- When to let go

When to let go

Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

When to let go

Postby Heather16 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:42 pm

Hello, I have just joined and I am really excited about this site. I have a sponsee who I am just not sure about. I had her calling me every day at a certain time. She has stopped that. She is angry at me due to some of my suggestions--she wants to do it her way--yet she repeats the same things over and over again! I have been firm with her--like letting her know what I think of some of her behavior--So now, we have come to a point in our relationship--I like to call the Teen Age Years--she is rebelling, and wanting to do it her way--again! She can resite the BB almost perfect. He is a re-tread--re-tread--re-tread! So no phone calls--in about 1 weeks. Last night I always give her a ride to the meeting--no call, so I went to the meeting on my own. I am worried about her. I know what to do--which is to do nothing--it just feels so sad to see someone you care about in the program doing the same thing over and over again. I have told her I am worried that she is building a case, and will use and drink again--SOON! Of course I don't know what I am talking about--she quotes the big book in all of our conversations--but she sure doesn't seem to do much with all that information. This is the part of sponsorship I don't enjoy. I am letting go and letting God--I do believe from my own experiences that God is in charge. That is why I haven't called her, or made any effort to help her during this time. I guess it is difficult for me because I am new to this area, and don't have the support group I had for the last 12 years. I am reaching out, and have found a good sponsor myself. I just wanted to put this out there because I don't think we all realize how much we invest in the "Newcomer" I am telling myself that she needs to fire me--I won't let her go--but something inside of me wants to let her go. But I don't know if that is the part of me that wants to be in control? This is a difficult problem for me--When do you as a Sponsor tell your sponsee it is not working? I don't want to call her up and say something like--You are not following my suggestions anymore so I guess you need to move on. I am totally OK with her moving on. In fact that would be great because I could give her up to GOD. I have been giving her up to God anyway, but for some reason I feel like if we were no longer connected by the Sponsor/Sponsee deal I would be at peace with her behavior. Any help, or comments will be considered helpful...thanks!
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Postby cinderbobble » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:16 pm

Hi - it's okay to let go! Let God! We are given the twelfth step for our own sobriety... she has helped you more than you have helped her! (owch! :? I know)... but that is precisely what the program teaches us. The BB addresses this issue, when you try to hellp somebody who refuses it, while somewhere near, there is somebody willing. Even if you do not immediately find a new sponsee, do not let that stop you from sharing your experience, strength and hope at a meeting. Often, you are helping others unbeknownst to yourself. We do the footwork, and leave the results to God.

Alcoholism is insidious, and those in denial about the hopelessness of their condition are apt to play all kinds of ridiculous games with not only their lives, but those around them. Why do you suppose it is, that alanon's get so very sick - they think they can control the alcoholic in their lives (I realize that is a very simplistic answer, but apt for my point here!).

A woman wanted me to sponsor her. She was in a halfway house. So, my sponsor suggested I get together and read the BB w/her. Well! She quite frankly told me that she was already reading the BB w/a group of friends at the halfway house, and didn't need to get together with me. She would (ahem), though, call me if she needed a ride!!!! Well, I promptly let her go, she was not interested inwhat I had. No fault of mine. I was ready to work with her, and she wanted her own way. It's okay, perhaps she'll find a willingness to work with somebody down the line! I hope so!!

I applaud your caring, and I can only suggest you pray for her, but do not getsucked into an emotional wringer. That adds fuel tothe alcoholic fire!
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Postby blueangel » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:14 pm

Hi and welcome to this forum.

Interesting problem you have. I recently was on a twelve step call with someone I knew that had relapsed. when her sponsor asked her to memorize the first paragraph of *how it works*, had memorized the entire thing!. As we were talking that night she mentioned in a drunken state that when she memorized *how it works* she had stopped reading it.

I am sponsoring a lady at present that refuses to do anything even related to the program. I finally had to tell her that she may as well consider me an empty bowl. She gets out of me what she puts into her program of sobriety and AA. She knows I will always help her anyway I can but I can't sober her up. It's alot less frustrating for me and she always knows my number if it's only for a ride to a meeting. She actually calls more now than when I worried and fretted and tried to have a stroke worrying about her. I could drop her as a sponsee, but I always remember my sponsor telling me that she doesn't do sponsorship, she does friendship, and everyone needs friends. so basically this young girl does things her way and when it turns out bad and she calls to pout and whine, I ask her why she did it that way and she actually has to think, rather than me barking orders and then me getting mad at her for not following them. If she asks my advise I give it and continue to help anyway I can but I just don't get all stressed out about it.

