The Truth About Getting A Sponsor For Alcoholics – Do We Really Need A Sponsor? Can It Cause Harm?

Notes:

  • What is a Sponsor? A sponsor can be misconstrued sometimes. At times there are people who put their sobriety in someone else’s hands. Sponsors are there to guide you through recovery
  • Brittany had experiences with having Sponsors – a woman came up to her at one point and told her she would absolutely not stay sober without one
  • The way Brittany got her Sponsor by simply calling out in a meeting one time she needed one and it didn’t work out as she chose someone who she didn’t know
  • When choosing a Sponsor it’s important to find someone that connects with you which will help make the relationship stronger
  • In Brittany’s opinion, it’s a mistake to become someone’s Sponsor early in sobriety as your foundation needs to super strong and that could put extra pressure on you
  • Marcus did AA for the first 90 days – 90/90 meetings – he found someone that was OK, but he didn’t want someone to call and complain to 24/7
  • Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and he didn’t want a Sponsor to be a crutch, but more of a steppingstone
  • When Marcus first got sober, he still had a mindset that when he had difficult feelings, he wanted to drink
  • Marcus recommends finding someone that has their head on straight, misery loves company, and you need to be careful when choosing this person if that’s what you plan to do
  • Sponsorship needs more discussion, as there is not really a clear definition of what that relationship looks like
  • Same sex sponsors are most likely the best bet, it has worked for some people, but not everyone in the world is out for your best interest
  • There are sometimes ulterior motives unfortunately
  • One of the positives of Sponsorship is that there is someone where if you about to drink or if you find yourself in a difficult situation you can lean on them
  • Sponsors can technically be looked at as a sober friend, you could have all the support from family or friends, but if they are not alcoholics they have no idea what you are going through
  • There are people that want to take advantage of others, be mindful and careful of that
  • NEVER PUT YOUR SOBRIETY IN SOMEONE ELSES HANDS
  • Marcus & Terry did not expect them to the only tool you use, you have to own your sobriety and do whatever it takes
  • A great TalkSober video that aligns with Sponsorship is ‘Can you get Sober without AA?’
  • Just because one sponsor does not work for you, it just means that situation didn’t work for you
  • Sponsorship cannot be a lifelong thing, so we cannot rely on them for the rest of our lives, but again it could be a great steppingstone

 

TERRY’S LETTER:

Sponsorship

“Hi, Terry here, sorry I couldn’t make today’s webinar, but I do want to give you my experience with sponsorship. In today’s webinar Marcus and Brittany are going to cover some questions you may have about sponsorship. What is a sponsor? Do we or don’t we need a sponsor? Why or why don’t we need a sponsor? Can a sponsor actually hurt our recovery from alcoholism? So here’s my take……….

I have had a lot of experience with sponsorship in Alcoholics Anonymous. I have had a sponsor the entire time I have been sober, and I have sponsored quite a few men. What I say here about sponsors and sponsorship is just simply from my experience and observations while working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am in no way an expert on sponsoring or being sponsored nor am I an expert in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Also, I have next to zero knowledge about other recovery programs and weather they use sponsors or not. I use the program of Alcoholics Anonymous for most of my recovery program and that has allowed me to stay sober and love life.

With all that said, the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous does not mention sponsorship anywhere in the program part of the book. It does however have an entire chapter about working with other alcoholics as the founders of the program found that helping other alcoholics get sober was a sure way to help with their own recovery. Also, there is AA approved literature does talk about sponsorship.

So, what is a sponsor? A sponsor is simply an alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program. He/she shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety. For myself, my sponsor helped introduce me to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. He introduced me to others in the program, helped me to develop many new sober friends that I could relate too. He helps me to keep myself accountable in my sobriety. He helps me get through difficult situations by giving me an unbiased objective look at things so I can respond in a healthy productive way. In the beginning he showed me what to do during those days where I just didn’t know what to do with the boredom, stress, and anxiety of early sobriety. Basically, he gave me the tools that his sponsor gave to him for a successful sobriety. Now a days we kind of help each other remind ourselves about sobriety and what we need to do on a daily basis. My sponsor is an important part of my sobriety. He is an integral part of keeping me in that sober mindset that gives me serenity in my life.

