Sponsees with relationship problems

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Sponsees with relationship problems

Postby mightypog » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:47 pm

I have had a few sponsees now, and one of the things that comes up most frequently is relationship problems.

There is obviously a lot the big book has to say about things that can help with relationship problems, things like trying to be the director and getting out of sorts when others don't follow the script, things bout keeping your side of the street clean, the Serenity Prayer itself, and so on.

Beyond that, I advise sponsees to get professional help, when they've got issues that continually cause them problems.

My question is this: How much do you all listen about the relationship issues of your sponsees? Do you set limits? I tend to never want to shut a sponsee down, hell, I ought to be excited as hell to have a few who even calls regularly, but I find myself a little overwhelmed sometimes.

If you have limited a sponsee, how have you phrased it?

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Postby Dallas » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:57 pm

Relationship problems are only a symptom of a problem, or a "symbol" of aproblem. Kind of like "drinking" is a symptom -- of alcoholism. Drinking isn't the problem (even though it becomes a problem if the alcoholic drinks, because of the physical craving that develops, where the body takes over the mind in regards to being able to stop). Drinking is a symptom of the problem -- alcohol-ism.

So, what if we think out of the box, and say that "relationship-problems" is a symptom of relationship-ism.

If, that were true -- we would have to treat the "relashipship-ism."

Next, we would have to develop a "definition" of "relationship-ism" -- so that we can correctly identify the problem -- so that we can treat it. (The same way that we had to develop a definition of alcohol-ism).

AA's single purpose focuses on recovery from alcohol-ism. So, we might be tempted to say that "relationships are an outside issue -- better left to specialists, professionals, or other 12 Step groups. However, the quality of our sobriety -- (or level of sickness) -- is dependent upon our relationships.

How does it work?

It starts with "our relationship with ourselves".
Then, "our relationship w/ a Power Greater than ourselves (God, for most people).
Then -- relationships with other people.

I believe that the 12 Steps can address all three of those problems IF the person "learns" to use the 12 Steps on their relationship problems.

Imagine a puzzle -- that on one side is an image of the world.
On the other side -- is an image of a mans face.

What's the easiest way to solve the puzzle and put the pieces in the right place? Use the side with the image of the man -- and if you get the man right, his world will be right.

IF we drank alcohol -- BECAUSE of relationship problems ... we may not be alcoholic... we may just be relashionship-aholic.

IF the individual drank -- BECAUSE of their alcoholism problem ... they are alcoholic ... and their relationship problems is simply a symptom. If we use the 12 Steps to get the alcoholic right -- his/her world and relationships will become right.

Now, a big WHAT IF....

:lol: :lol: :lol:

WHAT IF... a) there was something wrong w/ me that b) created problems for me in my relationships with others, and c) "I drank" to get relief from those problems... does that make me "alcoholic" Or, is it "why" I became alcoholic? For me, the answer is NO... even though a) and b) and c) were true. :wink: a) and b) were symptoms... c) gave me the "feeling of relief" of the symptoms ... It didn't solve the problem -- but it solved the feeling problems. (The problems actually got worse).

Here is what I discovered:

My relationship problems are symbols -- and symptoms -- that can "show me" what my problem is: with myself. Thus, if I fix my problem with myself -- it will fix all of my other problems.

So, with sponsees -- I try to stay out of their relationship problems. It gets messy. Our book suggests that we do not get in the middle of relationship problems of the newcomer.

Instead... I'll help the sponsee learn to use their "relationship problems" as a mirror image -- or symptom -- of what their problem is with their Self. And, then show them how to fix that problem -- and the relationship problems go away.

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Postby Dallas » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:03 pm

Dang... after all that long-winded writing ... I re-read your original post and realized I didn't even get close to answering your questions! Sorry about that. :wink:

My question is this: How much do you all listen about the relationship issues of your sponsees? Do you set limits? I tend to never want to shut a sponsee down,

1. How much do you all listen about the relationship issues of your sponsees? Very little. (It's like talking about the weather -- it doesn't fix the weather).

2. Do you set limits? I'm not sure what the question is. Limits on what specifically?

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Postby cue » Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:03 pm

Hey Mighty Pog,
I don't limit my sponsees. I try to focus them instead. When it comes to relationship problems I listen to any fears and resentments they have about them and I share any experiences I have that might be helpful. My sponsees have a relationship ideal that they create themselves based on what they should have done in past relationships so we might have a look at that and see how it is getting on.

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Postby Dallas » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:37 pm

When I hear discussions about whether or not alcoholics should date, when they should date, and whether or not they should get into relationships (as we hear it sometimes said in meetings) -- it brings to my mind these two paragraphs:

THINGS ALCOHOLICS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn’t think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so.

We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a
bottle of scotch and ruin everything! Ask any woman who has sent her husband to distant places on the theory he would escape the alcohol problem." ~pg 100-101, Big Book.

-- People have said we must not date, get into relationships, make major decisions.... etc., etc., etc., .... but the Big Book seems clear on this with the above two paragraphs.

What's going to get an alcoholic drunk faster -- a date or a relationship? Or, going to bars and having liquor in our homes, or be around friends who drink?

The bottomline, for me, is this: "We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status."

That's why I don't talk to alcoholics about relationships, dating, etc. It's none of my business. My business is to "Carry This Message"... the message of a Spiritual Awakening and Spiritual Fitness, and a restoration to sanity -- as a result of taking and practicing the 12 Steps as a Design for Living and a Program of Recovery.

It's not my business to tell one alcoholic they can do something and another alcoholic that they can't do something.


~pg 98, Big Book: "Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he CAN GET WELL REGARDLESS OF ANYONE. The ONLY condition IS that he trust in God and clean house."

Yes. I realize this goes against Orthodox Political Party BS, mythology, and Proper and Correct Podium Polititics... but, I trust what the book says more than what I hear as "popular parroting" in meetings.

My 50 cents worth that isn't worth 2 Cents. :lol: :lol:

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Postby sunlight » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:06 pm

Relationships are where I take my recovery on the road.

In relationships I get to see how I'm really doing.

I THINK I'm kind and selfless and patient and humble etc. and in relationships I find... I'm not! :shock:

And I need to talk about it. I need another alcoholic to be my mirror and show me which defect I've allowed to run rampant, where self-pity has clouded my vision, where I've wandered down a blind alley.

But eventually I'm going to hear, "What are you going to do about it?"

There's a time for talk and a time for action. Too much talk just keeps me going in circles, getting nowhere.

I will listen to sponsees and then put them into action. If all they want to do is whine, they need to call their mother. :lol:

Here's a couple quotes I've heard about relationships:

"Never try to have a conversation with someone who isn't there."
"When you're in the midst of massive confusion, you're in the midst of massive bullsh!t."

Keep it simple. :wink:

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Postby Toast » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:19 pm

Being both an alcoholic and an emotional junkie i always had problems with normal relationships, maybe that's why i never had any till i got sober? Surrounding myself with other needy people who i manage to manipulate into depending on me therebye making ME feel needed, wanted and loved was all part of my sickness. :?

A real alcoholic is a loner who likes company. :)

Once sober i got the first honest relationship i ever had, and that was with myself. Once i got that one right everything else fell into place. :D

Today there's a lot less people in my life than there used to be but also a lot less confusion and that's just the way i like it. :lol:

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