- How I Sponsor - plus 30 tips and suggestions from Big Book

How I Sponsor - plus 30 tips and suggestions from Big Book




Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

How I Sponsor - plus 30 tips and suggestions from Big Book

Postby Dallas » Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:00 am

How I Sponsor - plus 30 tips and suggestions from the Big Book


A few disclaimers are in order before I proceed:

1. I am not an authority on anything -- I'm not an authority on A.A. Sponsorship. I am simply an A.A. Member, that has been Sponsored by an A.A. Sponsor for over 20 years.

2. I am not an expert on anything -- I am not an expert on A.A. Sponsorship. I am simply an A.A. Member, that has been Sponsored by an A.A. Sponsor for over 20 years.

3. I do not have any specialized knowledge on Sponsoring -- that I have acquired from any other source -- other than Alcoholics Anonymous -- to share with anyone. I can only share my "experience" of both being Sponsored and in being an A.A. Sponsor.

4. If you were Sponsored in a different way than I have been Sponsored, or if you Sponsor in a different way than I have been Sponsored, or, if you understand Sponsorship different than I understand it -- that's really none of my business. I have no desire to persuade or convince anyone -- that I'm right about anything.

How I Sponsor:

I cannot give away something I haven't got. I can not pass on -- anything that has not been passed on to me. The only thing that I have to pass on to anyone -- and the only thing that I have to offer to anyone -- is my own personal experience. If I haven't experienced it -- I have no experience -- to pass on.

I Sponsor the same way that I have been Sponsored.

Whenever I take on the responsibility and commitment of Sponsoring -- I make it clear, that the only thing that I have to pass on -- is my experience with the A.A. Program of Recovery -- and how I have applied the program of recovery to my own life, and how I have solved my own problems using the A.A. Program of Recovery.

The Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement

I view Sponsoring as a "contract" a "transaction" and "an agreement" between myself and the other person. The value that I have to offer as a Sponsor, is my time and experience.

What I expect the Sponsee to offer to me -- in exchange for my time and experience -- is their willingness and their time and their efforts -- to follow my instructions and directions precisely -- to the best of their ability.

Big Book, Forward to the First Edition: wrote: "We of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book."


I will not suggest anything that has not been suggested to me. And, I will not ask the new person to do anything that I have not personally done -- that I view, was necessary for me to do -- for my own recovery from alcoholism. And, I inform the new person -- that I expect them to pass on to another new person -- that which I will be passing on to them.

We make Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement

We agree that they will follow my directions and instructions without negotiation and without compromise. If they later decide that they want to negotiate, compromise -- or refuse to follow the instructions or directions then, our Sponsor Relationship Agreement has been breached by them, and they should immediately search for a different Sponsor.

It is understood, that if they drink alcohol in any form at all, or if they use any other mind altering substances -- this immediately voids and cancels our Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship. If they are on prescribed medication, or if they go on medication for any reason -- they have a responsibility to inform me immediately of any changes in their health condition.

Big Book, page 90 wrote:"You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and
who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you."


It is my opinion -- that if I haven't recovered -- using the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, by precisely following the instructions of the program of recovery that is in the book Alcoholics Anonymous -- then, I would feel that I have no business sponsoring a new person in Alcoholics Anonymous.

If I have recovered in any other way -- other than the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, that is described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous -- I will be passing on to the new person -- my own program, or some other program, and I would feel that if they failed -- it was my responsibility that they failed -- because they were following "my program" rather than Alcoholics Anonymous program, then I would feel that I should share the burden of their failure.

If I have passed on the Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery that is described in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous -- and, the new person fails -- they share the entire burden of responsibility for their own success and failure in recovery.

After I've led the new person through the 12 Steps, using the Big Book, I will continue to give them daily assignments of pages to read, and precise instructions to follow in the Big Book. They are expected to read those pages and follow those pages as directed. When they stop following those directions -- they have breached the Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement.

Each person that I Sponsor -- is instructed on when and how often they should call me. When they fail to follow those instructions -- they are Sponsoring themselves.

At various times, I'll give the Sponsee certain tapes or CD's of A.A. Speakers to listen to, so that we can discuss the content of the talk. I expect them to listen to the tape or CD and be prepared for discussion. When they stop following those directions -- they have breached the Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement.

And, I give the Sponsee other reading/or writing assignments, along with a suggestion as to when the assignment should be completed. And, they are expected to complete their assignments in full and on time.

One of the most irritating experiences that I’ve experienced in Sponsorship – is when the new person refuses to follow directions. When they refuse to follow directions – they have breached the Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement.

On some occasions – a newcomer – is “certain that you don’t understand how their case is differentâ€
Dallas
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Postby carol1017 » Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:18 am

Thanks, Dallas -- this is great!

Just one question -- (always gotta play Devil's Advocate :twisted: ) could you clarify what you meant by:

If they are on prescribed medication, or if they go on medication for any reason -- they have a responsibility to inform me immediately of any changes in their health condition.


Are you referring to anti-depressants, pain pills, insulin? Or are you referring to potential abuse of prescription drugs? I'm not trying to pick a fight here -- I'm just a little sensitive on this issue, because a sponsor (that I fired) told me that I had to stop taking my anti-depressant in order to work the program.

