The right sponsor will not be perfect. If we were to find a “perfect sponsor” they would be worthless to us, we don’t need perfection. Alcoholism is a symptom of a deeper issue and the deeper issue needs to be worked on so we can stay sober. This means we need to work the steps. Staying sober is our primary purpose however the steps are devised to address the deeper emotional and spiritual issues in us.
Obviously it doesn’t take fellowship and 12 steps to comprehend “just say no” and “put the plug in the jug”. It does however take 12 steps, fellowship, working with others, and a spiritual connection to remedy an addict’s emotional and spiritual disorder.
We addicts beat ourselves up relentlessly because one day we are saying “tomorrow I won’t drink or use” and the next day we drink and use. What we don’t realize is that our emotional disorder has stolen away our ability to follow through on our choices about using and that if we are to regain our power to follow through we must learn what it is or remember what it is that empowers us spiritually and emotionally.
We need a sponsor who knows how to stay sober and has worked all 12 steps. Mutual respect and honesty are high priority on the list when choosing a sponsor no one deserves being disrespected. Next we need a sponsor who will be dependable and will show up for our meetings or at least have the courtesy to call and cancel if they can’t make it. If our sponsor misses an appointment without calling more than one time we may have to fire them and find one who will show up. Keeping our appointments with our sponsor no matter how loud our inner-voice screams otherwise is imperative if we are to stay sober. A sponsor who does not show for his appointments with a sponsee is acting brutally irresponsible. A sponsee who stands up his sponsor could die or worse. Even if a sponsee shows up and his sponsor doesn’t they have learned a good lesson about that sponsor and unless a valid emergency has occurred should fire them immediately and move on to the next possible right sponsor.
In the program there are sponsors who feel they need to beat down those with less clean-time with criticism, sarcasm and by pointing out your shortcomings for you. There are even those who will turn around and use your confidential fifth step confessions against you. God forbid you choose that type of person for a sponsor but if they do betray you…it will come back on them. All the steps are written for us to apply to ourselves not for us to apply to others by taking their fourth step inventory for them.
A sponsor’s job is to encourage, counsel, guide, teach, share, and teach us to work the steps and how to continually apply the steps in our lives as a way of life. A good sponsor is a good example and does not continually point out our shortcomings. It is part of the growth process for us to take responsibility for our lives by making our own choices and reaping the consequences of our new good choices. A sponsor should never try to make our choices for us that would stifle our emotional growth and give us a beast of burden to blame for our life.
Building confidence and self-esteem is accomplished by making and following through with esteem able choices.
When we addicts get into romantic relationships it feels good and we tend to become emotionally unhealthy with it by either handing over power of choice to our partner or trying to control the other person then we quickly lose interest in sobriety and personal growth. A sponsor/sponsee relationship can get dysfunctional also if we don’t set clear boundaries. Again if a sponsor want to control us rather than suggest to us then we ought to walk away and find another one. We should not character assassinate anyone by gossiping including those who have wronged us.
We all need to vent our strong feelings or they will eat at us but when we vent about a person in AA we need to vent with someone who will not gossip. When we first come to the rooms we won’t know who to trust but it won’t take long to figure that out. KNOW PEOPLE BY WHO THEY SHOW US THEY ARE NOT BY WHO THEY TELL US THEY ARE. Gossip is done by spreading ugly rumors about people to people who we know will tell even more people. Venting on the other hand is when we share our feelings about a situation in confidence with a person we trust. God save the sponsor who does not allow their sponcee any emotional venting of feelings. Some people pretend they no longer have feelings and never get hurt or angry because they are in recovery. Not true! As long as we are human we will have strong feelings. We should not shut our sponsees down by cutting them off unless they are going on too long in the blame game and speaking about other people’s wrong and bad behaviors rather than their own feelings. We must protect ourselves from emotional vampire’s which will suck us dry spiritually if we listen to them bitch long enough.
Woman especially however need to have a safe place where they can share their feelings about situations and people this is not gossip. To be continued….. I will be doing a segment on communication, relationships and working with others. The next post will be in the next couple of days. Thanks for reading along. If you are a stickler for recognizing my not so great grammar and punctuation please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “EDITOR” in the subject box. I really could use a reliable editor who doesn’t mind working once in a while for free in the name of the 12th Step. Thanks Lori