I recently had some dealings with a couple that had asked for help and I jumped through hoops for them but they are still drinking and I'm on high blood pressure meds now :lol: :lol:

I found it fasinating that when Bill W. wrote the original G.S.O. in 1951 (I think that was the year correct me if I'm wrong :lol: ) he referred to a sponsor as someone that took a person to an AA meeting. If that was the case I would be a sponsor to half of the town I live in and large parts of Louisiana. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I may not be a great sponsor but I can be a good friend and try to help and if they accept it great, and if they don't oh well. I guess basically what I'm saying that I am learning the same thing that was said to me long ago, I don't do sponsorship but I do friendship :D

Good luck on the problem. God Bless all and have a great 24, Kay :D
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Postby Dallas » Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:52 am

Hello Heather16!!! Welcome to Step12.com!!! I'm sure glad you're here. We can use your experience, strength and hope... so, I hope you'll be doing a lot of sharing with us!!!

Hey to you, also Cinderbobble, and BlueAngel!!! Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope, also!!! Glad you're here, too!

Heather16 wrote: This is a difficult problem for me--When do you as a Sponsor tell your sponsee it is not working?

The answer is in Chapter 7, "Working with others" (The 12th Step) of the Big Book.

I'm on a hiatus from sponsoring anyone... too frustrating for my blood. I'll detox them, take them through the 12 Steps, and be a friend... but currently... not their Sponsor. And, I'm not too big a fan of picking up sober drunks to take them to a meeting. I didn't get pampered when I was new. If I didn't have a ride... they said "Walk, ride a bike, take a bus, call a cab. How did you get to the liquor store? Do you need directions on where to walk to the meeting?" (Drunk drunks... that's different... I'll pick them up and let them puke in my car on the way to a meeting... but if they've been sober a day or two... they can walk, just like I would have had to walk) I believe what the Big Book indicates in Chapter 7, that when our work appears to be that of a "service provider" in nature ... we can be harming an alcoholic more than we're helping them. (Paraphrase is mine).

I can only pass on what has been passed on to me. The only way I can sponsor someone else... would be to pass on my experience of being sponsored. I can't pass on something I haven't got.

My sponsor is a real tough guy, with a heart as big as the world... and he doesn't stand for any BS. If I don't follow his suggestions... I have already ended my sponsor / sponsee relationship. It's that simple. I want what he's got. My life has consistently gotten better and better and better as a result of following his suggestions and direction... Probably, one of my greatest fears... is that one day, I could call him up and he would say "Take a hike and go find yourself a new sponsor!" This guy has literally saved my life many times over! He is the one, that my Higher Power works through and speaks to me through... and, that's the way it works for me.

My understanding of the original manuscript of the Big Book... and further on in the final published edition of the Big Book... the words "directions" are used, and are not meant to be taken as "suggestions." So, I personally respond better to "directions and instructions" rather than "suggestions."

When my sponsor gives me direction... and I don't follow it... the next time I called him... he would say something like "Why are you calling me? You need to be calling your sponsor." He helps a lot of alcoholics, and he let me know right from the beginning that it's very inappropriate for me to waste his time... and that if I want to waste my time... that's my business... but don't waste his time when I'm wasting mine.

I understand about living in a "new area." I went through the same thing when I moved to where I'm living now. My old home group, and the area that I came from is very strong on sponsorship... structure, discipline, responsibility, and the only way you not show up for your AA committment is if you're in jail, the hospital, or dead! And, if you're not dead... you're supposed to get on the phone and let people know where you are... and have someone cover your committment! (Yep. You're supposed to show up even if you got drunk!)

The area that I live now... has historically been very weak on sponsorship. Weak on structure, discipline, responsibility... and it's common for people that chair AA meetings to realize either a half-hour, or a couple of days after the meeting they were supposed to chair... that they missed their committment to their meeting. Then, they offer an excuse of "Well, I was moving, or unpacking, and forgot to look at the clock and forgot I was supposed to be at the meeting!"

I know... that sounds like "exaggeration"... but, it isn't!

For me? If I lived that way... or took my AA committments that lightly... it would be someone else typing this message, because I would already be too busy drinking instead of hanging out here in the forum!

I hope you don't get the idea that I'm "complaining about it" ... I'm not complaining... it isn't my problem, and it isn't my results. The only thing that I can do... is do what I do... differently. I'm not the AA Police or anything! And, I'm sure as heck not in charge of anything other than my own actions!