I do agree that as a sponsor, you have a right to know if your sponsee is taking (or not taking) medication that could affect his behavior with you and others, but I don't think a sponsor is equipped to provide advice on, or even discuss, medical issues.
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Postby anniemac » Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:16 pm

Wow, Dallas, you're tough!! :shock: :lol: Maybe we need Sponsor Boot Camp around here - I don't know of anyone who's been sponsored that way. I'm not saying that's good or bad...just different. I do have a general feel, though, that we're kind of loosey-goosey around here in many ways, and I guess Sponsorship is one of them.

As a for-instance, I was not brought through the BB by my sponsor. Wild, huh? And my sponsor is considered one of the highly regarded members of AA in these parts. I do bring sponsees through the BB (which means that I do not sponsor others the same way I was sponsored), and wish that I had been. But I was not. Truthfully, I learned much of what I learned about the Program of AA from online forums and speaker tapes...not from local meetings. And we have no shortage of meetings around here, either.
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Postby Dallas » Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:20 pm

I want to be reasonably certain that a person is in sound physical and mental health -- if I'm going to try to help them.

I don't want to have them sitting in a park or a campground -- doing Step work -- and discover that they are on medication -- and it's 9 pm at night, on a holiday -- and we are 150 miles away from home -- or their prescription bottle!

I let the doctors practice medicine -- and I practice the 12 Steps. That keeps it simple for me.

But, I do feel that I have an obligation -- to keep an eye on the over-all well-being of a person that I'm sponsoring. Sometimes, I check to see if they are taking their vitamins! :lol:

And, I don't want to take someone out to dinner and discuss their problem -- and suddenly they are knocked out at the table -- and have to be carried out -- because they didn't tell me that they took a pill at 7 pm -- and if they are not in bed by 8 pm -- they're out like a light. It's embarrassing to me -- and could be dangerous for them -- and, they might have been the one driving!!! :lol:

All of the information that we need to know -- is pretty much laid out in our book -- if we follow the book -- and keep both eyes open -- and use some common sense -we'll be less likely to have problems.

New people are notorious -- for holding back important information. They get mixed up about what's important and what's not important -- that's why you are sponsoring them and they are not sponsoring you! :lol:

Dallas
Last edited by Dallas on Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dallas
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Postby carol1017 » Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:55 pm

Thanks for the clarification, Dallas -- as I said, I agree that you have an obligation to know about anything that may affect a sponsee's behavior -- sometimes, sponsors don't always draw the line so distinctly, though.

As long as it is expressed to the sponsee in the way you described in your reply, I think it's a perfectly reasonable part of the sponsor/sponsee relationship.
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Postby Dallas » Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:17 pm

Helping people can be risky business. Giving medical advice is just one area that could land someone in jail or cause them to lose their house. It could also be legal advice, accounting advice, relationship advice -- etceteras -- that could land you in hot water -- when you were only trying to be helpful.

If we stick to our specialty -- which is our experience -- with our drinking, our alcoholism, our recovery -- in and with and through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous -- using the book Alcoholics Anonymous -- we will be in a safer position than if we mix ourselves up into trying to be experts on stuff that we have no business talking about. And, even that is no guarantee that we won't end up with a psycho with a chainsaw obsession on our hands!

So -- as our book says "Find out all that you can about them" :lol:

Dallas
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Postby Susan » Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:09 pm

Hi Dallas, I was sponsored the way you described and that is how I was sponsor others. Not to many people really want to do that much. I usually only sponsor one person at a time. These things apply to new people. I have people that I sponsor that are sober six years or so. They have already gone through the basics and when they have a problem the have to take it through a step, do a inventory etc. I hate hanging with a bunch of people who call me a sponsor but don't do anything. :D
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Sponsership

Postby Jaysdad55 » Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:58 pm

Hi my name is Jay and I am an alcoholic:
This is my 1st time in here. I just got broadband so now i can get in here.
I got clean and sober 11/25/02.I was locked up till 7/2/03 that day I got a sponsor. I had read the Big Book before,but this time I found out that there was something I needed to read before the 1st chapter(Bill's story).That was the "Doctors opinion".My sponser took me through the book and steps as he did it.He told me to read the Doctors opinon for 30 days,and if I could not find myself in it that I didn't need to read the rest of the book.Well I did find myself in it over & over again.So I did as he told me to do and today I have a life.I have been sponsoring people for around 4 years, had one die of an over dose,and one kill himself.I also lost a friend in AA that pasted his coin on to me last year shooting his self.I did not have to drink over it.My sponsor has told me that after sponsoring people for over 20years that he can count the number of people on his hands that have made it.I have not been able to get anyone past Bill,stroy. I pray that will happen one day.I hope I did this right in here like I said 1st time here.
Thank You for letting me share Jay
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Postby Dallas » Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:39 pm

You're doing great here with your sharing Jay!!!

I hope you keep it up and keep on sharing!

It's great to hear from you!

Dallas
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Postby Susan » Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:48 am

Welcome Jay, glad you joined us. Being a sponsor is not easy and we need all the support we can get. Once again, Welcome. :D
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12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - How I Sponsor - plus 30 tips and suggestions from Big Book