I'm really impressed that you brought up the subject of sponsorship. I posted a little something about mine over here in this topic thread: http://www.step12.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=969
I don't know about "deep" or "intimate". For me the most important part is trust. I had a sponsor I didn't choose at first - the group secretary just assigned him to me. I ended up "choosing" my current sponsor because I changed home groups. But the one that was "assigned" to me before at my old group was not someone I would have picked, but by golly that fellow turned out to be a great sponsor who is a friend still today. He was someone I knew I could trust, and he was totally honest with me - no BS or sugar coating even when it went against what some of the longtimers said. He had less sobriety than me and was younger, too.
But he was really a great man who helped me a whole lot - the most important part was going through the steps real careful and just like the book says. I tell you what - I could never be more thankful to a man than that fellow who knew the steps and was always right in line with the book. I really needed to work the steps with my best effort, and he was the one who helped me do that. At first he was not a close "friend" or "intimate" about anything. He did my fifth step with me and got mad at himself because he never did 5th's before, and realized he never wanted to do them again. But that actually was how him and me got to become friends later on down the line.
Now the man who is my sponsor today is a fellow I would not have chosen either. When I changed home groups, I knew a couple fellows that I really wanted to be my sponsor. Then one Sunday, out of the blue this guy walks up to me - he somehow could sense something wasn't quite right with me (I had some heavy decisions on my mind), but he seen me before and knew I wasn't a new guy. So he comes out of himself and just started things off by asking me if I needed a ride home. I said no and thanked him and thought no more about the guy.
But when the time came to choose the next sponsor at my new home group, I "almost" had my mind made up about these guys I knew - BUT I never asked or prayed about it. I shot off one of those "arrow prayers" that minute to "get the OK" from God about which one of the two guys I wanted to be my sponsor to pick. Almost instantly - really - the thought that never crossed my mind suddenly crossed my mind. I looked over at George from across the room and I found myself tearing up and getting chills - then I got a certainty about that fellow like I can't describe. He was a total stranger, never even knew him. But if there could be a "dialogue" between God and me, it went something like this.
"Which one God? Tom or John?" - I asked feeling eager to pick a guy I knew and called up before with many years of quality sobriety.
"Look over there by the door, Paul. See that fellow George?" - that would be God "talking".
I looked over at George with some confusion because I never thought anything about him. I actually didn't like his voice or what seemed like his gruff manner, but I did know he was sober for a long time.
"Him?" - me talking to God again.
"Who was the first man in this home group that ever offered to help you without you even asking for help?" - God talking again.
I said WHOA to myself! I thought about Tom and John, and they always helped me whenever I asked or called. But "God" was 100% correct - neither one ever asked me if I needed help on their own. George was the first man in the group to reach out and offer help - and he did it at a time when I had heavy stuff on my mind. I mean he just asked me if I needed a ride, but I know he sensed I had things on my mind and maybe he just wanted to start somewhere?
By this time in my sobriety, I knew pretty much it was a done deal and I really didn't have any argument with God. I just said "Well if you say him, then that's who I'll ask to sponsor me." I didn't sweat it over the other guys who I knew better. I just accepted who I "intuitively" knew was God's choice. I also figured since George wasn't someone I wanted or would have picked, then it follows what I was taught about not doing the things I want to do. My "will" wasn't even involved, but buddy my "spirit" knew the answer!
So I asked him, and he agreed.
That's where the strange parts disappeared and the really profound stuff started happening.
After I asked him, he gave me his number and told me where he lived. Then he said go sign up to attend the business meeting and dinner. I did what he said. He watched me and I walked back to him ready to leave. Then he says he's going on a "spiritual retreat" in Kentucky in a couple weeks - he thinks it woud be a good idea for me to go with him. Now I'm starting to wonder what in THEE HELL have I got into? They really get you to work right away in this group! He has to know that I'm not a Catholic! I never went on a retreat before.
I couldn't say no. I just told him I'll check it out at work if they'll let me take time off, trying my hardest to avoid the idea. Of course he must have picked up on this so he starts that "mind drilling" routine sponsors seem to intuitively know how to do. He asks where I work and I tell him. He says great, he also works for the same organization, but in a different agency and location - I shouldn't have any problems getting the time off. Call him up tomorrow to let him know if I can go.
I says and thinks to myself "Oh sh_it! I can't weasel out of this! This "MF" means business and he's got my number! I'll never be able to BS this guy!" Man that younger fellow in my old home group with less sobriety suddenly seemed like the best sponsor I ever had - maybe I shouldn't have changed groups. This went down the first night I asked George to be my sponsor.
Man, I was cornered. I couldn't back out of anything, and now I began to realize that this group was all about the business of ACTION in sobriety. I mean even after a few years of sobriety and working the steps the right way, I was still looking for the easier softer way. I was "comfortable" in my activity level at my other home group. I had the routines down and was in a comfortable pace and groove there. But here - A totally different animal!
The guys from my old home group were pointing and laughing at me from across the room. They must have seen the kodak expression of horror on my face from a distance. They knew I had just jumped in the deep side of the pool by joining this group and picking out George to be my sponsor. I went back to talk to them. My best buddy from my old group with 20 years says "Boy did you pick the right sponsor! You got a good sponsor!"
All this to say that if "my will" would have been involved, none of this would have went down this way. I'm too much of a real alcoholic, and way too lazy to get myself into this kind of work, commitment, and fellowship. I was looking for an easier softer way, but God was doing for me what HE KNEW
I would never
do for myself.
So I learned more about my sponsor and I could see real clear why God thought he was the best choice. I went home that night and it dawned on me - this guy George, when he offered me a ride home, he was going about 50 miles opposite the direction where he lived. He was willing to give me a ride home that would have kept him driving over an hour out of his way.
Today I realize what that really means, and I still am in awe about it. Like I said earlier, this guy knew something was on my mind the night he offered a ride. He might not have known what it was, but he knew if he rode me home, he'd have plenty of time to pry me open and find out.
Over time, I've given him some pretty big surprises, too. He thought he was getting a "low maintenance" potegee'. When I called him one day with certain Federal officials at my door, that took him off guard a bit. But all in all, we've both had a blast getting to know each other.
You see - new protege's really do keep their longer-time sponsors on their toes, too. We help them by being so off-kilter at first that they really have to get to thinking hard and pulling out the book and brushing up on their own sobriety. I have less than half the years sober here than Dallas, but buddy I know I keep that fellow on his toes. That's because newer folks are pretty much less predicatable. Weird and stupid stuff just flows out of our mouths and hearts at probably what seem the worst or most awkward times for our mentors - it just happens natural. I know without even looking that Dallas keeps his sponsor on his toes the same way. I think it's because each one of us is "new" every day if we're doing this thing right. We're new to some longtimer, and longtimers are even new to longer-timers.
It happens that way to me when I get a new protege'. They always help me just by being new with no clues about the program - sort of just like you Kelly. You will be a big blessing to the woman that sponsors you. You will help her so much and you don't even have to try or be anything other than a new girl without a clue how to live sober. It's a guarantee you'll help someone with more time than you. Gosh you really help me - really! I'm listening to Manette on here, and boy I sense her excitement and enthusiasm about you, and I'm right beside her. I understand that sense of wonder she's experiencing and sharing with us.
Really, I know this is long, but this is LIFE. It's a beautiful thing to actively be a part of. I hope my rambling on about sponsorship makes some sense to you or someone. Shoot sometimes I just talk too much!
OK I'll be seated now. Thanks Kelly!