Mysterious recurring problem with sponsees - Whats my part?

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Postby Dallas » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:24 pm

~Big Book, pg 96 wrote:Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again.
You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept
with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time
to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with
you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon
become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To
spend too much time on any one situation is to deny
some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy.

One of our Fellowship failed entirely with his first half
dozen prospects.
He often says that if he had continued
to work on them, he might have deprived many others,
who have since recovered, of their chance.

The gift of desperation. :lol:

Alcoholics are great starters -- they just don't finish well.

I'm not sure if Bill was embellishing when he wrote the above -- about the one that failed with his first half-dozen, or, if this was a success story! :lol:

When we look back on Bill's experiences before he hooked up w/ Dr. Bob (the first one that stayed sober as a result of Bill's efforts) ... Bill was providing them food, shelter, letting them live in his house, they were tearing up his house, getting drunk, thrashing the clothes & furniture, and committing suicide. Bill was discouraged by the time he met up w/ Dr. Bob. And, he didn't go looking for Dr. Bob "to be of service." He was searching for an alcoholic to help BECAUSE he would drink again if he didn't.

Perhaps, the reason more of them don't make it is -- we would run out of prospects, and then, what would we do to keep us sober? :lol:

Maybe that's what we need to remember. It's not about them. It's about our sobriety. That's what keeps US sober... regardless if they make it or not.

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Postby Toast » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:37 pm

This is so true,

[This is a very common stumbling block to long term sobriety, it happens a LOT]

Our batch of newbies who came in after new years and got the ' Holy Trinity of AA' by June and then left are now slowly but surely limping back to meetings. The very short summer we had was way far too long for them. And there's only so much you can take of Celine Dion singing ' All by Myself' before you think about doing some serious self harm! :D

Had a sponsee's dad call me once to give me some serious grief. He called me at work so i was caught off guard. Bawling down the phone he said the advice i gave his son about tapering off by useing a half bottle of vodka a day wasn't working? You've got to love em! :lol:

As they say ' if you dont go to meetings you never find out what happens to people who dont go to meetings'. :lol:

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Postby Toast » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:51 pm

But tonight we live the bonus's of regular attendance at AA. My six year granddaughter is now insisting i put this computer off and go play cards with her. God bless her cotton socks. :P

My son's wife had a baby girl just over a week ago but he dont speak to me or his mom so we aint seen that one yet, this one is my daughters kid so we'll just have to be grateful for what we've got and not fret about what we've not 8)

Love,light,laughter :lol:

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Postby TrailerTrashDood » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:07 am


Getting suddenly & unceremoniously "dumped" by sponsees I really care about is NOT good for my sobriety. In fact, it makes me feel terrible.

My problem is that I have this strange, chronic inability to be able to tell the difference between guys who are willing to "do the deal", and guys who are not.
Usually what happens is that they are all willing & enthusiastic for a minute - then I fall for it and get all involved with helping them. This goes on for between a few months, to a year. After a while they get cured, and decide its not worth it & that I can just go f*ck off.

The ones who are not willing from the very beginning, are no problem at all. It is what it is, and there is no point in chasing anyone around trying to make them do anything they're just not going to do. Live & let live, and all that.


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Postby Toast » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:09 am

Being dumped is sometimes a blessing, i'd much rather that than have someone die. The first 2 guys i ever sponsored died, both decided to play with the devil the minute i went away on holiday. And thanks to Trailers previous emails i can see now they both got the AA Holy Trinity just a few weeks before they died. And to be honest i shed not one tear, when i went to their funerals and seen the mess they left behind i wanted to kick their coffins up the ass never mind them! :twisted:

I was so angry i just about gave up the thought of sponsorship altogether after that. :(

Also had some move onto other guys so they could go through the programme again so they could indulge in the good feelings they got first time round. They seem to be on this constant cycle of going through the steps year in and year out and not doing much else with their lives? :?

Think its very important to bring sober minded guys together, both old and new to show the newer ones what real fellowship is. We go out in car loads to attend birthday meetings, small local conventions and anything else that takes our fancy. There's no one i've ever sponsored around here doesnt know the rest of the guys or have their phone number. And its not my gang, its our gang, i make sure i take a back seat :wink:

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Postby Dallas » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:40 am

Toast wrote:Think its very important to bring sober minded guys together, both old and new to show the newer ones what real fellowship is. We go out in car loads to attend birthday meetings, small local conventions and anything else that takes our fancy. There's no one i've ever sponsored around here doesnt know the rest of the guys or have their phone number.

That seems to be the most effective way that I've learned, too. When I was new -- that was what I heard that the old-timers did when they were new -- and they stayed sober. That's what I did -- and I stayed sober. And, those that I see staying sober today -- that's what they are doing. It seems to be the #1 Winning Formula of what works best.

I'm told that I have no feelings or compassion because I don't get hitched. That's probably the same thing they say about doctors -- that don't get hitched to their patients. I've got to be hitched before I can get dumped. I've got to be attached before I can suffer. If I'm suffering -- how can I really be there 100% to help someone else? No, I don't get hitched. I don't get attached. And, I don't suffer. Compassion? I think I probably have more genuine compassion than those that say that I don't have any. :lol: It's been my experience that I CAN have and demonstrate true compassion -- without getting emotionally attached, which always leads to emotional displacements and disturbances.

Empathy and Sympathy are two different deals. Empathy is: I understand your pain -- but, I don't feel your pain. Sympathy is: I feel your pain.

We can look back and see what our attachment to alcohol gave to us. And, we can look at any Al-Anon, and see what their attachment to their alcoholic gave to them. We can also look at our attachments to the alcoholics that we try to sponsor or help -- and see what it gives to us.

