- When a sponsee disappears...

When a sponsee disappears...




Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

When a sponsee disappears...

Postby GeoffS » Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:43 pm

These things happen I suppose.

I guess you just have to pray they are ok, and hand it over and hope god helps them.

I know I offered the program truthfully and honestly as best I could, as it was given to me. Unfortunately whether they choose to live it or leave it is not something I can change.

How do others deal with sponsees just vanishing?
GeoffS
 
Posts: 365
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:55 pm
Location: Australia

Postby garden variety » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:37 am

Hi Geoff,

I understand what you're going through. It's happened to me. More than once. And the outcomes were all over the place. The time that was hardest for me was the first time it happened.

Before I used to think that some of the things folks told me were ways to rationalize the event. Sort of "sugar coating" something that was deep-down an ugly thing. I think some of the expressions like "at least you stayed sober" are just that - rationalizations.

For me today, I realize that when something like this happens, I have a legitimate "feeling" that bubbles up - it's called "disappointment". It's not a "sin" or something that needs a boatload of psycho-babble to over-analyze. Disappointment is a legitimate feeling ALL people experience (alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike). It's what happens when an "expectation" is not met. Having "expectations" is also a normal thing that doesn't need to be over-analyzed or rationalized away. With "disappointment" and "expectations", it's the reaction or response that I have with them that makes the difference.

For me, meditation always helps with these things. When I meditate in the "contemplative" way (check out the Meditation section on the forum), I'm letting the issues that I'm disappointed about, or the expectations that weren't met "pass through" my consciousness with the help of the "Divine Therapist". I learn that whatever is "disturbing" me will "pass through" my consciousness IF I LET IT PASS. I can let it pass. If there are other things, however, that I'm holding onto, that's when the "Divine Therapist" works with his own style of "transformational therapy".

Bottom line is if it's hard for me to let go of, something within me needs to get transformed. I need to change my attitude somewhere down the line. But if it's only a disappontment based on expectations, it will pass. I might feel uncomfortable for a minute or two, but it's kinda like a distraction - I mention like a empty potato chip bag that blows past my friend and me having lunch and chatting together - it's a momentary distraction that might capture my attention, but it blows through consciousness with no lasting "disturbance".

Let me share the outcomes of my experiences with the "Houdini" style disappearing potege's:

The first protege' went back out to "do some more research" as you like to say. He went back out drinking. Several months later (almost a year), a friend said he saw the protege' at a meeting, and he got another sponsor. I told the friend if he ever saw the fellow again, to ask him if he would let me know that I was "fired" as his sponsor. Bottom line was that he never contacted me again.

The second protege disappeared. Two years later, I ran into him at retail store. He was still sober, but working with a different sponsor. He gave me his new number, and we stay in touch. He is up to three consecutive years staying sober. He's working the 8th step right now. God bless him - I'm glad he's OK and is willing to keep in touch.

The third disappearing protege'. He gets angry with me based on "second-hand news". He stops calling me. A year later I see him at a meeting. He suffered a heart attack and was recouperating. We talked, and he came back to using me as a sponsor. But he wants a sponsor only when it feels like he needs one, not every day or on a regular basis. This fellow gave me the "Acceptance" pamphlet which talks about the "Whirling Dirvishes" on the desert. It was really neat how the acceptance light lit up in me with this. The protege' is Lebanese (born there) so the middle eastern desert setting for "whirling dirvishes" is a part of his life that he understands. So I have learned to treat him just like the "whiling dirvishes". The pamphlet says it this way: "I just leave them whirl." So I just get together with him when he is willing to get together. I'm glad he's sober and still seeks my help when it's needed.

OK so what the key is with all of these protege's and the outcomes is WILLINGNESS. I might be disappointed or have expectations with these fellows because I'm not "powerless" over them. I have the gift of "influence" - what I say and do can have an impact on change. That's why I feel disappointment and have expectations. The "preamble" says that AA is fellowship of men and women that have a common problem, and together we help each other to "achieve sobriety". So that means that I'm not powerless over people in the fellowship.

The thing I am powerless over is another person's WILLINGNESS to change. Truly, that's between God and the protege'. I'm not responsible for the level of willingness a protege' needs to stay sober. I'm only responsible to be there when the "hand" of AA is needed and whenever it's asked for. Like the literature says "for that I am responsible".

