up and picking up a drink)
I guess this may be one of thoes topics that hit home with me, I seem to have needed my sponsor a lot this last month, a lot has gone on. And I can say, that is the reason I am here typing this now. I have a good sponsor, who also knows that I am new to all of this.

Deb
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Postby carol1017 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:41 pm

I read this a few years ago and thought it was appropriate here:

Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship

I will not help you to stay and wallow in limbo.

I will help you to grow, to become more productive, by your definition.

I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more excited, less sensitive, more free to become the authority for your own living.

I can not give you dreams or "fix you up" simply because I can not.

I can not give you growth, or grow for you. You must grow for yourself by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.

I can not take away your loneliness or your pain.

I can not sense your world for you, evaluate your goals for you, tell you what is best for your world; because you have your own world in which you must live.

I can not convince you of the necessity to make the vital decision of choosing the frightening uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of remaining static.

I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend; yet I can not get close to you when you choose not to grow.

When I begin to care for you out of pity or when I begin to lose faith in you, then I am inhibiting both for you and for me.

You must know and understand my help is conditional. I will be with you and "hang in there" with you so long as I continue to get even the slightest hint that you are still trying to grow.

If you can accept this, then perhaps we can help each other to become what God meant us to be, mature adults, leaving childishness forever to the little children of the world.
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Rules

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:20 pm

Big Book page 118 wrote: Live and let live is the rule.


Big Book page 125 wrote: We find it better, when possible, to stick to our own stories. A man may criticize or laugh at himself and it will affect others favorably, but criticism or ridicule coming from another often produces the contrary effect.


Big Book page 125 wrote: ....Members of a family should watch such matters carefully, for one careless, inconsiderate remark has been known to raise the very devil. We alcoholics are sensitive people. It takes some of us a long time to outgrow that serious handicap.


I have one of those cheap cell phones. Sometimes I get my messages -- sometimes I get notified that I got a message -- sometimes I don't get the message -- and I never get notified if I didn't get the message. :lol:

On Mental Telephathy: Like many alcoholics, I've heard -- "I'm really good at reading minds." However, it was suggested that I stop doing that - because it was 1). Invading the privacy of another person. 2). Sometimes -- I was reading the wrong mind. And, 3). By reading their mind -- I was interfering with their opportunity to participate and take responsibility in their own recovery. :lol:

If I try to follow Rule #62 "Don't take yourself so damn serious." I often do well. :wink:

Disclaimer: None of the above should be taken as personal advice or suggestions -- my comments are directed at no one. If you happen to relate, identify -- or get anything out of it -- it was purely accidental and unintentional. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Postby garden variety » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:58 pm

Dallas wrote:I was simply asking the question "Why don't you just find a different sponsor?"

My question was just to get more information.

I was not suggesting that the person should get a different sponsor -- and I was not suggesting that the person keep their sponsor.

All I meant by my question was: "Is there any reason that you might not want to consider finding a different sponsor?"


I picked up on that right away, Dallas. There was no confusion in my mind. But the reason for that is some of the guys that I run with are sponsors, and I sponsor. For some reason, over time we turn into "reflective types" of sponsors. When you, as a protege' ask me a question, the longer you've been sober, the more it becomes your job to figure out an answer. My role as a sponsor is to ask you questions that will help you get focused or directed toward a solution you develop as a result of your spiritual progress and journey. Ironically, I used to HATE those darn "reflective types" - now I'm turning into one! :roll:
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