- Different Levels of Sponsorship

Different Levels of Sponsorship

Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

Different Levels of Sponsorship

Postby Susan » Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:03 pm

I hate people who only sponsor new people!! :twisted: They run with someone until they are through the steps and then dump them. A year is hardly enough time to find all the answers in the BB and 12+12. Maybe this is just a women thing. Do men do this also? I am glad my sponsor did not dump me after we did the the first run of the steps. Here is where I come in, I pick up a lot of these dumped women. Some how if you can only work with new people you are not growing. I just think that the longer I am sober I should be growing in emotional sobriety, and can share at all levels. I believe that all people are important in AA not just new people. This subject may be difficult for new people but you may be able to share how you would feel about it.
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Postby Dallas » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:16 pm

Hey finch!!

Great to hear from you!

My first sponsor dumped me at Step 8... He said I needed someone more qualified to help me.... but, I hung on to him anyway. Kept calling him my sponsor even after I found others to help me. For me, he will always be my first sponsor and saved my life. And, I continued to use him as my sponsor as long as I could.... and, I used others, too, as my sponsors.

My current sponsor I've had since 1994. He let me go once (because of my not doing as directed) -- but, I just kept coming back and not leaving and calling him and everything just like he was my sponsor -- long enough until I guess he forgot he let me go. :lol: :lol:

There are many Old-Timers that still need a sponsor.... so I hope you don't give up on helping and sponsoring people with time.

My personal belief is: I should always have a sponsor regardless of how long I'm sober. If my sponsor dies before I do -- I'll have to find another sponsor. That's how it works for me. I can't suggest something to someone else -- if I'm not doing it myself.

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Postby Susan » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:09 pm

I agree with you Dallas, we will always need a sponsor and we will always need friends. Maybe women are more sensitive with this. Out here we have sponsors that only work with a person one year, period. We women cry and all. When they ask " did I do something wrong" The person says "no" it is time to move on. The person feels badly burned because they shared every thing with this person and now, no friend nothing. I just don't like it that's all I guess. I can't seem to find any history that states this type of sponsorship :roll:
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Postby garden variety » Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:42 pm

Hiya Finch,

I know a little about that situation you're talking about. I don't quite understand how or why things like you described happen with women and their sponsors in this northern Ohio area, but there is something wrong if you ask me. Let me tell you about some of the things I've seen.

I know a lady who had 12 years sober. She was needing a new sponsor, and this new gal from another state happens to show up at one of her meetings. The new gal from another state has 22 + years sober and this girl with 12 years gets together with her, they get to know each other, and the girl who moved here decides to sponsor the other girl after she was asked.

About 2-3 years into their sponsor-protege' relationship, the girl with less sobriety starts dating. Not new guys, just dating. She gets a steady boyfriend. The sponsor with 22+ years tells her protege', now with over 12 years that she is not ready to date. The protege' first of all gets hurt because the sponsor didn't give her any reasons why that made sense. But she likes the guy, and he is in the fellowship with many years too. The guy doesn't know the sponsor, but the sponsor "trashes" the guy and tells her protege' to stop dating him or else.

The "or else" happened. The sponsor dumps the protege' and trashes her to the group of girls they both hung around with. Now the protege' loses her support group because the sponsor has a habit of intimidating girls with less sobriety. Not a single girl will say anything about the woman with 22 years even though she is plain wrong and mean by now.

I won't mention names, Finch, because there is a good possibility you know somebody I'm talking about. Not saying that to say you're bad, but just letting you know that I know how a few ladies around this area conduct themselves, and it is a small world. And it is not a pretty sight to watch or be part of. And it's not heresay either. If you've lived around here any time and dated someone in the fellowship, you WILL run into this kind of thing.

See a lady I'm friends with also told me a few things about some of the differences between the way guys sponsor and ladies sponsor around here. She said a lady and her sponsor have "relationships" that are deeper then men do. I agree. That's in line with what you say about feeling "badly burned".

I hate to say this Finch, but what you're talking about is real and it hurts, and it happens a lot. I can tell you been through some of this by your words. I bet you probably blamed yourself when a sponsor who you thought was your friend just "turned" on you. You probably had a "relationship" with your sponsor (I don't mean sexual) and thought you were close. You probably cried when she "let you go" - like you said "no friend nothing". If you didn't get trashed in your support group, or you didn't have to "go outside your circle" to meet a new sponsor and build a new support group, I would be surprised.

