Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,
cue
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Postby cue » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:37 pm

My experience.
I've sponsored two females in the past. First one had already been brought through the steps and she needed someone for ongoing 10th step stuff as her old sponsor was unavailable. She had nearly three times my sobriety and we had many comfortable sharing sessions since I came to AA. I spoke to my own sponsor, prayed on it and read the sponsorship pamphlet. Then we agreed to it. It worked well for about five years and then I stopped it. I realised that I found myself becoming unuseful to her in situations where she needed strong sponsorship. The fact that she was female made me treat her differently so I suggested she look for a new sponsor. It was a good experience for both of us and I got to see my own limits, which I prefer rather than people having to point them out to me.
Around the same time I had another female sponsee who had begged me to help her and I agreed to take her through the steps. She got drunk soon afterwards and fired me which is pretty normal no matter what the gender but I'll be honest and say I was really glad she fired me as I was no longer comfortable.
I don't sponsor females anymore.




yesim12imusthavethisthing
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Opposite sex sponsorship

Postby yesim12imusthavethisthing » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:21 pm

There is no subject where more alcoholics want to tell other alcoholics how you must recover than this one. I know there are men out there preying on vulnerable young women newcomers in our AA meetings and it falls upon the group conscience to act, but that's a separate subject. What people seem to be worried about is that people will not be able to control themselves, that they cannot talk intimately and decide how they are going to behave. I have had the privilege of sponsoring a large number of people over the last 28 years.

When I joined AA my first sponsor was a carbon copy of me, just sober for a few years more, because that was the only person I would listen to. I was attracted to my 2nd sponsor because of spirituality. I wanted this person who could teach me about spirituality. My 3rd and current sponsor I was attracted to because of the kindness that person exhibited with others and how that person prayed. I wanted to learn about kindness and prayer. Gender, sexual orientation, age were not my first concerns with sponsors 2 and 3 those things just were not important.

When I first started I thought I was different from everyone. AA has taught me that I am more the same than different. God has a wonderful sense of humor. I was judgemental and bigoted before AA and when I was about a year sober it seemed as though there was a line of gay men who would come up to me and ask me to sponsor them. Well I don't often say no, so I started sponsoring these guys when one day I was talking with my sponsor and I told him about someone new asking me to sponsor and we realized that I had not even noticed that he was very flamboyantly gay. That it did not matter to me anymore, AA had changed me. It was none of my business, I had no opinion. It was a miracle. Even though I would be talking to my sponsees about their sex life as a sponsor, I did not have to have an opinion about being gay, because I'm not, just do you treat people with love, respect and kindness.

I have sponsored a number of women, a few have been gay, a couple bi sexual and some have been straight. On the first meeting usually I have made a point of saying something like. "Some people have a problem with men sponsoring women and maybe it will be helpful to you as well. But right now I make a pledge to you to not make any physical advances towards you whatsoever. For as long as we know each other. Now that I am sober and in AA I can control myself and I can be kind and respectful."

It has been such an incredible growth and learning experience for me to interact with women intimatly, respectfully without having sex be involved. I have really joined the human race and I have friends from every catagory I would have excluded in the past or that some people would like to put in a seperate AA meeting.

I think the most important things involved in sponsorship are someone who has what you want (someone you can listen to) someone who is availible, the steps, prayer, a spiritual experience. If we are worried about gender for someone else it seems like it just divides us more and tells people we are more different then the same and I think that is harmful for everyone.

EJH13
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby EJH13 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:48 pm

Hello. I am married to a recovering alcoholic who has been "sober" for 30 years. I have attended Al-Anon for 30 years. My husband has been unfaithful before. My husband has "sponsored" several females before, but recently he began sponsoring a new female who is 30 years younger. He is 75 and she is in her 40's. He has lied to me several times since he started sponsoring this woman and has told me he "is not jumping through any more hoops" for me. He chats with this woman constantly on Facebook and according to our phone records, he is talking to her on the phone every time he leaves the house. He fell asleep in front of the computer with his chat box open last week, and he had asked her to sleep with him. She responded that she would. (She is married to a man 80 years old and has 2 children.) When I confronted my husband about this, he said he did not know what to say. He said he would stop talking to her, but that has not happened. Can she really get sober with this type of activity? Can he stay sober living a lie? I think I need a lawyer. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Step 12
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby Step 12 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:09 pm

Well. I obviously can't give you any legal or professional advice or suggestions -- I can only say that if I were in that situation a lawyer would be on my "to do list." ;-)

And, in regards to whether he could stay sober living a lie -- I can only say that I wouldn't be able to do that. The same goes with whether she is able to do it.

I do know that "our program" -- does require rigorous honesty for all of us if we want to stay sober and be comfortable and happy while sober. And, I can vouch that this has been my personal experience also. I can't even get a good nights sleep if I know that I have an amends that needs to be made to someone -- let alone try to live for days or weeks or years with it.

The Al-Anon and A.A. programs are identical. We use the same program. The same book. It's just that our primary purpose and our Fellowship is a bit different.

I believe that most often, we know the answers to our questions before we ask them. But, it's good to go ahead and ask. Sometimes the answers will be different but no one knows our situation and how our shoes fit better than we who wear them do. Sometimes, it's best to ask our lawyers, our doctors, our sponsors, and sometimes even ask others in the Fellowship what they would do. Al-Anon members saved my butt more than a few times in sobriety and were able to help me with relationship problems better than anyone else could. I feel as though you are probably better experienced and know better than I do as to what the mature thing to do is in a situation like this -- and, if I end up in a situation like this -- you can bet I'll want to look you up to give me some advice on it.

