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SPEED!




Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

SPEED!

Postby jreads » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:32 pm

My sponsee posed an interesting question a couple days ago. He said he was hearing people at tables talking about being in the program for many months or even years, and just getting into a fourth and fifth step. My sponsee celebrated 60 days with us not long ago; he asked, "Am I going too fast?" He did what I think is a good fourth step, he talked it over with me for several hours. It hurt to listen. We have since been through several intense discussions of what step 6 and 7 are, and he asked me to walk him through them, so we walked through them together.

My answer was that if he was confident that each step was done honestly and thoroughly, and if he was very aware that he would cycle back through the steps again and again, he was ready for the next step when he was ready. It isn't a race...but concentrate on winning! Winning means something other than coming in first for us in AA. I also told him that as you begin work on a new step, you may find you just cannot do it. That would tell you you needed to back up and work a while longer on the previous one. And I think I believe what I said, but you may sense my uncertainty.

Any feedback?

Jim
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Postby Dallas » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:31 pm

Hi Jim. Thanks for sharing.

One of the things that I've discovered for myself is -- how I could get hung up at times on the seriousness of the technicalities of wanting to do things perfectly. :lol: I think another word for it is Perfectionism. (Or, maybe I just made up the word and thought I heard it some where). :wink:

Now, with a little time and experience on the path -- I have a wider view than I did in the past. And, I can see that -- at the moment -- we do it the way that we do it and that's the way that we do it. When it works, we eventually look back and say "Wow! Imagine that! It worked like that, too!"

I've watched those that go through slow -- and I've had the guys I worked with ask the same question that yours did -- "Am I going too fast?"

My experience has been that most of them made it and a couple of them didn't. And, best of all, for me... is that I'm still here sober.... trying to help another one.

For me, I take them through all the steps fast. We normally do it in a couple of days. All 12 -- even though, it will take them some time to finish up all of 9. And, I immediately get them on a daily 10, 11 & 12. We do it right out of the BB. No 12 & 12 & no other literature other than the BB.

When they balk -- we go back and look at Step 1.

I know many other people that do it different than I do -- and, it seems to work just fine for them, the way they do it, too.

Probably the three keys are:

1. Just do it. And,
2. Spend as much time as you can helping other alkies.
3. And, keep on doing it.

Best wishes,

Dallas
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Postby jreads » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:48 pm

Thanks, Dallas. My sponsor keeps telling me...if you do the best that you can, you have done what can be done. The young man I am sponsoring seems to really get it...and is very aware that if we get stuck, we can back up. He is also doing all of this a long way from home home, and he is planning to work through step 8, and be ready for parts of step 9 when his family will be here for a visit. Thoughtful, insightful chap.
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Postby SSSNW » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:58 am

Hey Dallas,

I am 19 years sober, sponsoring and loving this site. Question - in your post within the Speed forum pasted below, can you tell me: do you read the 1st 164 pages together in the 2 days or just snippets from the BB related to each of the steps as you take them through? I have been taking women thru the BB page by page, and working the steps as we go, but it takes a long time and in some cases I think speed would be better for maintaining their early sobriety... I like to hear how others do it so I appreciate hearing more about your approach.

"For me, I take them through all the steps fast. We normally do it in a couple of days. All 12 -- even though, it will take them some time to finish up all of 9. And, I immediately get them on a daily 10, 11 & 12. We do it right out of the BB. No 12 & 12 & no other literature other than the BB."

Thanks,
Sober & Sponsoring in the NW
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Postby Dallas » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:34 pm

Thanks for your question! And, welcome to the site!

I love this topic! And, I have a tendency to get carried away with long-winded answers on it... :lol: However, I'll try to spare you of that painful experience, and stick to the short answers! :lol:

1. Both. First I make sure that they have met the reading directions mentioned in Chapter 7, by reading. Then, when we go through the Steps, "taking them through" the Steps... we start on the front cover, and then, while not going through every single page together, we will definitely cover the pages where they are to be asking themselves certain questions... and answering those questions. Also -- every single page that has a description of "taking this Step" (each of the Steps)

2. The only time I don't do it that way is: If the person can't read. And, we should be very aware -- that many of the people that we are going to encounter -- can not read. This is so heart-breaking sometimes. The person would rather admit to you that they are alcoholic -- but, would rather die on the gallows before they admit to you that they cannot read. So, we have to be gentle in our approach about this and also not just hand them a book and say read this -- we never hear from them again -- and then we get cocky that "well! he/she didn't follow suggestions and wouldn't work with us!" We have an ultimate responsibility -- to guide this person through the Steps.

3. While trying to keep it short... I do want to mentions: Our Big Book instructs us to "give them a copy of our book." It doesn't tell us to have them go online, or a book store, or Central Office, or a meeting, and "buy a book." Part of our responsibility is to: provide them with a copy of the book.

4. Chapter 7, Working With Others... has the complete detailed instructions.

Again, thanks for your question! I appreciate you! And, I appreciate what you are doing to sponsor and to help others! This is the future of our Fellowship. Sponsorship! And, it's "our responsibility" to "fit ourselves to be of MAXIUM service to those around us... that means working at it -- to better ourselves and our skills at -- sponsorship."

Best wishes,

Dallas
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Postby Dallas » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:36 pm

btw: 2. above... meaning... "if they can't read... then I will go through every single page of the book... reading it to them AND with them, hopefully, helping them to learn to read... at least some, or better, by the time we are finished.
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Postby SSSNW » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:37 pm

Thanks for referring me back to Chapter 7 Dallas. One more question: when you have them read the book as outlined in the chapter, do you tell them they have to read the whole thing? or 1st 164? or some other subset?

