- Picking a Sponsor

Picking a Sponsor




Discussions related to Sponsors, Sponsoring, Working with others,

Picking a Sponsor

Postby Worm » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:02 am

My name is Derek and I'm an alcoholic. As I have said in another post, I live in a rural area which means all the groups that I attend are not very large. I have been thinking very hard about a sponsor.

All of our groups in the area are somewhat intertwined because if you want a meeting every day, you are gonna have to go to one of the other groups.

There are two guys at my home group that I think would make great sponsors. I heard one's story this week and it was awesome. Both come to meetings regularly. One is easy to talk to, seems to be easy going and laid back a little. The other is more direct and seems be the no nonsense type. I am so new in the program that I want to make the right decision on my sponsor. Ten years ago I had one that was very quiet and that didn't work well. It was my fault for not using him.

The thing is I'm not sure which would be best for me since I am new in the program. Gruff or easygoing? I know its my responsibility to use my sponsor to make it work. I hope not to make that mistake again.

I'm not looking to have a buddy, I need guidance in the steps because honestly theres alot I don't understand

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks for letting me share.
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Postby Dallas » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:02 pm

Worm wrote:There are two guys at my home group that I think would make great sponsors. I heard one's story this week and it was awesome. Both come to meetings regularly. One is easy to talk to, seems to be easy going and laid back a little. The other is more direct and seems be the no nonsense type. I am so new in the program that I want to make the right decision on my sponsor. Ten years ago I had one that was very quiet and that didn't work well. It was my fault for not using him.

The thing is I'm not sure which would be best for me since I am new in the program. Gruff or easygoing? I know its my responsibility to use my sponsor to make it work. I hope not to make that mistake again.

I'm not looking to have a buddy, I need guidance in the steps because honestly theres alot I don't understand


If you were going to suggest one of them to me, knowing that my life depends upon the quality of the AA program that I do... which one would you pick for me?

Have you considered using both of them, for the time being, for suggestions... and make a decision later, after you have more information?

One of the men who helped me most was not my sponsor. My sponsor helped me a lot. I don't want to take anything away from that. But, the guy I wanted to be my sponsor, and the one that helped me the most... I was afraid of him and very uncomfortable around him. So, I would sneak up behind him and try to listen to the suggestions that he was giving his sponsees... and then I would go take the actions that he told them to take. :lol: Today, that man is my sponsor and I'm not afraid of him, and I'm comfortable being around him, if I'm doing the deal. I get real uncomfortable if I'm not -- because I know he can see through me. :wink:

For me, my sponsor is my sponsor. Even though I consider him the best friend I ever had -- he keeps a distance. That's for my good. He says he can't be my sponsor and be my best friend, too. Because, a sponsor will sometimes have to say something to me... that I wouldn't even allow my best friend to say to me.

When I picked my first sponsor, and it was a good choice for me... one of the guidelines that I used... was I didn't want to pick someone like me. I wanted someone totally opposite. Someone, that appeared to me, was sane and knew how to live a "normal non-alcoholic" type of life. A guy that knew how to get up and go to work in the morning. Keep his commitments. That treated his wife well. That paid his bills. That knew how to stay sober and could show me how to stay sober, too.

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Postby GeoffS » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:01 pm

I think there's loads of stuff said and written about getting a sponsor.

What we tend to hear most often is 'pick someone you can identify with' or 'find someone who has what you want'

thats all well and good, and is probably good advice for people who have some time up.

I heard someone say once 'pick someone who wants what they have'... seems to make a lot of sense.

Thinking back to when i was new, the only people I could really identify with were other newcomers. They possibly would not have made good sponsors. When i was new what I wanted was to drink. So Again those that had what I wanted were possibly not going to be good sponsors.

My experience of getting a sponsor was very simple. I was at my 3rd meeting, and I asked the guy standing next to me what getting a temporary sponsor was all about. He told me I should start calling him from tomorrow morning. He's still my sponsor...

I guess there is a lot to be said for getting a temporary sponsor, especially in early days, or if you are new to an area?
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Postby Dallas » Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:06 am

GeoffS wrote:When i was new what I wanted was to drink. So Again those that had what I wanted were possibly not going to be good sponsors.


Why couldn't I have thought of that?

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby garden variety » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:25 am

Hi Derek (spelled it right this time!).

In the final analysis, it didn't matter for me. I had little to do with picking the last two sponsors I had, and each one helped more than the previous one.

I joined a hardcore AA group after nearly relapsing and losing contact with my first sponsor. I asked the secretary because I knew I needed a sponsor, and it didn't matter who it was. I knew I was just about to drink again, and I couldn't count on my own judgement being right. I knew this group was "hardcore" meaning it does things exactly by the book, and there were a good handful of guys that had solid sobriety and looked like they were pretty happy, joyous, and free which I was not.

