What is AA Sponsorship all about?
They say in AA we should meet the new-comer at his or her level not try to drag them up to where we are after accomplishing years of step-work, meetings, and more work. How does sponsorship work? Shall we take advantage of the fact that we have gained some self-confidence and give the newcomer the beat-down so we can build them back up??? Shall we order them around in front of our fellows to make us look good? No, No, and Hell-no! But believe it or not immature and even hostile behavior toward a sponsee happens more in AA sponsorship than it should that’s for sure. We should be patient and tolerant with the newcomer.
The best way to do that is by relating. We try to relate to whatever topic is at hand. If the topic is changing people places and things then we remember back to our early days in AA and how those changes affected us. We put ourselves in the shoes of the newcomer rather than resenting them for not knowing what we so painstakingly learned. Then we incorporate our AA knowledge into our experiences of how we learned that knowledge and grew from it. We qualify ourselves to the newcomer as being worthy to share our AA knowledge because of our alcoholic war stories.
Rather than trying to pull our sponcee up to our level of recovery we are meeting them where they are and the reason that we can help them and ourselves of course is that we can usually relate to just where they are. Newcomers don’t take just anyone’s suggestions unless they can tell that the speaker has been where they have been. The newcomer needs to know that the people in the rooms have felt the extreme hurtfulness of incomprehensible demoralization.
We share from our hearts we speak in the “I” format so as not to offend the newcomer. A man with an extreme inferiority complex due to years of going against his own heart and good sense is easily offended. The alcoholic spends years defying his own moral compass therefore subconsciously loathes himself. He starts his day from the platform of low-self-esteem so naturally he reads that opinion into people’s actions and comments toward him. Little does the alcoholic know that seldom do others look at him the way he looks at himself so he need not be so defensive.
And so we remember when working with our newcomer how we thought that the world revolved around our belly buttons as well. Or in other words we thought people were much more concerned and aware of our negative actions. We share with the newcomer the things that gave us hope when we came in. We don’t treat the newcomer as if he were a lesser person he is not. All of us are equal from the gutter stained alcoholic to the 20 year sober keynote AA speaker we are just in a different place is all. In Gods eyes we are all of value.
We remember the sarcasms and snide remarks that were said to us these things we don’t repeat. There are those in AA who take pleasure in treating the newcomer like they are walking into a high security death-row prison and have to go through an orientation by ruthless inmates. We do not have to have that mentality. Without the newcomer many of us old-timers would scarcely stay sober.
Step Twelve hangs on the fact that we have newcomers to work with to keep us involved in a purpose of higher importance. Newbie you are of high value to us in AA and many people even say you are the most important one in the room. Of coarse that statement would be bullshit because any honest AA-er will admit he regards himself as the most important one i the room. I don’t know maybe there really are some saints out there in the rooms who would put the newcomers sobriety and well-being before his own. But the way I understand it most of us work with others to keep ourselves sober firstly, the rest is gravy.