It doesn't mean that we don't love, don't feel, don't have emotions, don't have care and concern -- when we're unattached. We're unattached, because we do love, do feel, do have emotions, care and concern. And, we can continue to stay sober and be effective in helping others -- because we don't get paralyzed by our suffering.

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Toast & Dallas: Both right...

Postby TrailerTrashDood » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:57 pm

TOAST: You're spot on. I would rather get dumped, too. Two of them are in full relapse mode, and are looking for someone new that lets them do whatever they want, and praises them for it. (I'm sure they'll find it...)
I just found out an hour ago that the 3rd one is already using. The 4th one is close behind. Funny, now that I think about it, all this started about a month ago when I was out of town for 3 weeks or so, as well.

DALLAS: You're right. Your last post is the most thoughtful & insightful, out of all of them. Couldn't agree more.
As far as what you wrote about Toast's method, thats EXACTLY what I do. I mentioned it, in my very first post that opened this thread - I think I compared it to a kind of "circle" or subgroup, within the larger group in the meeting hall. For various reasons, they all wound up going into relapse mode at roughly the same time. Then they got together and "dumped" me when they decided to re-define how to be on the Program amongst themselves, then in turn reinforce each others' BS. I've never had that happen before. It was like a miniature, little "Beer Hall Putsch" or something... lol

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Postby Toast » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:36 am

For me the beauty of sponsorship is i heard through other people what i was like as a drunken father. True i got into it for the wrong reasons, all my life i wanted a medal for saving someone but i came out the other side of this a far more humble grateful guy. :)

It wasnt until i heard others say how much they hated their drunken Dads and how much they embarrassed them and in what ways i realised ' that's me they're talking about?'. I was that Dad. And as the man upstairs would have it every guy i've ever sponsored had a father like me, there in the same house but absent all their lives. Guess that why they say sponsorship is a two way street, it helps me as much as it helps them. It also makes me a much better granddad which is a role i love and i'm good at! :wink:

Now i know i didn't really have a good look at the programme until i looked at it through someone elses eyes. Sure i had a sponsor and i talked openly and candidly about me and my misdemeanours but i never went deep enough into the things that may have affected those i thought were far to young to know what was going on at the time? They knew alright they just never said so neither did i, let sleeping dogs lie was my philosophy back then.Times were good when i first came to AA and i didnt want to sour things again by bringing up the past. But it was there all right, lurking in a dark corner waiting on its chance, which came. :?

Now i think its been my privaledge and a blessing to have played a part in someone elses recovery. Some young dad who was about to lose everything them came to AA when it was the last card in the pack. To see the same families today all living guilt free lives and receiving post cards and emails from them on holidays near and far. Going to watch their kids play soccer in cup finals and other stuff, its all great. I always tell them what my kids missed out on so thier's dont have too. No wonder Bill W said this was a part of the journey not to be missed. :lol:

Think sponsorship has been a phase in my recovery for the last few years that now seems to be coming to an end. I simply dont get asked as much as i used too but maybe thats because i dont attend the same circle of recovery meetings i used too as much as i used too? Mind you i had a company car then and they paid the fuel, doing 80 miles a night was nothing! Funny how little things like that influence your recovery? :)

At our next group conscience i'm going to put my self forward for some kind of service work, dont know what yet, will have to see whats available. Tried being the group rep at intergroup years back, hated it, all policy and nothing about people. Also done the prisons when i first came in but that was an ego trip just to get the guys to like me, sneaking in smokes and candy past the guards. Didnt help me or them one bit and it put AA's reputation at risk with the authorities, how dumb? :oops:

Anyone any suggestions? :roll:

Love,light, laughter!:lol:

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Postby cue » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:30 pm

Toast, you could always put your name back in for prison service. Sounds like you may have a different attitude towards it now and they are always looking for people to go in.

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Postby Toast » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:57 pm

Thanks Cue, give it some thought.

Would rather do the young offenders institution than the prisons, thinks its best to catch them young. Then again i was in the YOI sharing as a one off a while back and to me they spoke a different language, all thats drugs culture lingo that i just didnt understand? Never touched the drugs, alcohol was always my catastrophy of choice and i only drank to be sociable 'by the way what you looking at, officer?' :shock:

Had a great prison meeting one christmas eve. The usual meeting room was out of comission so they put us in the prison chapel, all decked out for christmas with straw, plastic donkeys and christmas trees n stuff. These guys weren't in for parking offences and some of them may never get out but the depth of sharing that went on that night will stay with me forever. :)

A week later the group all split up after the authorities decided to move them all to different prisons, this happens a lot, i never heard from any them again. A few years later i did read a letter from one in our monthly AA magazine, he told how he'd found God and became a Budhist, good for him, real nice young man with everything to live for. :)

One that stuck with me was a distraught young guy who got drunk, grabbed a knife at a party and decided to go home and kill his insufferable alcoholic dad. Unfortunately his life long friend went to great lenghts to stop him, as friends do, so he ended up getting what was meant for the dad. So so tragic. And like a typical alcoholic the dad still cant figure out what it was all about, 'who me?' :?

So there but for the grace of God go i, or even worse my 28 yr old son who's just taken delivery of his second lovely child. :D

Dont think i could do the prisons again. At the time i was full of BS and wanted to portray myself as some kind of fearless AA warrior. I was even too tough (scared witless more like) to get a sober thinking sponsor and have a good look at me! God only knows what kind of message i passed on? Now i know the real me is far too soft hearted for all that sort of thing. I always was, the rest was just a sham. 8)

Today life may not be perfect but its a million miles better than it was, for everyone! :lol:

Love, light & langoustines :lol:

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