My heart really goes out to you Finch - it's not supposed to be like this. Now I'll bet you have been nothing less than a compassionate and caring AA woman. You probably can be counted on to pick up the new girls, and you probably help your fellow AA women when they are down and out by giving them rides and talking to them when they're crying at 1 AM. Then BOOM - something happens you can't explain, and you're on the outs with your sponsor, your friends, and support group. Maybe you even feel like you hate AA at times because of the contradictions you've experienced.

Maybe I'm way wrong or off base. I'm sorry if I overstepped. I'm not trying to put you on the spot, either. But I tell you what, I might not be a girl, but I have seen some of the things you're talking about and more. I've been called a guy who thinks with his "hardware" (you know the other word that begins with "d"), and the lady sponsor that said that has not ever met me, and doesn't know me - and she is wrong (there were more than one who said things like this about me). I've seen too many girls get confused and discouraged because they thought their relationship was one way with a sponsor, but the sponsor had other ideas.

I don't know why it's that way. I wish it wasn't. Women have the cards stacked against them when they come into the program. "Society" judges women alcoholics different than men. Men are given more chances by both men and women. Women are given less. Women are looked at from the get-go as horrible and disgusting if they are alcoholics. Men are looked at as though alcoholism is expected. Relapses? Men can do it a whole lot more. Women that go back out drinking get snarled up and glared out of the fellowship by other women that were once friends or sponsors - to stay drunks or to die - or to maybe find a new group of AA girls across that river that doesn't know the first group of ladies.

You are right, there is nothing in the book or traditions that says this is how you sponsor. I don't blame you if you don't like it either - all I can say is I know you're not alone.
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Postby Susan » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:05 pm

Thank You Garden variety, I appreciate your thoughts and comment. What I can do is choose the way I sponsor. Presentation of the information is just as important as the information. Thanks Again :D
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Postby tj » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:14 pm


Wow, I can see having a problem with that sort of sponsorship. From my brief observation and from reading some things on this forum, I do think that men and women sponsor differently. Goodness, they do everything else differently, I don't know why sponsorship would be an exception. I also know from my life experience and from having two girls, that girls/women can be downright mean. Just my opinion.

Sponsorship in my group in Spring, Tx definitely lasts longer than a year. I know that my sponsor has many sponsees besides me. My sponsor has also had her sponsor for many years. That is the way it seems to work here.

I think that one of the side effects of this disease is extreme difficulty with relationships. For me, I do not have a low opinion of men, but the really abusive alcoholics in my life have been men. Because of that, I tend to be more uncomfortable around men who are alcoholics--sober or drunk. Before I sponsor anyone, I hope that my old thinking will change and I will be able to see sober alcoholic men differently. Your post has made me think about what my attitude will be toward relationships when I sponsor someone, which I hope to do in the near future. Thanks. What you and Paul have said has helped me today.

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Postby GeoffS » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:20 am

finch893 wrote:Thank You Garden variety, I appreciate your thoughts and comment. What I can do is choose the way I sponsor. Presentation of the information is just as important as the information. Thanks Again :D

I kinda hope you mean delivery, not presentation.
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Postby Susan » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:52 am

I guess I mean how you say the information in the BB, and how you talk to people about recovery.
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Postby GeoffS » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:17 am

finch893 wrote:I guess I mean how you say the information in the BB, and how you talk to people about recovery.

I thought that was what you meant, but some people dilute the message by trying to present it in distracting ways!
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Different levels of sponsorship

Postby daily reprieve » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:28 pm

When a new man gets to the ninth step, has made an easy or middle-of-the- road amends (not a big one) and has, in my estimation, a safe level of emotional and physical sobriety, I usually suggest that he work the steps with another sponsor and we will pick up where we left off, if he chooses. I don't fire them. Just suggest they get a new set of eyes to look at the same issue (namely, the fourth step). He is reassured that I will do anything to help him stay sober and can call me at any time. If he works steps 10-12 with his new sponsor, he can get my input on how I work those same steps. By the time he gets to the "daily maintenance" steps, he now has 2 perspectives on how to "practice these principles in all our affairs" and neither should conflict with the other. He now has 2 people who are intimately familiar with his story with whom he can confide and if things don't work with a new sponsor, he can ALWAYS return to work with me. His support group grows around him. He becomes less dependent upon one person and ultimately he can mix and match what worked for his sobriety, learned by working with 2 sponsors, when the time comes for him to be of service to a newcomer. That's what I did and is just a suggestion for what worked with me. The process helped create multiple levels of sponsorship for me and their is nothing wrong with that as long as they don't conflict and aren't used as a means to get the answer I WANT rather than the answer I NEED.
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