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Old 12-05-2007, 11:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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goofs and mistakes as a sponsor

Hi all,

One of my sponsees got a year recently and I realized two days after the meeting that I had missed the meeting I was supposed to present her with her medallion at.

I called immediately once I realized it, apologized and owned my mistake. She was actually hoping I had forgotten about the medallion presentation, not much for attention, but it was still my responsibility to be there and I wasn't. She forgave me, but I still have some lingering guilt about being irresponsible.

I did have a little gathering for her and gave her a present and her medallion on her actual anniversary so I'm not a complete derelict!

Anyway, obviously sponsors are human and make mistakes that we learn how to make amends for later. I was wondering if anyone has some experience, strength and hope in this area.:comfort

Enjoy your twenty-four,

Virginia

Last edited by prairierose; 12-05-2007 at 11:04 AM. Reason: wrong emoticon
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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As I have never officially sponsored anyone I can not give you any ESH from that perspective. Here is my perspective as a sponsee.

It is good for me to be reminded that my sponsor is only human. It is dangerous to put anyone on a pedistal. I know that the one thing I can count on is my HP. Putting expectations on people only will create disappointment for me. Each of us is doing our best to work the program, keep progressing, and stay sober. None of us are perfect, if we were we would not need this program.

Don't be so hard on yourself. It sounds like your sponsee has forgiven you. Forgive yourself. In the future make a point to be more aware of such dates. Something that works for me when faced with a situation I am having trouble letting go of is working the steps around it.
1. Admit I am powerless over the situation, person, or thing and that worrying or stressing about it is creating stress in my life (unmanagebility).
2. Come to believe that my HP can return me to sanity regarding this situation.
3. Make a decision to turn the problem over to my HP.
4. Made a searching and moral inventory of our wrong. What was my part in it?
5. Admit my wrongs (you have done that you admitted it to your sponsee and to us.
6. Be entirely ready for our HP to remove this character defect.
and so on.....

Hope you find some peace with this soon. Take care.
Judith
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Maybe it means something, my sponsor isn't the reason I recovered.
But we've never done the chip thing so it doesn't register.
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Old 12-05-2007, 02:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, giving her the year chip seems to be important to you than her! Maybe some pride or ego with that that is making you feel bad, the chips are suppose to be for the newcommer to give hope,as long as she did that then job well done!
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Old 12-05-2007, 05:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies . . .

I guess what I'm more interested in hearing is other sponsors who have made mistakes and how they felt about it. It's really not an issue with my sponsee and I certainly better not be the reason she stays sober!
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Old 12-05-2007, 06:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey Prairie,

Another sponsee here..my sponsor missed a phone meeting with me this week. I'm really ok with it, funny how I missed one with her and she got all up on my butt and then she goes and does it! HP sure has a sense of humor!

Anyway, she's talking about it with her sponsor to figure it out. I have of course accepted her amend, wasn't really a big deal to me but it was to her and I'm sorry that she feels upset about it. Do you have a sponsor you can go to about this?

I still admire her though, probably even more so..
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As a sponsor, I make it clear I'm not perfect and don't have all the answers. I've made similar mistakes, and, like you, I've had to make amends for it. Once I do that, I try my best not to dwell on it. Recovery is a process, and if I'm going to tell a sponsee that "she's right where she's supposed to be," I've got to accept that I am, too -- perhaps a little more humble when facing my humanness.

If you don't believe guilt to be a productive emotion for your sponsee, how about you try not to harbor it yourself?

Peace & Love,
Sugah

P.S. I also tell them I'm not their mother, and even as a mother, I try not to carry around guilt -- but just in case they think I should...
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's not about me

I do not give my opinion unless it is asked for. That being said, here is my experience and observation as that is what you asked for.

Your original post contains the word "I" 10 times. You might want to look at what that is all about.

My job as a sponsor is to put the sponsees hand in God's hand, I do that by working them through the steps laid out in the Book Alcoholics Anonymous.

