- Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Opposite Sex Sponsorship?




Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

Opposite Sex Sponsorship?

Postby debt » Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:56 pm

I have somewhat recently begun sponsoring other women, and my latest sponsee has told me that she also asked one of the guys to be one of her sponsors. I advised her that I didn't think it was a good idea to have a male sponsor for a woman. This guy took issue with this, with me, and told me that it's totally within the realm of the AA program for him to sponsor women - of which he has maybe a dozen women sponsees. He claims that it's often easier for a woman to confide in a man rather than another woman, and that the BB does not say anything against opposite-sex sponsors/sponsees. I think he has good intentions, but I always thought that "the program" advised against opposite-sex sponsors. He's right - I can't find anything against it in the BB. Am I misinformed?
Thanks! (This is my first time on this forum - yay!)
debt
 
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Postby Dallas » Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:44 pm

Hello DebT, and welcome to the forum!

It's nice to have women on here that can help women! :wink:

And, I look forward to your participation.

This seems to be a real controversial topic and I wasn't sure if I wanted to pitch in on it or not.

I got sober on the West Coast, and there, it seemed common for men to sponsor women and women to sponsor men.

There are no written rules about it. Just opinions -- and, everyone seems to have one.

My sponsor sponsors women and does a great job with it. Most of us guys that he sponsors -- avoid it. I think it has everything to do with the individuals and what they decide is best for them and if they are cut out to do it or not.

I live in an area that it's nearly impossible for a newcomer woman to find a woman sponsor. And, when they do find a woman to sponsor them -- it's a kind of sponsorship where the one woman gives another woman a Big Book, or a bunch of non-A.A. literature and tells them to go read it -- and that's about the extent of the sponsorship.

I take a lot of guys through the 12 Steps and I've done a lot of 12 Step workshops for male and female participants. A lot of women ask me to take them through the Steps. I've done it a couple of times -- but, I avoid it like the flu -- because it causes me so many problems.

It's sad to watch the newcomer women alcoholics die from alcoholism because they can't find a woman who will help them, or that can help them. It breaks my heart to watch it. But, when I've tried to do something about it -- it causes too much controversy and criticisim and gossip and lies and rumors. And, then that reduces my effectiveness in trying to help any alcoholics. So, that's why I avoid it. It has always seemed to back-fire on me.

For me... my attitude is to "Live and Let Live." What people decide is their business. Out in the real world -- men and women live and die together. In the bars they live and die together. And, in recovery they live and die with each other.

When I was new in A.A. it was easier for me to talk to and trust the A.A. women. And, if it were not for them -- I wouldn't have made it. Later, they helped me get to a place where I could trust the men in A.A.

I've known many women in and out of A.A., that trust men more than they trust another woman. And, if they're alcoholic and they decide to get sober -- that doesn't seem to change easy for them. I understand their problem and I try to be a friend that they can talk to and confide in if they wish. I don't want them calling me "Sponsor"... but, there's a lot of guys that I don't want calling me their "Sponsor" either. I seem to be able to help more people more effectively -- when I keep it as "A.A. Friend" rather than "A.A. Sponsor."

Our book tells us that we're supposed to stop playing God. Yet, it seems often that A.A.'s are trying to make God-like decisions for other alcoholics, based upon their opinions -- and I wonder if that's really helpful to anyone.

Then, we (yes, I've been guilty of this, too... and I don't assume or suggest that you or anyone else has done it...) seem to tell newcomers to "trust God, clean house and help others"... and then we seem to suggest that they are too sick to trust God, to make adult decisions, and to rely on whatever they believe is their guidance from their own Higher Power, as they understand it.

I believe our main purpose is to be helpful to all people... and especially alcoholics. So, I often ask myself "Am I being helpful?" Do I practice love and tolerance?

