- Online Sponsorship

Online Sponsorship




Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

Online Sponsorship

Postby carol1017 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:31 pm

What do you all think of online sponsorship?

I am active in a number of online sites, including this one, and I am frequently asked if I would sponsor a newcomer. I have done so in certain situations, where the sponsee is disabled or homebound and unable to attend face-to-face meetings.

I am not a big proponent of online sponsorship, only because I feel there is so much to be gained through the face-to-face experience. Many times, things are said through the keyboard that are misunderstood due to the lack of human expression.

However, I am not so rigid in my thinking that I can deny the influence of the internet, and what a wonderful tool it can be when used properly to reach the still suffering alcoholic to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Let me have your thoughts!!!
Thanks!
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Postby Dallas » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:07 pm

Personally speaking...

I'm sure, as with anything, it has it's pros and cons.

When I look back at AA's history -- as the Society grew by leaps and bounds, often, the newcomer had no help whatsover, outside of receiving a Big Book that was mailed to them, and an occasional letter from the members in New York, if help was requested.

In most areas, there were no meetings, there was no Fellowship, there were no sponsors available to the new person. All they had was a Big Book that had been mailed to them, giving the precise instructions to follow to achieve and maintain sobriety, and they were encouraged, in the book, to begin to search out another alcoholic to help. That was it.

Obviously, newcomers read the book, followed the instructions, and then it was up to them to create the fellowship around them. They basically had no help. And, it worked. A.A. can be found now, in many places.

However, I have many encounters with prospects for AA that will contact me by email, because they found me or found us through the Internet, and there is no local A.A. fellowship and no A.A. meetings, so obviously, no AA sponsors to help them in the areas that they live. Sometimes, here in the U.S., -- they are located in remote areas where the nearest meeting is 200 to 300 miles away.

I believe, that any kind of help from a sober member of A.A., who has A.A. sobriety, is good, and the sober AA member has valuable experience, strength and hope, to share with still suffering alcoholics. So, regardless if it's in person, over the telephone, or by snail mail (as it used to be), or on the Internet, what is the difference? Help them!

My sponsor lives 1527 miles away from me. I send him at least one email each week, (sometimes more) and I talk to him by telephone at least once each week (sometimes, more often that that.). Whenever he is within roughly 500 miles from me -- I'll travel to see him. We knew each other before he became my sponsor. However, I also know that he sponsors people in the U.K., Dublin, Italy, Australia, Iceland, Canada, and other countries, in addition to sponsoring many here in the USA, who are like me... several hundreds, or thousands of miles away from him. They (like myself :wink: ) are staying sober, and leading good and productive lives, and are actively involved in their local A.A. community, and they sponsor others. (He Sponsors so many... because with 49 years of sobriety... he has gotten around and he still gets around! Some, he sponsored in the home group and later they moved, like I did, others... he sponsors that were not local when they met him.) :lol:

I have a friend here in Arkansas, and his Sponsor is Sponsored by my Sponsor, and his Sponsor lives in Nebraska... and my friend, (my sobriety-nephew) Sponsors several men in Alaska and in California.

So, I think the answer to your question, as I understand it -- it depends upon the Sponsor and the Sponsee.

I'm sure that there are many in AA who disagree -- but, so what? It works for me. It works for us. And, it works for many of them -- it just doesn't work for the disagree-er's... because they don't work it because of their disagreement. :lol:

Some would say "well if you move to a new area you should get a new sponsor where you live." So what if that is their belief? I wasn't about to find a new sponsor just because my circumstances had me moving to a different part of the country. And, when I moved, and discovered the selection to choose from -- if I did want to find a new sponsor, I made a decision that I would be better off not having a sponsor rather than pick from what was available to me.

While I am a huge advocate of Sponsorship and having a Sponsor -- I have to admit that some of the finest examples of AA sobriety that I have ever known -- had no official AA sponsor. And, some of those... did not Sponsor others. They did 12th Step work and helped many alcoholics -- but, they wouldn't allow anyone to call them "Sponsor." (Yes, they did what Sponsors do, but they would have nothing to do with the title of "Sponsor." ) I personally prefer to do 12th Step work, without having them call me "their Sponsor." My personal experience has been -- that often the "title" of Sponsor can screw up, otherwise good working-with-others arrangements.

I realize that my reply has become rather long and wordy :lol: but, when you asked, "What do you all think of online sponsorship?" and "Let me have your thoughts!!!" ... I took it as an "AA request." :lol: (I'm an over-do'er!) :lol:

With all that said regarding online Sponsorship -- I do believe strongly that personal-in-person AA activity and association is vital. The Sponsor should be actively involved in person-to-person real live one-on-one AA, and the Sponsee should be involved, likewise. The Internet should not be used as an A.A. substitute for real-live-one-on-one A.A.

