Sponsor Resentments.... ??? What to do, Where to go

Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,
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Sponsor Resentments.... ??? What to do, Where to go

Postby Catherine » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:44 am

Thank you, thank you for this site!!! I'm so grateful for you. My only wish is to have thought of this a few months ago. I'm 7 years sober. Very active in my program. I have a sponsor with 20 years sobriety, I currently work with 4 women, I attend regular meetings with 2 commitments and hold a weekly book study (in which we actually read and discuss the text). Most days I’m in prayer and gratitude. I am also married to a recovering alcoholic and have a new baby we adore. Indeed, the promises of a beautiful new way of life have come true for us.

That being said, I write to you now with a heavy heart, a resentful, busy head and an argumentative marriage in which I’m trying to take charge of my side of the street.

My question is this….
Who should I speak to about my resentments towards my sponsor? There have been recent events in the past few months in which I have been in doubt of her judgment and in doubt of my feelings towards her. This doubt has stirred up the memory banks of several wounds inflicted from her over the years that I ever so skillfully pushed aside and tried my best to let go. The problem is that they never were discussed with anyone (my pride and my fear getting the best of me) and they are now causing emotional upset in other areas in my life. She is a remarkably woman and does great things for countless men and women I simply don’t feel the connection anymore and don’t know what to do. In the past, there were select instances in which I have brought up my hurts/ fears however I was greeted with an angry defense system and manipulation that left me feeling more shame and guilt for even bringing it up in the first place. I'm just allowing myself to be hurt and frustrated by my expectations of leadership. Now, over the past few months I’ve grown more and more distant and am without a forum for other areas of discomfort.

I have written my list and see my part very clearly. (Another one of your topics here was ironically similar but very helpful) Self centered expectations, Fear, Dishonestly, Pride, Ego…etc.

However, I’m stumped at how to present these emotions to her. (we’re scheduled to meet tomorrow evening) My gut instinct tells me to take my inventory tomorrow to another woman rather then start WWIII with my sponsor (who is verrry sensitive and takes offense quite easily.) I’m thinking that if I work the inventory with another, perhaps I can move beyond it all?

I’m sure you’re swamped with inquiries, but please if you have a moment, could you tell me your thoughts on the matter?

Gratitude and love,

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Postby Dallas » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:39 am

This seems to be a problem that has been going on for more than a short time. If I were to guess -- other than physical sobriety -- I wouldn't guess that she has "what you want."

So, my questions I would ask myself, if I were in a similar situation is:

1. Why has it gone on this long?
2. Do I want what the sponsor has?
3. Does the sponsor know how to use the tools -- to solve her problems?
4. If she does know how to use the tools to solve her problems -- then, why isn't she using them?

It is possible to "out grow" a sponsor. However, if I look back at Bill W.'s experience -- even though Ebby couldn't stay sober -- Bill always referred to Ebby as his sponsor. So, there is definitely more than one or two ways to look at a situation w/ a sponsor.

What I would do, if I were in your situation:

I would take my written inventory of my resentments, and fears -- on the sponsor -- and attempt to do a 5th Step with her on it.

Doing that -- I would have done my part. And, I would reserve making a decision until after that. At some point, you'll need to resolve the problem w/ her regardless of what you do. At least, you'll need to do your part -- to resolve it w/ her. So that you'll feel comfortable in saying to yourself "I did my best with this situation."

Since you meet w/ her tomorrow. How about trying that -- and then, check back in tomorrow night, here, and let me know the outcome. If the problem doesn't get solved -- I'll suggest a plan B. :lol:

What do you think?

Best wishes,


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Postby Dallas » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:43 am

Note: while doing the 5th Step w/ her on it (theoretically, it's a 10th Step Inventory, I'm just using the 4th & 5th Step terminology)... I would remain at peace, calm, serene, and not allow myself to get into an argumentative or anxious state of mind & being. You're there to take care of business. And, either the sponsor will step up to the plate to take care of business or she won't. And, that should give you a good reference for what your next step will be.

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Postby Catherine » Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:22 pm

Breathe in love and exhale out all that is not love...

Dallas...you are most certainly a breath of love! Thank you so much for your quick reply and solid advice, truly it's much appreciated. Apologies for the delay on my end, my little one keeps me quite busy these days!

Upon first glance of your message, I thought to myself "what an order, I can't go thru with it!!". I then proceeded to get myself in an anxious ball about it, then I prayed. An old therapist friend brought up the same concerns that you did. Why don't I feel comfortable being totally honest/ genuine with my sponsor? And for me, thats what's been at hand for quite some time now, and I seems that it's more my work that I need to do rather then pointing a finger at her. (sigh...)

Action & more action...that is my solution. After marinating on your pearls of wisdom, I resolved to call another female mentor of mine, one whom I've always enjoyed for her 28 years of soft, gentle sobriety. Last year she went through the steps with a grand-sponsee of Bill Wilsons. He took her through the steps the classic Bill way (whatever way that is) and she was aglow about it. Said it re-invented her own sobriety. Dallas, I felt SO empowered just having called her!! She said it will take a few months to go thru the book & work the steps together. She started me on pages 1-63 of the BB and will meet with me to review/ work steps 1-3 after I finish reading. (And how wonderful it just reading the book without having to teach it, or be in a meeting. Just allowing the words to soak into me, all for me)

In the meantime, I did meet up with my sponsor the other night and had a wonderful time. While I did not bring up my re-surfaced resentments towards her, we did go into everything else that's been on my mind and truly had a beautiful talk about it. I'm hoping that whatever is blocking me right now will be revealed and then I can go back to discuss it in further depth with my sponsor. With a clean head and a clean heart.

Not sure if it's the best solution, but it feels right. And isn't that what we're all seeking to achieve?

Thank you again Dallas
Be well

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Postby sunlight » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:13 pm

Sometimes you just never know.

My former sponsor (she has since passed away) was acting strangely. She was zooming around like a whirlwind, short-tempered, critical and acting out of character. I talked to her about it, telling her I was concerned about her, but she dismissed it as stress.

I was at a horrible place in my life & felt the need to take the steps again. She mocked me :shock: & said I didn't need that. She wanted to do some religious thing instead. (We were of the same faith) I told her that was not what I felt I needed.

Now we were very close & loved each other very much. I didn't understand what was happening, but I knew I needed the steps. So I found another woman that I respected, to take me through them again. I told my sponsor, but she was in such a tizzy I don't even think she heard me. Not long after, she died suddenly.

My mother always used to say when people were acting poorly, "Maybe they don't feel well", the assumption being that nobody who is feeling good would behave that way. With my former sponsor, that surely was true.

I can't always know what's going on, but I can always take care of myself, & always treat others with kindness.

Blessings, Catherine :D

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