Another thing I used to hear a lot when I was new in sobriety, was "check your motives!" Yet, when I finally read Chapter 5, of the Big Book, I learned that even though my motives can be good and perfect... things are still likely to blow up in my face!" I'll end up stepping on someone's toes -- or violating their opinions... and then, there will be hell to pay! :lol: So, I try to keep it loose and not let myself get too serious about my ideas and opinions -- that it ends up making my head tight.

That's my take on it. I hope it helped in someway for me to share it.

Dallas
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Postby debt » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:30 pm

Thanks Dallas - for a very thoughtful and helpful response to my question, and for the reminder I need to not take my own opinions and ideas so seriously! Sometimes it gets confusing when I'm dealing with sponsees and all their issues. By the way, this sponsee did tell me, a week or so after she took on this male sponsor, that she was "madly" in love with him.....so maybe this is what you mean about good intentions (on the male sponsor's part) gone awry. I think she came to the program with pre-existing issues regarding relationships that I doubt the male sponsor could have foreseen.

But I agree with your attitude of keeping it "loose". I'm sure you know how it is when you care so much about doing a good job, that things get intense, and you need an objective voice - like this forum - to bounce things off of.

Thanks again for your help!

Deb T
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Postby Dallas » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:50 pm

DebT wrote:By the way, this sponsee did tell me, a week or so after she took on this male sponsor, that she was "madly" in love with him


Sounds like a perfect recipe for disaster... for both of them! Hopefully, he has a sponsor. He'll need one. :wink:

If she’s following her own suggestions – she’s sponsoring herself.

Sometimes, it seems to be best when we step back and let them see where following their own suggestions leads them. And, to let them know: “Look, I wish the best for you. If your ideas don’t pan out very well for you – and you finally decide that you’re ready to do something totally different than what you’re doing – give me a call. Maybe, we can talk about it.â€
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Postby Susan » Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:57 pm

I too, have had women who want nothing to do with women PERIOD! They run with men and now I let them do what they want. I am firm though, some women want a woman sponsor but filter all the info through the man. I let them know right up front when they got all of that going on they do not need me. I let them off the hook and they can not call me there sponsor. I do not sponsor that much anymore as I have ceased fighting anyone or anything. I only sponsor someone who is really willing and has there ass in gear! :D
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Postby Dallas » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:46 pm

Finch wrote:I only sponsor someone who is really willing and has there ass in gear!


I sure understand that one! :wink:
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Postby GeoffS » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:14 am

Dallas wrote:
Finch wrote:I only sponsor someone who is really willing and has there ass in gear!


I sure understand that one! :wink:


I only sponsor if the person asks.
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Postby Tim » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:08 pm

I think opposite sex sponsorship is a bad idea. There is just too much potential for problems, especially given the usually intimate nature of the sharing that occurs.

The sexual element can be too tempting in this kind of relationship, and can lead to issues. As a married man, I would personally not use a woman sponsor or sponsor a woman.

When I am asked to sponsor someone, I always ask that we get together first and talk over our expectations of each other before taking the plunge.

For anyone interested, Hamilton B. has written a fine book, Twelve-Step Sponorship, that has many helpful suggestions about sponsorship. Also, AA has sponsorship conferences that can provide useful tools for being a good sponsor. Or sponsee.
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Postby Susan » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:15 am

Hi Time, This book by Hamilton B. is great! It was so helpful to me. It some how picks up where the BB leaves off. It also helps with a lot of behavior for the sponsee too. I too do not sponsor anyone cold, I have to get to know them a bit. When I tell them we have to get together and see if we can connect that is the end of it. One out of twenty people will call me. A lot of people just like to say they have so and so for a sponsor and not do anything.
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Postby debt » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:20 pm

Thanks for the book suggestion, "Twelve Step Sponsorship" - I just ordered it today and am looking forward to reading it. I'm looking forward to getting some concrete suggestions on sponsoring...... I also thank you for the suggestion of getting together first with a potential sponsee to see if we "click" - and to see if they're really serious about being sponsored. And while I'm on thankfulness, thanks for this forum. I'm finding it so supportive and helpful!
Deb T
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