I appreciate your thoughts and time!
SSSNW
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Postby Ranman99 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:33 am

Some great stuff here. When I talk to a guy who thinks he may want what we have I tell him to pick up a red and green highlighter and go through the first 103 and let me know when he has done that. I tell him to mark in green things that seem to be agreeable and in red things that seem to irk his banana.

I do this as a simple way to get him into the book without too many expectations. We then sit down and see if he is ready for step 1.

I like to try and get them to do at least that much in the first week of coming in. After that I try to move along to step 8 within a couple months and making them write stuff for every step. For me anyway I learned if the guy has a writing assignment and isn't doing it. I remind him he is not doing it and then I move on till he does it. Otherwise I have a tendancy to wast a lot of my own breath.

The kicker is I have only sponsored two blokes and they both got hung up at step 8 and starting balking all over the place. Luckily the first guy slipped got scared came back and (with my help) got a new sponsor and is doing well today. The other guy is in real danger. I have though recommended the highlighter approach to a few guys that I never sponsored. I think one of them just came back after 6 months and said something about his wife and kid moving out. The first guy I sponsored who moved on to a new sponsor is sponsoring him. Dang what a program.

It can be a judgement call but any alkies like me need to get in deep with strong sponsorship and keep moving. Was never good for me not to grow a little bit every week. I paid the price many times.

This time I got through the bulk of the work in about 2.5 months. Just wrapped up a few key amends that needed the face to face touch at about 18 months. Now I am 20 months on Friday and still trying to stay out of my own way and be of service. I was in and out and talking nonsense most of the time for 18 years and I do not recall anyone telling me during those 18 years you better get on to these steps ASAP. Actually that is probably not true because I was in an out patient treatment program for 18 months once that probably said that :oops:

When we are ready we are ready :P

I would also recommend any sponsee's to join this site and if they don't believe the crap I am telling them I had to do they can check with you guy's.

Ciao,
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Postby Rain » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:38 pm

Ohhh. I like this subject.

When I got sober I wanted to work the steps. All the steps. I had a sponsor that was an alcohol councelor and kept giving me multiple alternative 4th step options and delays. :?
Frankly I wasn't scared of doing the steps until I was told that I should be scared.
Finally, I decided "bugger this for a game of soldiers" :twisted: I'm going to do what it says in the book, and that's just going to have to be good enough.

So, I did my 4th (as in the book), did my 5th with a priest (as suggested in the book (for Catholics FYI)), and right through to 12.

Lo and behold working the steps worked. :D

Then I found out some other things:

1. There is a "Table Mate" or "Table Talk" system developed by early AA's as a guide to getting newcomers through the steps. It's an outline of how to do things, and takes people through the steps in 4 meetings (four weeks).

2. There was a hall near me that was working this way (didn't recognize it at the time), but would do a 4th step mtg every Saturday. 15-40 people would come, do their 4th step in a couple of hours, and be ready to go do the 5th.

3. I've never, EVER seen somebody get drunk from too much or too fast work twards a spiritual experience by working the AA program.

4. I've seen heard, and mostly not seen LOTS of people drop out and get drunk "working on", "preparing" or "getting ready" to do the steps.

My .02
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Postby Dallas » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:43 pm

First -- I apologize to SSSNW for not answering the question sooner. There are times when, I log on and see that there are new messages -- and then something happens that knocks me off line. And, when I get logged back in, the notices for the new messages are gone -- and I miss them.

In regards to your question: I don't work with an established format for having them read the stories in the back of the book. Whenever I think it's important for them to read a story in the back of the book, I only direct them to stories that were published in the First Edition of the book, and not stories that were included after the First Edition. I like sticking with the pure stuff without additives. I drank my liquor straight with no mixers and I like my recovery straight -- with no mixers.

-----------------

Rain, just want more than anything else to thank you for your participation here in the forum! I appreciate you sharing your time and experience! It's helpful to me and to many others that cruise thought the forum reading and searching for answers -- and we never hear from them. That's okay. We were able to help them anyway. And, if it didn't help them -- at least it helped us to make the effort.

I had an experience that was not the same, but similar to yours. My very first sponsor was very active in AA and helped many for the 17 years he had sober before he sponsored me. He was reasonably experienced with the Big Book, was a Pioneer in H&I, and held 4th Step workshops.

However, he didn't really adhere to how they took the Steps, historically speaking. When I finally took my Steps -- I was taking them undiluted out of the Big Book, with the help of some Charlie and Joe tapes that I had been listening to. I'd have to say that my sponsor learned a few things as I used him -- so that I could do my Step work.

I still give him much of the credit for helping me stay sober long enough to find the answers in the book. After I finished Step 7, and went back to him to do Step 8, he pretty much resigned on me -- with the explanation that I needed more help than he had the experience for, when it came to making my amends. I had some pretty big stuff to deal with and it was out of his league. While I enlisted a group of men in a men's stag meeting to sponsor me through Step 9, I still called my sponsor my sponsor -- until I finally switched over to the sponsor that I currently have.

I had completely tooken -- the 12 Steps by the time I got to my current sponsor -- so we didn't spend a lot of time on "taking the Steps" -- we've spent our time on my learning and acquiring structure and discipline in practicing the principles of the 12 Steps and living the AA philosophy. He has been here to guide me in daily living and growing and understanding and improving my effectiveness in living sober. I still had much to learn -- and I'm still learning! :wink:

Thanks again -- for all that you are doing here Rain! I appreciate you!

Dallas
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