With technology the way that it is now -- we could have live webcasts of meetings, and with Internet telephone, video and webcams -- we can look each other in the eye. We haven't figured out how to smell their breath yet, .... but, in some situations -- that's probably a blessing, and I hope it may never change. :lol: "Oh what an order!!!!!" :lol: :lol:

With the consideration of all those thoughts expressed --- Carol, I see nothing wrong with it.

That's what I think about it. What's most important to me -- is that I have a Sponsor. And, I have the Sponsor that I want -- to be my Sponsor. (So, I follow his directions so that he will continue sponsoring me!) :wink:

What do you think?

Dallas

P.S. Carol, did you ever imagine I would have all that many thoughts to share on your topic? :lol: :lol:
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Postby carol1017 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:42 am

Dallas, I'm glad you had so many thoughts on the topic! Your thoughts are the same ones that have been rolling around in brain for a while, but you expressed them much more eloquently.

I believe, that any kind of help from a sober member of A.A., who has A.A. sobriety, is good, and the sober AA member has valuable experience, strength and hope, to share with still suffering alcoholics. So, regardless if it's in person, over the telephone, or by snail mail (as it used to be), or on the Internet, what is the difference? Help them!


That's perfect! I think sometimes we get "caught up" in the sponsor/sponsee relationship and, for some sponsors, it's rather an ego trip to have x number of sponsees. I like what you said about doing 12th step work as opposed to being called "sponsor". When you come right down to it, Bill and Dr. Bob didn't have sponsors per se -- they supported each other. That's what the fellowship and the program are all about -- helping each other -- not who plays what role.

I can relate to what you said about moving and trying to find a new sponsor -- the sponsor who took me through the steps had the nerve to die on me (it's all about me, after all :wink: ) and I had a difficult time finding a new sponsor. Then I moved to Washington, and I knew I had to find someone. People here are not as service-oriented as I was taught to be, so I have now changed my sponsor here to someone who is very service-oriented.

I also agree that face to face AA interaction is vital -- if for no other reason than to re-learn the social skills most of us lose during our isolated drinking. I think you understand I'm not talking about treating an AA meeting as a social event -- I'm talking about learning to "play well with others" again. The internet is a wonderful tool, but it does allow people to hide behind a screen and keyboard instead of dealing with face to face relationships with others.

I think the lack of "smell-o-vision" is a blessing, too -- there's only so much I need to know! :lol:

Thanks for your thoughts -- you've given me a lot more to think about!
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Postby DebbieV » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:59 am

I think it great that you want to help others Carol. For me it is the bread and butter of my program.

I hope it works out for you on the internet, it would be a little hard for me to have a sponsor online. But I sure as hell would take it before I would have a sponsor person-to-person, that wasn't working. :D

I know for me I have my sponsee get on here and read all the time, one of these days maybe she will follow direction and sign up and post. :roll:

Keep up the good work Carol, internet or in person, it still helps keep your butt sober.

Debbie
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Postby Susan » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:14 am

This is a great topic. In the job I work people cannot go to meetings, they will lose there job, period. AA is not anonymous anymore it is way to public now. I have had tough times with sponsors. One has died, one went back out, one I fired, and one just dumped me because : She Was In A Bad Spot! Thats it. All in 14 years. I have decided I am not finding another sponsor. What I do not like is the lack of partnership with this relationship. The person says they are in a bad spot and you offer to help or share and nothing. I agree with Dallas, the book will get you sober. I also believe in home gatherings too. I think internet :D is just fine for support in fact it might just be better than a meeting at a Intergroup office.
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Postby Dallas » Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:26 pm

Hello Finch,

It's nice to read your take on this subject. Thanks for posting. I used to wonder about A.A.'s who had to really keep it tight in regards to their anonymity -- about how tough it would be for them. Early in sobriety (my first 10 years) :wink: I had some big problems come up due to anonymity breakers and name droppers in the Fellowship. There were a few times, that it wasn't because of their ignorance -- it was more a case of malice. Fortunately for me, I was self-employed and owned the business -- so, when I lost clients I was able to replace them. But, if I had some important job -- working for another company or organization or institution, my career could have been on the line. I'm sure there are many in the Fellowship that have it extra hard because of who they are or what they do. And, I can see how the Internet might be a very supportive tool for those in those kinds of situation.

Sometimes, I think it's easy for many of us who have had the luxury of good, strong, sponsorship, and... the luxury to be able to go to many AA meetings in areas where there is a lot of members and a lot of meetings -- to begin to think "everyone else has the same luxury that we do."

As much as I believe in the principle of Sponsorship -- had I had to find a new Sponsor, within the Fellowship where I live now, especially when I first moved here -- I would have been one of those who opted for no sponsor. My Sponsor might disagree with that, or he might agree with it. I'll never know -- because it isn't a real problem that I have to discuss with him. It's only theory.