I hope this little essay isn't too much of a ramble. Take care Geoff, and thanks for helping me today.
garden variety
 
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby Dallas » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:33 pm

My experience has been that most of us, including myself, got personally and emotionally attached and bothered when we first started trying to help others and our help was either rejected and if they went back to drinking or worse – we spent a lot of time thinking about ourselves or them – and wondering if and what we might of done that caused their failure, or what we might have done differently so that they wouldn’t have failed. Our Chapter 7, Working with others, and the help of our own Sponsor is a great resource for showing us a better way.

My job is to offer them the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
If they take the offer or not – that’s their business – it’s not my business.

If they find a different way or a different A.A. to offer it to them, or if they go for it alone, or if they go back to drinking, or if they end it all – that’s their business and none of my business.

Through my experiences I’ve learned that it’s best for everyone involved if I don’t get emotionally involved or attached to the person I’m offering to help.

I offer to help them – not because I’m a great guy, or the best guy for the job – I offer to help them because it’s my responsibility because it’s part of my “How it worksâ€
Dallas
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

Postby GeoffS » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:32 pm

Thanks Dallas,

What you said kind of affirmed for me what my meditation and prayer and shown for me.

I guess it was more hope than expectation I had, I hoped this person might have learned the approach of 'do unto others', like you say I have no problem with being fired, or even outgrown. I helped because I was asked and because I have to. I don't expect thanks or anything like that.

I recognise that I have no responsibility for the sponsee's willingness to live the program. My job is over having shown the truth about this disease and the blueprint for working the solution.

I pray that they are safe, and am grateful for the growth that being allowed to help has given me.
GeoffS
 
Posts: 365
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:55 pm
Location: Australia

Postby Tim » Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:57 pm

I consider it a privilege and a gift to sponsor others, but I don't work--or not work--their AA program for them. I primarily try to pass on what I have received in sobriety. mostly by example, sometimes by suggestion, knowing that ultimately we have to rely on a Power greater than ourselves. ('But there is One who has all power. That One is God.')

I've had sponsees disappear without a trace, but continue to pray for them as they come to mind. The main thing is to keep my own house in order, otherwise I'm of no use to anyone.
Tim
 
Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:34 am

Postby Susan » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:13 am


I have had a bad weekend for being a sponsor, two went out drinking. One is in ICU with blood pressure and heart problems. They both have been in an out of treatment since there teens. This program does not work for everyone. I may take a Sabbatical for a while and regroup. Say a prayer for me.
Susan
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:10 am
Location: Lake Erie, Ohio

Postby Dallas » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:08 am

Susan, sorry to hear that you had a bad weekend for being a sponsor. I understand.

I used to have those kinds of bad weekends for being a sponsor, when sponsees would go back out drinking, or worse, helping the family with funeral details. I, too, have experienced taking the sabatical route to re-group.... because it was eating my lunch.

My sponsor helped me out with this and I haven't had to have a bad weekend for being a sponsor, since he helped. However, helping an alcoholics family with funeral arrangements is still a tough one for me. It's still emotional -- but, it doesn't effect me like it used to because I stopped taking it personal and owning it as my problem.

My sponsor pointed out to me that just like the actions that I take or fail to take will effect my life and not his life -- the actions that those that I'm trying to help effect my life only if I'm choosing to take responsibility and accountability for their actions and their results. He said that it wasn't going to effect his life -- just because I choose to let it effect mine. He also said that he was going to have a good weekend regardless of what I choose to do. :wink: I finally got that message and I haven't had those problems since.

I had been trying to carry the alcoholics while I was trying to carry the message to the alcoholics. I was trying to rescue them -- and my results were nil. It frustrated the heck out of me and I spent many sleepless nights.... That was also when I realized that I had been given the power to help them recover -- but, I couldn't recover them. Their recovery and their sobriety is their job. If I had the power to keep them sober and achieve sobriety for them -- they (and me) wouldn't need A.A.!!! :lol:


"RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly
followed our path. Those who do not recover
are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves
to this simple program, usually men and women
who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with
themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not
at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are
naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner
of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances
are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer
from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of
them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."

I have known many alcoholics that would not completely give themselves
to this simple program.... but I don't think I've ever met one who truly could not..... (yet).

I can help them with following our path -- but, I can't take their steps for them.

A doctor once told me that he could treat sick people and he could operate on them -- but, he couldn't heal them. I think I know why he told me that.

Best wishes for you.....

Dallas
Dallas
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas USA

Postby Susan » Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:58 pm

Thank You Dallas for your support and encouragement. It means a lot. I hate funerals too.
Susan
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:10 am
Location: Lake Erie, Ohio

Postby garden variety » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:00 am

Hiya Susan,

I'm sorry you're feeling sad about your proteges'. I know we can say "don't get too attached" or don't get personally involved, but quite frankly, that's a bunch of hogwash. I don't say that to be insulting or mean, either.

