Hello Heather16!!! Welcome to Step12.com!!! I'm sure glad you're here. We can use your experience, strength and hope... so, I hope you'll be doing a lot of sharing with us!!!
Hey to you, also Cinderbobble, and BlueAngel!!! Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope, also!!! Glad you're here, too!
Heather16 wrote: This is a difficult problem for me--When do you as a Sponsor tell your sponsee it is not working?
The answer is in Chapter 7, "Working with others" (The 12th Step) of the Big Book.
I'm on a hiatus from sponsoring anyone... too frustrating for my blood. I'll detox them, take them through the 12 Steps, and be a friend... but currently... not their Sponsor. And, I'm not too big a fan of picking up sober drunks to take them to a meeting. I didn't get pampered when I was new. If I didn't have a ride... they said "Walk, ride a bike, take a bus, call a cab. How did you get to the liquor store? Do you need directions on where to walk to the meeting?" (Drunk drunks... that's different... I'll pick them up and let them puke in my car on the way to a meeting... but if they've been sober a day or two... they can walk, just like I would have had to walk) I believe what the Big Book indicates in Chapter 7, that when our work appears to be that of a "service provider" in nature ... we can be harming an alcoholic more than we're helping them. (Paraphrase is mine).
I can only pass on what has been passed on to me. The only way I can sponsor someone else... would be to pass on my experience of being sponsored. I can't pass on something I haven't got.
My sponsor is a real tough guy, with a heart as big as the world... and he doesn't stand for any BS. If I don't follow his suggestions... I have already ended my sponsor / sponsee relationship. It's that simple. I want what he's got. My life has consistently gotten better and better and better as a result of following his suggestions and direction... Probably, one of my greatest fears... is that one day, I could call him up and he would say "Take a hike and go find yourself a new sponsor!" This guy has literally saved my life many times over! He is the one, that my Higher Power works through and speaks to me through... and, that's the way it works for me.
My understanding of the original manuscript of the Big Book... and further on in the final published edition of the Big Book... the words "directions" are used, and are not meant to be taken as "suggestions." So, I personally respond better to "directions and instructions" rather than "suggestions."
When my sponsor gives me direction... and I don't follow it... the next time I called him... he would say something like "Why are you calling me? You need to be calling your sponsor." He helps a lot of alcoholics, and he let me know right from the beginning that it's very inappropriate for me to waste his time... and that if I want to waste my time... that's my business... but don't waste his time when I'm wasting mine.
I understand about living in a "new area." I went through the same thing when I moved to where I'm living now. My old home group, and the area that I came from is very strong on sponsorship... structure, discipline, responsibility, and the only way you not show up for your AA committment is if you're in jail, the hospital, or dead! And, if you're not dead... you're supposed to get on the phone and let people know where you are... and have someone cover your committment! (Yep. You're supposed to show up even if you got drunk!)
The area that I live now... has historically been very weak on sponsorship. Weak on structure, discipline, responsibility... and it's common for people that chair AA meetings to realize either a half-hour, or a couple of days after the meeting they were supposed to chair... that they missed their committment to their meeting. Then, they offer an excuse of "Well, I was moving, or unpacking, and forgot to look at the clock and forgot I was supposed to be at the meeting!"
I know... that sounds like "exaggeration"... but, it isn't!
For me? If I lived that way... or took my AA committments that lightly... it would be someone else typing this message, because I would already be too busy drinking instead of hanging out here in the forum!
I hope you don't get the idea that I'm "complaining about it" ... I'm not complaining... it isn't my problem, and it isn't my results. The only thing that I can do... is do what I do... differently. I'm not the AA Police or anything! And, I'm sure as heck not in charge of anything other than my own actions!
Maybe, I've got a "mis-printed" Big Book or something... my Book talks about being willing to go to ANY lengths... to get over alcohol. I'm willing to do that. If someone else is not willing... it's none of my business... and I sure don't want them waking me up in the middle of the night whining on their pitty-pot about their problems... when they haven't been willing to take the actions necessary to have different problems!
Thanks for letting me share!!! Thanks for letting me hang out here in the forum with you, too!!! I'm surprised you guys haven't booted me out of here by now!