If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. –John Quincy Adams
A few weeks ago I wrote, very briefly, that I reached another milestone: I have been asked to sponsor someone in the AA program. I have not written about it since, primarily because not a lot has happened. We see each other several times a week on an informal basis. We attended one meeting, and shared our personal stories with one another. And that’s about it.
From my perspective, very disappointing beginning to the sponsor/sponsee relationship. Here’s what I imagined would happen: after seeing the serenity and joy emanating from me, she would want what I have, and so she would go to any length to get it. She would then take every suggestion I offer, thereby achieving the same joy and serenity I have. Shockingly, thus far things are not going according to my plan.
In the past few weeks, I have been doing my own research, and have “interviewed” many people in the program with long-time sobriety to find out how they sponsor people. And here’s what I have discovered: there are as many definitions of the word sponsor as there are people in the AA program. The good news is there is certainly room for flexibility. The less good news: absolutely no hard and fast rules by which to proceed.
My plan is to take my sponsee through the steps the same way my sponsor took me through them, which was almost academic in nature. Weekly sessions, multiple hours at a shot, homework assigned, and lots of personal discussion. This method worked brilliantly for me, and I still use the information I was given in this process on a daily basis.
Here’s the challenge I face with my new relationship: I am unconvinced (and that word is an understatement) that my sponsee has any real desire to be taken through the steps.
You may be thinking, but then why would she ask to even have a sponsor if she does not want to go through the steps? Unfortunately, there are many reasons someone would ask for help without really wanting the help… to get their loved ones off their back (been there, done that), because they want to appear as if they are serious about their recovery when in fact they are not (been there, done that), or they have some legal requirements that they are trying to fulfill.
Sadly, I suspect all of the above for my sponsee.
So where to go from here? Several proverbs apply, the most obvious being that I can lead the horse to water, but I can’t make her drink it. I have offered to get together, her schedule is an issue. I have been with her on a Monday morning and offered to take her to the meeting I started, and then take her wherever she needs to go afterward, but she has “other things to do at home.” We have made plans to do things, but a conflict arises and she must cancel. And now I sound like I’m complaining, so I will stop. I’m not complaining about her, I am just frustrated that I can’t give back what I have been so freely given.
Any advice is welcome, I am most certainly open to suggestion!
That I have the “privilege” problem of worrying about someone else’s recovery!
Posted on February 26, 2013, in Recovery and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, God, John Quincy Adams, Recovery, Sobriety, sponsor, Substance Abuse, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.