The program promises "Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change".

That is a promise - it doesn't say our attitude and outlook might change. It says it will change.

When I look at a protege' through the eyes of the changed man that I am, I see him as a spiritual being - a being attached to his Higher Power in the same way that I am - deep down inside. It doesn't matter if he has changed as a result of the steps, or if he has not had the needed spiritual awakening to be relieved of alcoholism. It doesn't matter because I have changed, and so has my whole attitude and outlook toward life, which includes the other people that are closest to me.

There is no way to "not get personal" with a protege' because of this promise. My soul - deep down inside - now begins to see the beauty and worth of every soul that touches my life. I begin to see the other man or woman the way God as I understand Him sees them. What makes this even more intense is how much I can identify with the sorrows and "low spots" of my fellow alcoholic. We are attached even closer and tighter by our common problem. That is a profound change in my attitude and outlook - I tell you what!

The result is that when I "give away" what was given to me, I AM (UNCONDITIONALLY) LOVING another human being. I can deny it all I want. I can try to rationalize it away all I want. But that is just "self-will" trying to control an outcome he can no longer control. I can no longer stop myself from loving another human being - especially if that is a protege' I've been given the chance to mentor. And the longer we have a relationship - a mentor/protege' or "sponsor/sponsee" relationship, the closer I will grow to him and the more attached my soul will become. I can try to talk this phenomena away, but it doesn't matter to my soul because it's now under the care and direction of God.

When I truly love another person as God loves me, I have no choice but to be VULNERABLE which means yes, I am personally involved. Why? Because God is personally involved with me. How could it be any different? The "pupil" does not, and cannot, rise above the "Teacher" - otherwise I'd be drunk again and there would be no such thing as a "Higher Power" beyond human achievement. A Great Mystery - that's what I call this - that allows us to be profoundly altered as a result of our 12-step program.

"Our whole attitude and outlook on life WILL change."

So I won't pussyfoot around with ways to disconnect or dislodge what is there - what a Higher Power has put there as a part of that "profound alteration" that happened to me. I love my proteges' - I can't help but become personally involved. When they go out drinking, or they end up in the hospital, or die - Lord almighty! I cry. I'm extremely sad. I mourn the loss. I have feelings of pain. I go through the grieving process which means that I try to bargain with God. I say and think things like "What did I do wrong" or "what else could I have done to stop this tragedy". I probably feel and experience things very similar to you, Susan. For me, this is life happening on life's terms. This is something I must accept, and I do accept.

I sometimes don't like the feelings that come hand in hand with love and vulnerability. I don't understand why or how it has to be this way. Why can't I just be "detached" and not be personally involved? I'm personally involved with "platonic" friends, lovers, former lovers, my dogs, even the gay manager of the coffee shop in my office building. I'm vulnerable to be hurt if and when any of these folks disappears. IT'S NOT ALL HOOKED UP TO MY DAMN PLUMBING! It's because God has given me a second chance in life to live sober, and the biggest part of that is being honest and vulnerable and surrendering the care and direction of my soul to a Higher Power.

So Susan, I understand why you feel the way you do - it's because you hurt. That's part of having a changed attitude and outlook on life. So, my friend, do whatever you have to do: regroup, go on a retreat, find needed time alone, meditate, cry, scream, pound a wall - whatever you have to do (don't pick up a drink!). I might not know exactly how or why you feel the way you do - I just know that you are hurting about it, and my heart goes out to you because I've been there, and I often find myself "there" pretty often. I just hope you always remember there is "the other side" that is there when you get through what you're going through now. And if you don't pick up a drink, hope is always there. I'm learning that we might have to walk through hell many times, but we don't have to stop and visit.

I believe the story where that carpenter fellow was out there on that cross getting hung - he said "My God My God! Why have you forsaken me?" If it happened to him, that means it WILL pretty much happen to me sometime too - in the same way with the same feelings. I don't think any pupil is above his Teacher.

Take good care of yourself, Susan. You're worth every penny of it!
garden variety
 
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby Susan » Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:50 pm

Thank You! I have to go to the funeral tomorrow, so pray for me. The families have high expectations of us too. She died at 44 years old in detox in the ICU at the local hospital, heart failure. Let us pray for all of the alcoholics who die today. Thank You all for being here.
Susan
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:10 am
Location: Lake Erie, Ohio

Next

Return to Sponsors Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests









.








12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - When a sponsee disappears...



cron