So, do we really need a sponsor? Of course not!!! Many people get and stay sober without sponsors. I know many people that have long term sobriety that do not have sponsors. However, my experience and observations have shown me that people with successful sobriety had some sort of outside help. For some it’s a sponsor with a twelve-step program. For others it’s a doctor help with group counseling sessions. There are many ways to get and stay sober and I have always said try everything you can. And then settle in on what works. The key is, is to be honest, open minded, and willing to do what needs to be done for sobriety.

Now there are bad sponsors, just like there are bad people. After all, a sponsor is also an alcoholic in recovery and comes with his own set of past or present issues. My sponsor did and does not bring his problems into our relationship unless it can help what we are talking about. I’ve seen many that I personally would not want to be sponsored by. But maybe they are good for someone else. When I sponsor someone, I first find out if they are willing to do anything to get sober. I try to get a bit of their story. I try to see if we are going to be compatible to work together. I let them know that they are not bound to keep me as their sponsor and that my job is to take them through the 12 steps so they can begin a new better life without alcohol. When I work with them, I take them through the 12 steps, I will share my experience as to how it relates what we are covering that day. I will see if they can relate to what we are covering from their experiences. I don’t analyze, I don’t judge, I just try to help.

Can a sponsor actually hurt our recovery? Of course. The wrong sponsor can absolutely hurt someone’s recovery. There’s some important things to look for; Have they worked the 12 steps, do they have a sponsor, are they enjoying life in recovery, can you relate to them, can they make time for you, are they active in service work, do they go out of their way to help newcomers, do they listen to you, are they positive, you are not afraid of them, basically you want someone that is going to help you whenever needed and help you develop a happy sober way of living.

I think most alcoholics would be best served by getting a sponsor. You don’t have to keep that sponsor. If they don’t work out get another one or none at all. Just be careful that whatever decision you are making is with sobriety as your top priority. So, there you go, that’s my take on sponsorship.”

 

 

  • Great point in this letter, you could do everything possible, but if you don’t WANT to get sober you are not going to get sober
  • We carry around stories like a backpack thinking those are what defines us
  • Letting go of a story DOES NOT mean that someone who has harmed you means that they are off the hook
  • Sometimes when we get a sponsor we feel the need to re-hash every single horrible moment in our lives, but that is not the case
  • You can be both a healthy and happy person, who had bad things happen to them
  • Ruminating on old stuff can sometimes keep up in addiction, sometimes we need a different perspective
  • You are not the sum of what you’ve done, your thoughts or anything that’s happened to you
  • If you find a sponsor that supports that, just be here now and let’s just not be drunk
  • The whole point of this is that even if it’s not a sponsor, you need some form of foundation to protect your sobriety
  • Brittany will sometimes write down situations and how she would deal with them to not drink
  • If you are looking to a Higher Power, just know they are not it
  • Having a sober friend to bring perspective is so important as they can relate and know what you are going through – it’s a partnership
  • If and when you go through the steps, it’s not a race, take them seriously, be thoughtful and don’t compare yourself to others
  • Changing your life philosophy is so important in sobriety – the way you think and what you put into your mind is what you get out of it
  • A sponsor should be someone who points the way
  • Sponsorship should not be a dictatorship, more of a collaboration between two sober people
  • Stoic philosophy is really great for sobriety and that is where the serenity prayer came from
  • “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”
  • Book recommendation: The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
  • In regard to feelings in early sobriety is the problem isn’t the feeling – it’s the explanation of them
  • We are all running a program and that can affect the way you think
  • Sponsors are there to help with vulnerability or situations you are not prepared for

 

 

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