The secretary pointed to the guy that was mopping the floor and said he's your sponsor. The guy looked up at me, and he was younger than me and had less sober time than me. He just smiled and gave me his number and said read the Doctor's Opinion and call him tomorrow. Which I did.

I really owe my life today to that young fellow. He took me through the steps, and taught me how to make the steps and my sobriety the most important thing in my life. He was always there whenever I needed help with a step, or when somebody rubbed me the wrong way. But he was not your "friendly" kind of socializing sponsor - he was (and still is) pure by the book. He made me lead the meeting after a few months which scared the crap out of me because I never led before, and the home group members were not playing. They took the program dead serious. I never in my imagination would have thought this fellow would have been a good sponsor, and if I had a choice I wouldn't have picked him.

But the irony today is, we are now close friends even though he's not my sponsor anymore. We each know more about each other, and our deepest darkest secerets then some of the longtimers - that includes girl stories of heartbreak, sex for the first time sober, and stuff you would not expect guys to talk about with each other. He took me to the home group that I now belong to because he said the meeting had sobriety the way he was taught. When I first visited my current homegroup, I could not believe the years and years of sober men and women. My sponsor and me were talking over time, and he suggested that I join the home group I now belong to - which also meant that I should find a sponsor there. He could see how I was growing and that I needed a meeting with a different "AA culture".

I'd been going to my current home group at least a year before I joined, and I met a couple guys that I began to call regular. Then when the time came to join, I just knew I'd be asking one of them to sponsor me. One guy had 37 years, the other guy had 28 years. Then something really novel happened...I decided maybe I should pray and ask God about which one I should ask to sponsor me.

As soon as I sent that prayer to Him, I got an inspiration instantly. I looked over by the meeting doorway, and I looked (more like "was directed") at this guy who was the first member in that group to offer to help me - he asked if I needed a ride. I didn't know it then, but he lived about 50 miles in the other direction of where I live. He actually sensed that something was going on in my life, and that I might need help which was 100% on the money. Of course I threw some objections to God, which were this guy is gruff, some kind of former Marine Viet Nam vet with a scratchy and loud voice, and I don't know him from Adam. But I knew this was the guy, it was just that deep down, what I call "gut feeling", that has NEVER - EVER been wrong.

So this is my sponsor today. He's got 30 years sober, he's an avid and devout Catholic fellow. He's stern, opinionated, and describes his personality as "Mercurical" which means he's an emotional hothead. This would have been close to the last fellow on earth that I would have chosen to be a sponsor. But God had other plans. I mean I knew nothing about the Catholic religion even though my mom is Catholic. I really thought the "religion" thing was going to get in the way. But as it turned out, I learned more about them than I could have imagined, and I've found a deep and profound respect for their religion, even though I'm not one of "them".

Catholic monks taught me everything I know about meditation, and that has been a profound and life-changing part of this journey. When I say profound, I mean more profound than anything I've ever experienced. What an incredible and unexpected gift?

Now it was about six years ago when I almost went back out drinking and found the first new sponsor mentioned above. If you would have given me a "snapshot of the future" of how much my life changed in so many profound ways today and given it to me back then, I would have said hogwash and asked you if you were toking on something, or taking high-powered sedatives. My life today is nothing I could have ever dreamed of or planned to turn out this way.

Even in this forum, Dallas, AND his sponsor who I've heard give a message or two, have made a new believer out of me. More and more I realize the "trick" is understanding this today (here's my new expression Dallas) - "Constructive action NEVER fails". Yes, finding a sponsor and thourough and diligently working the steps are the actions I started taking - and they produced revolutionary changes in my life in a short period of time. The book says I MUST take "constructive action" if I want to stay sober. But buddy let me tell you what - if you think AA is the only organization that teaches "action, and more action", try hooking up with an avid Catholic sponsor and keeping an open mind to the religions of others!

If I take "constructive action" as suggested by my sponsor and AA, I WILL find the God of my understanding and understand Him better - that is a guarantee. I might not know anything about Him, or understand very much either about the "God concept". But by golly, I will find this Power that is completely beyond anyone's words or limitations.

So Derek, what I'm saying is it doesn't matter which one of the guys you're attracted to becomes your sponsor. What happened with me is that God sent me to the first guy in my home group that took "constructive action" to help another alcoholic - which was me.

Constructive action NEVER fails.
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Postby GeoffS » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:13 am

Dallas wrote:
GeoffS wrote:When i was new what I wanted was to drink. So Again those that had what I wanted were possibly not going to be good sponsors.


Why couldn't I have thought of that?

:lol: :lol: :lol:


I love that! Could we have heard and be carrying a similar message? Could it be working?

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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