Is it Odd or is it God?

Coincidence is God‘s Way of Remaining Anonymous. -Albert Einstein

Sometimes the “coincidences,” or “messages,” or whatever you want to call them, are more difficult to interpret than others.  Here is a recent story I would like to share:  I mentioned before that a very important component in working the steps of recovery is more or less a training session so that I may pass on my experience, strength and hope to someone else in need.  The analogy I used with my sponsor… it is like a pyramid scheme… I’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on (who here is old enough to remember that commercial?)…

So I recently told an addictions counselor this strategy, and she was very quick to disagree.  She believes that a person should have 2 years of sobriety before they are qualified to sponsor another, and she was quick to caution me not to jump into the role too quickly.  This advice was given on a Friday, and the following morning I had a commitment to chair a topic meeting, and so, in the spirit of making things all about me, I chose the topic of sponsorship, and elicited the group’s feedback.  In the course of my side of the discussion, I shared a story of my earliest sponsor in the AA program, who, long story short, had only 8 months of sobriety, and, to put it in the nicest way possible, had absolutely no business offering to sponsor me or anyone else.  I severed those ties over a year ago, and since that time she had left the program (the AA world is a small one, and I had been given this information from several sources).  But my point in sharing this story was… am I equally unqualified to be a sponsor, since I have only a little more time than she did?

Fast forward one day, and the meeting that worked out best for my schedule fell at 2:00, in the same location where my Saturday meeting was.  I am pretty well-known at this place, and I will be starting a meeting of my own there next week (a topic for a different post).  So I went to pass out my flyers and to see if there were any newcomers I could talk into coming to my meeting.  Well, there was one person new to the meeting, and three guesses who it was… you got it, the crazy first sponsor that I haven’t seen in about 15 months.

To say I was uncomfortable during that meeting would be a gross understatement, I haven’t felt like that in a really, really long time.  She presented herself as though she had never left the Fellowship, and, since it is not my place to judge, I will refrain from comment.  I attempted to have a conversation with her, she was dramatically dismissive.  Again, I will refrain from the comments I would like to spew out.

Since I still had another amends on deck later that afternoon, I did my best to put the situation out of my mind, and I went about my day.  This week, my goal is to get to as many different meetings as I can in an attempt to do a media blitz for the meeting I am starting.  I go to one today, and once again, this woman is at the meeting, and this time she is making announcements for the place where I am starting a meeting as if she is the CEO of the organization (alright, that might have a little commentary in it, I am only human).

So now I am left to wonder… why, why why?!?  Is God putting her back in my life just as I am starting my amends process for a reason?  Certainly, I owe her an amends, if for no other reason than I was less than communicative when I severed the ties, but this is truly a case where her wrongs far outweigh mine, and, sorry, but there are way more important people in my life to whom I owe amends than to her.  But I just can’t ignore the signals here… she is back for a reason, and I guess she will keep surfacing until I figure it out.

Sorry for the long post, I am trying to work this out as I write, I welcome any feedback!


Posted on October 24, 2012, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Do you think she may somehow need YOUR help now? Since I don’t know the WHOLE story I may be way off-base…but as you’ve noted many times, God works in ways we may not see at first glance. I’m sure the reason will surface eventually (especially now that you are doing two-a-days with the Big Man)
    Also, I found myself wanting to buy some “Head and Shoulders” after reading this post. Interesting….


  2. My historical past tells me constantly that I am not able to take anyones inventory nor be the keeper of who owes me an amends. That is outside my control and if I dwell on it, it will eat me up and I will make no progress on my own lift of amends. I can only control what is mine, what I own and what actions I take as a result. I can only work my program and no one else’s. As alcoholics we have obsessed with what people owe us, at least I know I have. It has driven a many in recovery back out the doors. Trust me, some aren’t as lucky to make it back either. I would simply pray for her and pray she gets honest with herself, pray she works a program of recovery and succeeds. Hard to resent someone when you are praying for them.

    As for the whole sponsor thing, here is my take on it. The literature says “if you want what we have” and if someone wants what you have and ask’s you to sponsor them, then that is up to you 2. How much time did Bill have when he started working with Dr. Bob? Sure wasn’t 2 years! If you have something to offer the person asking, then thats all it takes. A desire to stop drinking is what is required right? I am sure that if that person is just starting out and working on Step 1, having done that step – you then have something to offer. Sponsorship isnt a marriage – after a few weeks, that person may move on to another sponsor, or you may help them find one that may have a lot more experience. One alcoholic working with another – that is how Bill said it works, its how we stay sober.

    Keep it simple my friend! I always read your blogs and completely enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I believe as you that there are no coincidences.

    It sounds like maybe you are harboring some resentment toward your ex-sponsor. Resentment is poison for us.

    We are all at risk everyday of succumbing to our disease. It is cunning and baffling and is progressing always even when we aren’t aware of it. I have seen old-timers go back out. It can happen to any of us. How wonderful that she came back. What courage that took.

    There are no set guidelines on sponsorship. I’d probably follow the advice of your sponsor and your counselor. But regarding your ex, maybe she really just wanted to help. Maybe she didn’t know otherwise.

    If you owe an amends, make one and move on. It can be quick and informal…

    And maybe check out the 12 & 12 on Step 10 again, I think it’s page 90:

    “What about “justifiable” anger? If somebody cheats us, aren’t we entitled to be mad? Can’t we be properly angry with self- righteous folk? For us of A.A. these are dangerous excep- tions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.”

    Hope a little of this helped.


  4. I really enjoy the openness and the message about coincidences in your post from yesterday. I think you are doing an amazing job. Having done regrooving work myself to be less judgmental of others I recalled quite vividly my desire early on to run through everything and start helping others. If my interpretation of what you wrote yesterday is close, my suggestion would be to keep working on yourself right now. Continue to be helpful to others but keeping working and focused on you.

    I think it is harder to be both a trainer and a trainee. Teachers certainly learn from their students and my kids teach me lessons all of the time. Sometimes they are the ironic lessons of them teaching me something I tried to teach them but forgot or lost my way. Without a doubt you will benefit from the extra work and only you will know when you are ready to take that on.

    From my experience, my challenge was not knowing exactly when I did enough work since my work was not a course, a degree or a certification test. I recall very early the desire to do so and looking back realized how premature it was for me to try to help others regroove when my grooves were not yet there. In due time you will be helping many, but the analogy that comes to my mind is when Luke Skywalker was in the swamp training with Yoda. He wanted so much to help his friends and use his new talents that he left training a bit too early. He promised to continue his training but there always was something else to do.


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