OK so heres the deal:
Without getting into all the background info (it's all in this 80-page post, lol), I was not working this year & had a lot of time to do whatever I wanted. I got all wrapped up in sponsoring a large group of guys, which was pretty much all I did, all year. 6 of them all got together at the end of a year, and all fired me at the same time. This made me feel truly awful. I felt like I must be the worst sponsor EVER, and could not figure out my part in it. (I did a 4th Step on them, but STILL could not get rid of this.) This was by far my most unsuccessful year, ever. I especially felt bad because I had spent literally HUNDREDS of hours with these guys over the previous year or so, and really could NOT figure out why the end result of all my work & time is that they all hated me. I was devastated that they hated me enough to ALL fire me and then still, months later, ALL absolutely REFUSE to speak to me afterwards, no matter WHAT. (They had actually got together and talked about firing me in the most adversarial way possible, so it would have the most effect.) Well, they did a great job. A couple of them are STILL going around and actually telling people ridiculous stories that make me look awful, just to justify their actions.
I had really loved these guys, prayed for them every night, and felt very protective and close to them. I had imagined that they liked me too. We actually had some very good & close times together, and at one point were making a LOT of progress in their stepwork & sobriety in general. I imagined that we had some type of loyalty and deep bond. I was really proud of them. I could not fathom that they would trash a yearlong, deep relationship simply to avoid doing step work (once a week?!!) and going to meetings, calling me on the phone, and all the other standard-issue type stuff, etc. ~ There must have been some other reason, and it was driving me CRAZY. I'm not trying to "be the victim", I'm really in the solution as much as I can. But this thing is TOTALLY incomprehensible to me, I sincerely did NOT get it.
So 3 months later, I'm still obsessing over this. Whenever I see them at our meeting hall, either they gloat at me like a dog that pooped on the rug & got away with it, or they make a big show of coming up to me in public and shaking hands & stuff (so they look good for the group), but absolutely REFUSE to speak to me in private. All I wanted was some kind of closure. I totally did NOT get any of this.
I have been fired by dozens of other sponsees, over the last 20 years or so ~ this is nothing new. HOWEVER, they ALL got together with me (at different times of course) and announced that they had a year or two sober now, and a new dog, wife, job, etc, now ~ and didn't want to have to work steps, go to meetings, or whatever they thought they no longer had time for. (Or some variation thereof...) Then I'd give them the little speech about how worth it, it is to do the 10 or 15 hours of maintenance a week to keep alcoholism in remission, and that I NEVER back down on doing step work, going to meetings, staying in contact, etc... Then we would "agree to disagree", and part on good terms with some kind of mutual respect intact.
These previous people I've sponsored came from all walks of life ~ but they ALL needed to preserve some kind of mutual bond, obligation, respect, relationship; or whatever you would choose to call it, when we parted ways. (FYI: I have NEVER been fired by a sponsee who did not have a relapse afterwards. EVER.) Then they would call me after their relapse, and I'd help them out in whatever way was appropriate. So it pays to not burn bridges.
Anyway, I was kvetching/obsessing about this new, mystifying situation to a friend of mine who works with rich kids from Calabassas, Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, etc. All of these 6 ex-sponsees were rich or VERY upper middle class guys from these exact areas of Los Angeles, even though they dress and think of themselves as little "bad-asses".
My friend told me that the previous people I had worked with in the past, all had the same thing in common: That someone who loves you and gives you UNCONDITIONAL backup is the most rare and precious thing you could EVER have, on this PLANET.
However, she told me that to these suburban rich kids, they look at human relationships VERY differently. As much as they want to seem like a bunch of little "bad asses" to the outside world, their baseline way of thinking is that they have little or no sense of obligation to the world and also a HUGE sense of entitlement. Its just how they were raised & where they are from. There is always a new X-Terra in the driveway if they wreck the old one, they can always afford to check into some fancy $30,000 rehab in Malibu; if they wake up in a blackout in Hawaii their dads will always take off work & come fly out to get them. They know this and therefore don't have to really worry about the same things we do, even if they're 25 or 28 or whatever.
It was MY fault because my error of perception made me think that just because (for a minute, when they were desperate) they were working their asses off, were TOTALLY all about "doing the deal", were making GREAT progress, etc ~ that it would never wear off. But as soon as they gained some weight, got girlfriends, jobs, nice vehicles to drive & all that ~ THAT was when they didn't want to do the work anymore and told me to step the fock off. That in and of itself is NOT very shocking.
Its just the WAY they did it, that had NEVER happened to me before. I could not imagine why anyone would all get together in a group and just turn their backs on me like that. It was a total mystery to me. In my little dog-brain: loyalty, honor, respect, obligation and all that stuff are the most important and valuable things EVER. On my planet, where I come from, their kind of behavior makes NO sense. That is why it took me so long to figure this out.
All of these guys are reasonably smart, good looking, popular, and the like. If they want, they can get a new sponsor every Tuesday and Thursday. There are plenty of inexperienced sober guys in our area who want to look good and have sponsees to bolster them, ESPECIALLY if they don't have to do any work with them.
Its simply easier for these rich kids to get together and bail on me and do whatever they want, once they get back on their feet ~ than to sit me down and have ONE simple conversation, like everybody else did. Thats why they ALL hang up on me, avoid me in person if I ask the "wrong" questions, but all make a big show of shaking my hand & stuff when other people are around!
They have no sense of guilt, remorse, duty, or obligation to me whatsoever. Its just that simple. They can go to the mall and get a new sponsor!
My friend told me that all these guys ~ despite the motorcycles, tattoos, skateboards, surfer stuff, borderline "gangster" stuff, etc ~ the bottom line is that they all expect to be catered to, and will NOT do anything they don't feel like doing. She works in recovery, and says its almost impossible for her to get people like that to actually do anything. But they DO make a lot of money off of them, as they tend to check into cushy rehabs a lot!
It sounds like really strong language, and it kind of makes me look bad if I say this ~ because it sounds like I'm coming from anger or resentment. But the TRUTH is, they're just really a bunch of spoiled little twerps. THAT is their actual baseline for behavior, the other stuff is just an act.
Thats the bottom line ~ I misjudged the situation and wasted a whole year on these guys, when I should have been working with people who actually appreciated and/or were affected by my help.
I could NOT understand that the guys who fired me feel no more obligation or affection towards me, than I would feel if I were to discard my old sneakers and get new ones for no other reason than I felt like it.
Bottom line, people - MY mistake in perception.
THANKS FOR THE HELP AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME VENT, EVEN IF YOU'RE ALL SICK OF ME BY NOW.... LOL