Changed username from PaigeA to African Grey, need HELP!

Discussions related to 12 Step Sponsors, 12 Step Sponsoring, Working with others using the 12 Steps, for AA's, NA's, Al-Anons, Nar-Anons, OA, and others using the 12 Steps.
African Grey
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:19 am

Changed username from PaigeA to African Grey, need HELP!

Postby African Grey » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:23 am

Hi, I'm African Grey. By the pure grace of God I have 15 years sobriety. BUT, I only have 6 months of consistent AA activity. I'm officially working Step 8 right now. But, I've been working all the steps, particularly 8-12, for many years. The other thing is I'm Bi-Polar and Schizophrenic. And being treated by a very good Psychiatrist, who I've been with for several years. I'm stable in my illness'. I recently met a young girl who has been in AA for 15 years. She currently has 4 months sober. She can't seem to hold onto her sobriety. She also has the same psychiatric disorders that I have AND the same psychiatrist, so I know what kind of treatment she is getting. Her sponsor recently fired her, and she's been through a lot of sponsors, I think because they don't understand her illness'. Anyway, she asked me to be her sponsor, and I told her I didn't think I had enough time in AA, and I wasn't through working the 12 steps. So, I told her no. But, I'm wondering, doesn't she have the right to have a sponsor? She's feeling lost without one. Do I have enough experience to sponsor her? My sponsor said it was entirely up to how I felt about it. Any ideas, thoughts or suggestions, insights would be gratefully helpful. I feel really bad for her.

African Grey

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Re: Changed username from PaigeA to African Grey, need HELP!

Postby Toast » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:19 pm

Hi, very good post.

Of course she has the right to a sponsor but every case is unique. I currently sponsor a guy with the same psychiatric disorders but due to self harming he's presently locked up in a secure unit, i'll pick him up tonight though and take him to my home group, me and another guy in AA take turns making sure he gets to meetings. Our guy is around 4 months in AA and very happy to be sober but he knows it's been forced on him due to his current circumstances. When the day comes for him to return to the big wide world on his own he is honest enough to admit he doesn't know how he'll handle it.

But as an asides to this his psychiatrist has currently stopped treating him because he says he is doing better just going to meetings. We have covered step 1 at depth and he has got a lot of stuff down on paper he's been carrying around since childhood. The nurses at the secure unit are also keen for him to go to AA meetings as they say he comes back a totally different guy.

At only 32 yrs old our guy is highly intelligent and a great speaker, in an ideal world he'd be on TV ripping politicians apart! But his present circumstances dont even allow normal conversations with other patients, most are very sick and in a world of there own so getting out and about talking does this former solitary house drinker the world of good. I first met him 4 years ago when he came into AA for a sniff around to see what we were up too but he didnt stay. Like the rest of us a drastic decline in circumstances brought him scurrying back.

My only concern is do you have a sponsor who is familiar with taking people through the 12 step recovery programme? I was always told to ' make sure your sponsor has a sponsor and is not flying by the seat of their pants.'

I've sponsored lots of guys but having buried 2 sponsee's who knew better than AA i can assure its not a nice thing to go through, always asking yourself 'what if?'

So if you fill the above criteria go for it and if you don't, have the wisdom to know the difference. After all this isn't a game its someone's life we're talking about, maybe yours?

Then again there's nothing stopping you from being great friends?

God Bless

Last edited by Toast on Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Changed username from PaigeA to African Grey, need HELP!

Postby Dallas » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:04 pm

I certainly hope that I've helped more AA's by being an AA Friend,
than I have helped AA's by being their Sponsor.

Over the years I've had a lot of AA's that have come to me asking for help
but I wasn't labeled as their Sponsor. I've just been a sober person offering
newcomers suggestions on recovery.

At other times, AA's have come to me and asked me to take them through the 12 Steps.
Their sponsor was shaky on taking them through the steps because they had never done it
w/ a sponsee before -- or, had not "taken" the steps themselves. So, I took them through
the steps and then sent them back to their sponsor. :-) Note: The last one I did that with,
went back to his sponsor -- stayed sober for a couple of months, started drinking again
and hasn't been able to stay sober since.

I have no idea of how well it will work out w/ two Schizophrenics trying to help each other.
I've never done experienced where we would both be classed as Schizophrenic. :-) It might
be tough keeping it straight as to "who is sponsoring who." ;-)

I do know of Alcoholics that were labeled as Schizophrenic -- and after taking the steps and
staying sober in AA for a while -- their doctor said they were no longer Schizophrenic.

I also know of alcoholics, who came to AA from mental institutions who's only previous solution
was to be locked up -- who straightened out in AA, and haven't been back to an institution since.

Whatever you do -- I hope that you understand AND remember that "AA is One Alcoholic helping Another Alcoholic
to achieve and maintain sobriety." It isn't about curing or treating mental disorders.

African Grey
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:19 am

Re: Changed username from PaigeA to African Grey, need HELP!

Postby African Grey » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:54 am

Thanks soooo very much for all the great input. It was a lot to think about. But the good news is she found a sponsor. After re-evaluating things, I think she was using our common illness' as a means to tryy to manipulate me into being her sponsor. I'm glad she found someone. Sponsorship is important. But so is one AA helping another. I think I'd much rather be her friend. But again, thank you, it was really good input from all of you, and food for thought in the future.

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