Maybe, I've got a "mis-printed" Big Book or something... my Book talks about being willing to go to ANY lengths... to get over alcohol. I'm willing to do that. If someone else is not willing... it's none of my business... and I sure don't want them waking me up in the middle of the night whining on their pitty-pot about their problems... when they haven't been willing to take the actions necessary to have different problems!

Thanks for letting me share!!! Thanks for letting me hang out here in the forum with you, too!!! I'm surprised you guys haven't booted me out of here by now! :wink:

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Thanks for sharing with me

Postby Heather16 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:39 am

Hi all, thanks so much for all your input. I now know I am on the right road--as you each know Sponsorship can be bitter sweet! I know this much is true for me--Spnosorship works, the program of AA works, and my life has gotten better as a direct result of what I have learned by hanging around and following what the winners did. I agree with Dallas--my first Sponsor was a very strong women who did not put up with my whining. She was sponsored by a strong women and that is how it has been passed on. I recently read the book Ebby--Bill's Sponsor--it was an interesting to read that one of our founders had to deal with so much of what we each deal with in the program today.

I am not sure what I will do with my situation, but something I have learned when you don't know what to do--doing nothing is doing something. I think I will continue to do nothing for awhile longer and see what God has planned for me. I use to think that was cop out--but today I believe it is surrender.

Thanks for sharing with me!
Heather 16 :P
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:24 am

Heather, nice to meet you....you a al'ky... #-1... work on you first... i learned long ago from my first sponsee... clog'd up my head, worried, and more... was renting space in my head, and not pay'n rent... shure a sponser/sponsee realatinship is part of recovery... passing it on, giveing back... the best you can do for the sponsee, and you.... just be there if needed... go about your life... we can only pass on to those that want it.... hope to yap with ya again.... ....... all good wishes, and of course, teach only love.....Rusty :wink:
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:25 am

Heather... surender= fix'n whats left of us.........lol......xxoo, the Zip
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Postby Dallas » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:06 pm

Heather16 wrote: I am not sure what I will do with my situation, but something I have learned when you don't know what to do--doing nothing is doing something. I think I will continue to do nothing for awhile longer and see what God has planned for me. I use to think that was cop out--but today I believe it is surrender.

Hey Heather16!!! Good morning to you and Happy Thursday!

You said the above very well!!! I like that... and I'm going to hang on to it and use it today!

I remember an old-old-timer, who used to do a lot of speaking in AA meetings... and he carried these little white flags around with him to remind himself of "surrender."

Your message brought up a really nice memory for me... and today, I'm going to go get or make me some little white flags... and take those and your words into my adventures!

Thank you for sharing!

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For Heather16: I'm in the exact same situation!

Postby TrailerTrashDood » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:48 pm

Your post is old, if you still go on this forum I would like to know what happened and how everything worked out for you.
I just (8/29/11) posted a rather long winded question on almost the EXACT same topic, it involves the EXACT same thing that you are (were?) going through.
My problem is that I have a lot of sponsees, I get attached to them, then when they get to what you call the "teenage years" they either disappear, or refuse to do the work. A lot of times, they hang around the meeting hall & talk #### with each other about what a lousy sponsor I am because I had them doing so much "work" - but nobody else has to read the book, show up on time, make phone calls, etc... (Of course, only the ones that are still sober get to do that... lol)
The obvious answer to my dilemma is that I shouldn't become fond of my sponsees or care about what happens to them - but unfortunately for me, this is not possible it seems...
Sometimes I want to cry, sometimes I want to stab them in the neck with a fork. But do let us know what happened with this, if you are still on this board...
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Postby Dallas » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:26 pm

Attachment is a necessary component of suffering. Remove the attachment and the suffering disappears. I don't suffer well. And, I don't like pain. Too sensitive to it so I stay away from it. :wink:


Imagine that! That post above was over five years ago -- and, it was the same problem. I remember listening to an old-timer over 30 yrs sober say "I haven't seen a new problem in AA yet! I keep coming back to see if I'm going to see or hear something new!" :lol: He's now over 50 yrs sober -- and still says the same thing. :lol:

I think this is why we can, with great accuracy, go to a book that was written in 1939, and everything about the problem and solution -- is exactly the same today as it was back in 1939. There's nothing new. It's the same old same ole' -- "alcohol-ism and not alcohol-wasm." :lol:
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