An old-timer member by the name of Chuck C., who had made a tremendous influence on many A.A.'s where I got sober -- and who made a huge influence on A.A. worldwide -- stated clearly -- that he never had a Sponsor. ("A New Pair of Glasses" Chuck C.)

Perhaps the difference with Chuck was -- the era in which he got sober. If I remember correctly, he got sober in 1941, in Los Angeles. They didn't have thousands of meetings each week in L.A. at that time. They didn't have tens of thousands of A.A. members -- with tens of thousands of opinions on "How it works."

There have been many times -- over the years that I've walked into numerous A.A. meetings (and currently still do) -- and when I listen to some of the sharing going on -- and consider what I was like when I was new -- I would turn around and go buy a bottle -- without ever finding out that "There is a Solution."

Where are the old-timers... with more than a year or two?

Where are the Sponsors -- that are reading the Big Book, let alone leading their Sponsees through the Steps out of the book?

If you don't have that -- what's the difference in the guy who takes himself through the book, and through the Steps? He's probably better off to do it on his own -- than to do it with someone who hasn't read the book. Then, he can come back and sponsor the sponsor that hasn't read the book. :wink:

The message in the book hasn't changed. The A.A. program of recovery hasn't changed. It's the Fellowship and the message that is being carried by the Fellowships -- in the meetings -- that gets changed.

Perhaps it's always been this way. I'll never know -- because I've not always been here! :wink: Maybe, I was just lucky to fall into a barrel with a bunch of Old-Fashioned AA's, who were really hard-core when it came to messages that were shared in meetings.... and I got lucky to be able to get sober under their watch.

There are times now, when I'll walk into a meeting and there is so much non-A.A. non-sense being shared -- that I grab a cup of coffee and go outside and wait till the meeting is over, hoping to find a newcomer to talk with. My head just can't take hearing the stuff. I get disturbed. And, I'm sure not going to be helpful to anyone, including myself -- if I'm disturbed. So, I end up going to fewer and fewer meetings, and sometimes travel great distances, to attend some A.A. meetings where I know that I'll always find a strong A.A. message in those meetings.

So, what does all this have to do with "Online Sponsorship"?

If I was having trouble getting sober in an A.A. meeting, because there wasn't much A.A. in the meeting -- at least I can log on to the Internet -- where I'm sure to find some A.A.'s that talk more similar -- about A.A. -- as to the A.A. as I read it in the book, A.A. I can connect with A.A.'s all over the world -- who have an interest in the Old-fashioned A.A. that I'm familiar with.... and that gives me a new life -- daily. I can order, buy and download -- files of A.A. speakers -- who talk about alcoholism, and A.A. like I read it in the book. I can identify -- with their alcoholism. And, I can identify -- with their recovery.

Sometimes we get people who come to this site -- who want to make it like the modern watered-down support group theorist of Any-ism and Any-solution... with Multi-Purpose addictions and recoveries... and Multi-Purpose messages. But, it won't happen here -- on my watch. :lol:

Dallas
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Postby carol1017 » Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:52 pm

Sometimes we get people who come to this site -- who want to make it like the modern watered-down support group theorist of Any-ism and Any-solution... with Multi-Purpose addictions and recoveries... and Multi-Purpose messages. But, it won't happen here -- on my watch.


You just made hero status in my book, Dallas!!! :lol:

I just recently got into a "spirited discussion" with some members of another site over whether depression and other mental health issues should be discussed at AA meetings. While I have no problem with those discussions AS THEY RELATE TO ALCOHOLISM, I do have a problem with that being the entire focus of a meeting. Show me how you used the steps to solve a problem -- tell me how the steps have helped you in dealing with your "issues", but don't just tell me about your issues and problems. I come to AA for solutions to my problems with alcohol -- not to hear someone's therapist's theories.

Ok -- I vented now -- I feel better! :lol:
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Postby Dallas » Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:39 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I hope nobody from the other place followed you!!!

If they did -- we'll have to send them back!

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Susan » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:21 am

Dallas I have to admit I visited my folks in AK and went to meetings at this clubhouse near where they live and it was wonderful!!! I am from Northeast Ohio and AA is pretty good here. I will say this though AA went down the drain when it became part of the penal system. If we stopped signing court papers AA would clean up a lot. It would be safer and more serious minded. I go to closed discussion meetings and swear by it! I also feel that everyone in AA is important not just new people. Life on life's terms for all can make any of us shaky at times, we need each other to meet :D challenges that grab us daily.
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Postby carol1017 » Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:29 am

*Looks around*

Nope, Dallas, I wasn't followed -- the cloaking system must be working!!

:wink:
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