I can imagine how much your feelings would be hurt about it. And, I can imagine how upset you might feel. I have had similar experiences in the past in my relationships in early sobriety -- and they nearly drove me back to drinking because of the pain that I felt from it.

The longer I'm sober -- I might grow some thicker skin, but I'm still a marshmallow in a fire when it comes to dealing with emotional hurts. And, I seem to get more sensitive to feelings the longer I'm sober.

I think the best I can offer is to be able to listen to you. And, I encourage you to share! I know it helps me to talk about stuff that's going on for me, and to have someone that will listen is the best I can hope for -- outside of getting some direction from my sponsor. He's in his late eighties and been sober for over 56 years so I can trust he's already been down every road that I'll end up on.

I'm wishing the best for you -- and I'm here for you, to listen the best that I can, and if I can help with something more than that, I'm sure willing.




Dallas
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby Dallas » Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:18 am

Welcome to the group EJH13! Thank you for sharing and for your participation! We look forward to hearing more from you and to reading updates on your post!

EJH13
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby EJH13 » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:54 am

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and support. I am living one day at a time. Sometimes one minute at a time, but trust my Higher Power will see me through this difficult time by speaking to me through kind souls like yourself.

EJH13
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby EJH13 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:26 am

Update on my situation. Just waiting for my husband to leave, go crazy, get drunk, or all 3. Last night the female he is "sponsoring" was sending him pictures of herself unclothed from the waist up. I wonder which step calls for that. Have appt with lawyer but cannot get in for a couple of weeks. The Facebook messaging starts before 5 am and goes on until 11 pm. Trying to Let Go & Let God do His work.

Dallas
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby Dallas » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:30 pm

Thanks for the update. I was thinking last night, "I wonder if she (you) realizes how much her (your) sharing on this can help another person that is going through or has gone through the same thing -- but hasn't been able to get to the other side of it?"

And, I was also thinking "Wow. What a difficult time this must be for you to have to walk through this."

My heart and thoughts reach out to you.

EJH13
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby EJH13 » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:35 pm

Thank you, Dallas. I know the Lord works in mysterious ways, so I hope my experience will help someone else. I was reading in another discussion about resentments and how resentments can lead to relapse. I believe my spouse has a great deal of resentment against me, even though I have never cheated on him and stood beside him for the past 38 years. We have always had disagreements about money. Since I might inherit some money someday, he thinks I should be responsible for the majority of the bills now. I push back on this because I have not inherited any money yet and I believe letting him get away with this is a form of enabling. He thinks he is "entitled". I put our daughter through college by myself, because he always said "no one sent him to college". We both worked and made about the same amount of money, but early on (when he was still drinking) we had problems with a joint checking account. Therefore, I got a separate checking account. When our daughter was 16, I was diagnosed with cancer. I have survived so far, but at the time I did not know how long I would be around. Also, knowing my husband would probably not pay for our daughter to go to college, I put her name on my checking account so she would have whatever was in there if I did not survive. My husband has a great deal of resentment about that, too. He lost his cell phone on the same day I found out what was going on, so he thinks I took his phone (another resentment). I did not, but he got a new $600 phone and added it to the cell phone bill (which I pay) and did not tell me - $19/mo x 30 months. I found out when I got the phone bill. I guess I need to work on my own resentments about his current and past indiscretions.

Dallas
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Re: Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby Dallas » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:18 pm

Good to hear from you! As you said, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I've sure found that to be true for me. Sometimes He's sent me a bunch of red flags before bad stuff happens so I could prepare for it. And, I ignored those red flags right on passed the detour signs and off into the ditch! :-) I'm at the age now that I pay a little more attention to them.

I've been working on my house to sell it and have been looking at a house in another state to buy. Really pretty and charming place with lots of land for my dogs to run and play. I just love everything about the house -- and today, I had some people go check on it for me. Yikes! It will be a charming, lovely, alluring huge money pit! $50,000 plus just to fix the sewage system and then find out if the EPA will be satisfied with it! :-)

You know, when Life gets good and we tend to be the type that looks for the good in everything -- sometimes, while smelling the roses -- we can trip right into a big pit!

Fortunately, it seems as though you and I have become aware of some things that stand in our path on the road of happy destiny and more information about our current situation has been revealed.

We can choose to feel hurt, pain, disappointment or frustration -- or, choose the way of gratitude and say "I sure wish that would have worked out -- but, I'm grateful I became aware of the problem sooner instead of later!

As much as I cherish my sobriety and how crushing it would be for me to lose it (and I'm determined to hang on to it with all that I've got) -- I've been around long enough to witness the experience of others -- and come to realize that drinking again is not the worse thing that could happen to me. It could be something much worse -- like drinking again, and landing in a wheel chair, forced by circumstance to be sober -- and have to endure the rest of my days physically sober but mentally and emotionally twisted with anguish -- wishing for the end, but forced to live with it.

In regards to love and relationships that are hurtful, painful, and unjust -- I'd rather try and do what some Al-Anon's suggested to me a long time ago -- Let it go or be dragged to death. Or, release and let go with love -- plug the unhealthy love and relationship jug that will drive me back to drinking or worse -- and keep moving on this path of Happy Destiny.

I know how painful it can be during that "let go process". But, I also learned that pain is nothing compared to the pain of hanging on long after it's time to be moving on. I know I can't fix other people or solve their problems -- if I could, I should be using it on myself to maintain my sobriety, my spiritual fitness and peace of mind, and comfort while sober.

Another lesson I learned the hard way was -- that I couldn't be of much help to family members. I've often wondered if perhaps God designed it that way because if we could fix them, we would spend our entire time working on family, while others that we could help -- went on to perish in their sufferings.

Hugs to you!





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