When I first started working with people, the notion that I actually was keeping someone sober was my delusion; essentialy playing God. This caused me and my Ego a lot of pain . This is not about me anymore, trust the process, trust the program, Trust God, we are not in the results business anymore.
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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yea,I have missed one sponsee`s anniversity once.It was a tough descision,and I went to a family thing that was very important to my son instead....I called my sponsee andlet him know I would not be there.
My sponsee seemed ok with it.
He now get a chip every year,even if I have to mail it to him.Thats one anniversity I don`t want to miss.
I do have some other sponsee`s now and they know I am as human as they are.There is no use to beat myself up over a mistake.
If I don`t make a occasional mistake, I`m probally not doing anything.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think you gave your sponsee the greatest gift you ever could.

You showed her we don't have to be and are not perfect in recovery.

Of course, as a sponsor I have made mistakes, and have missed an important event for a sponsee now and then. I am human. Most times in my recovery, I have kept commitments I have committed to, however, sometimes things just do not go the way we plan them. That too is part of life.

You did good. You made your amends, your sponsee seems happy, so maybe it's now time to give it to HP and get on with today.

J M H O

Love and hugs,
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by prairierose View Post
I did have a little gathering for her and gave her a present and her medallion on her actual anniversary so I'm not a complete derelict!
Medallions aren't generally given to a person prior to their "actual" anniversary date so all turned out well. If your pigeon had been upset, I'd be talking about her expecting her medallion before it was deserved. We shouldn't take things for granted. Remember, sobriety is a one day at a time gift.

My primary responsibility to my pigeon is to carry the message of this program, not to hand out medallions.
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Making mistakes and making amends is part and parcel of a responsible new life. Two days of forgetting to attend a new person’s most anticipated day is whatever you say it is, though I would have to inventory what was happening with me to forget to serve another human I had made life changing commitments with; what is positive rather than what is negative.

Sponsorship is more than pretending to be the wire rack of AA pamphlets, a taxi or the tour guide to the area meetings. The individual way each of us commits to sponsorship is the best gauge of our current level of humility in our own miraculous new life. The answer could be this; what am I willing to do for another? Justification of a mistake is old thinking; asking for affirmations to support old thinking under the guise of human commonality is old thinking. I am not a fan of the proverbial line, "Oh we are all human", as if this phrase eases my inability to complete the task, commitment or promise. I relate this line of thought to the word "sorry" and the misuse of the word "powerless".

I apologize that there is a lcomplete ack of comfort here, but there sure is a lot of love and respect for your courage to post your error. You said you were wrong. You have made the amend. Move on. Live free!

Last edited by RufusACanal; 12-07-2007 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 12-07-2007, 05:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The program I worked had a prize, a spiritual awakening.

If I'm sponsoring someone and they start talking medals, I'd have to wonder if they're listening.

My drinking buddy went into AA 2 yrs before me, he showed me a medallian (the only one I've ever seen) , he said a girl gave it to him and said "before you take a drink, give it back to me".
I can see the cleverness in her motivation.

My freind drank himself to death with half a gallon of vodka.
I wasn't involved in AA at the time, so I can only conclude either he wasn't working the steps or medallians don't do anything. Both?

Thoroughly have we seen them fail who rarely follow in our path.
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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As a sponsor, I've probably made every mistake in the book. And as I have stated before, the directions in Chapter 7 are probably the least followed in the book. Nowhere in the book does it tell me to get a sponsor. The book teaches me how to be a sponsor.

As for medallions, they have nothing to do with AA. There is a history behind them, which I won't go into. I do know that in my chronic relapser days I had a shoe box full of thirty day and twenty-four desire chips.

Sometimes we so caught up in worshipping the book, meetings, the steps, sponsors, service, and the like that we miss the point. It is almost like idolotry. We worship all the fingers that point at God, but not God.

My sponsor told that he loved me so much that if I needed to go drink myself to death he wouldn't get in my way. He also told that if I wanted to get well that he would walk to the gates of hell with me, but if I wanted to stay sick, I would have to go there by myself. I take that to heart. I won't help some one stay in or wallow in their sickness, and I sure won't help them die. I hear it in AA meetings that "we will love you until you can love yourself." Well, sometimes we will love you to death in our ignorance.

I can't work with someone who won't participate in their own recovery. This will sound harsh, but it's like if you don't care, I can't care. But if you show me the slightest hint that you do care, I can't help but care.

The idea here is to place dependance on God ahead of dependance on people. My goal with sponsorees is to get them free of me as soon as possible. I now know what my first sponsor meant when he told me that he couldn't keep me sober, but that he could point me towards what was already keeping me sober.

It is arrogant of me to believe that I can help alcoholics. I can't help anyone who is beyond human aid. I can only point them towards God.
Jim
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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As I reread Jim, I am again struck both by your honest candor and your willingness to serve; both of which I have come to appreciate. I am grateful we can agree to disagree. I see a place for medallions and I give each of my Sponsees one for every milestone.

I see the need to signify accomplishment with the new person as they build personal confidence and trust in others and I see the need to love, mentor and maintain a relationship for as long as the new person is willing to meet God and be full of booze. I have almost rubbed this 1957 Franklin Half I carry to bare metal over the years. It is a reminder of my deeds, actions and accomplishments that reinforces the foundation of a new life. I stay sober because of that new man and by God and by you. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me this morning, because you have in many ways.

R
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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As I reread Jim, I am again struck both by your honest candor and your willingness to serve; both of which I have come to appreciate. I am grateful we can agree to disagree. I see a place for medallions and I give each of my Sponsees one for every milestone.

I see the need to signify accomplishment with the new person as they build personal confidence and trust in others and I see the need to love, mentor and maintain a relationship for as long as the new person is willing to meet God and be full of booze. I have almost rubbed this 1957 Franklin Half I carry to bare metal over the years. It is a reminder of my deeds, actions and accomplishments that reinforces the foundation of a new life. I stay sober because of that new man and by God and by you. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me this morning, because you have in many ways.

R
Thanks Ron,
And I appreciate you being here as well.

But I must say that my sobriety is not something that I've accomplished. All I did was drink enough alcohol to have to do this work and to get my buehind kicked enough to be desperate and willing.

I believe that there are miracles and that there are accomplishments. All an alcoholic with an ego like mine has to do to miss the miracle is to take the credit.
Jim
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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A freind told me he was going to buy his son a new car as a reward for graduating and getting his degree (CPA).

I asked if he is devaluing the degree,
because the degree IS the reward.

Its the same only even more pronounced with the steps, the prize is something which the Big Book does not do justice to, there are no words which can adequately describe the realization that God has done something within my mind.

Theres lots of things I've heard around AA that have nothing to do with AA, 90 in 90 is another one. But perhaps they serve to expose me to what doesn't work.
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This thread brings me back to when I first started sponsoring. I was barely a year sober and not real sure of myself. I remember telling my sponsor that. He said that I seemed to forget that I just tapped a source of power much greater than myself and with that with the book and the experience I'd just had, I had all I needed to begin.

I haven't kept track of how many I've worked with, but most haven't stayed sober and only a handful have made this a way of living. It is not my business what they do with this once I give it to them.

The first two men I sponsored are still sober. One just celebrated 16 years in August and I see him frequently. In fact he and I are going to a meeting tonight. He is active in AA and has sponsored quite a few men through the steps. The other man I haven't seen in a few years. I think he just had 16 years last month. Initially he worked with others, but his path led him back to the religion of his childhood and that is where he serves God. Last time I spoke with him he was doing well. I usually get a Christmas card from him.

Often I hear people say that they don't feel ready or don't have anything to give or don't feel good enough about themselves to sponsor. I have to remember Bill's story where at a year and half sober he said that wasn't well and plagued by waves of self-pity and resentment. I've been there many times. But then he says that he continued to work with others. Bill gives me a lot of hope here. Here is a man who was made instantly conscious of God and rendered sober, yet at eighteen months he says he wasn't too well at the time.

Thank God that it is my spiritual experience that I'm giving away and not my emotional condition. Otherwise the people I work with would often times be in deep you-know-what.
Jim
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:03 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Then after Bill carries it to Dr Bob and Bob makes all his amends in one day they immediately realize they need to work on another drunk to keep themselves sober , so Dr Bob calls the hospital looking for drunks.
Eddie T (?) is a washout but Dill Dotson takes and they're off and running.

Funny thing is they didn't even know how to sponsor or exactly what it was that they were doing that was effective. They just kept doing it.
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Like I said I've made every mistake there is. That is how I learn.

My function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness, which, thank God, is not an overnight matter.
Jim
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