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Old 11-02-2009, 02:35 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
keithj
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,095
Thank you for your willingness, Dallas.

Originally Posted by firestorm090 View Post
how am I, a skeptic by heart, to know when I'm talking with someone who has had a spiritual awakening,
Well, that's a good point. One good tip off is that they speak about it with no reservations. The other good tip off is that it shouts from them without them saying a word. My first sponsor made me only one promise. He promised to tell me the truth whether I wanted to hear it or not.

If I were in your shoes, knowing what I know now, I would look for someone carrying a Big Book. I'd probably try a closed meeting. I'd look for someone that consistently shared about powerlessness, surrender, higher power, the steps, program of action, and a spiritual awakening. I'd look for someone that didn't mince words or try to soft sell the program. I'd find someone that said my only hope was a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps, and that was confident the book contained the directions for doing that.

My home group is a little off the beaten path, small in size (8-25 people), not terribly popular with the mainstream AA crowd. In that room, there are 6-7 guys that are interchangeable for me as far as sponsorship. I would trust any of them to take me through the steps. Some of them I like better than others, but it doesn't matter. All of them are active in the steps on a daily basis. The guy who took me through the steps my first time I didn't like very much. He intimidated me, I thought he was self-righteous and arrogant. But he knew how this thing works.

Dallas, if nobody jumps out to you, I would ask. I would walk into a meeting and say that I was looking for someone who has had a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps to show me the directions in the Big Book. If you mention the book, it will scare off most of the people that talk a good game, but haven't touched that book in years. Say you want to take the steps, by the book, as serious as it gets. Or, I would call the local AA hotline and ask the same thing. At least around my area, the guys who volunteer for the hotline are pretty serious, and if not, they know who to put you in touch with.

Your description of previous sponsorship is rather sickening. If a guy can't call you back or doesn't have time for you, he's not the right guy. With guys I sponsor, it is essential that we sit down one-on-one, face to face on a very regular basis.

Originally Posted by firestorm090 View Post
It's my impression that by thoroughly doing the steps, with a sponsor, that a person can address the mistakes made, set them right to the best of their ability, then experience a spiritual awakening as you describe,
Yes, to some extent, that's how it works. But more. It's not just that 9th step. It's all the steps. One simple idea building off the previous simple idea.
It starts with surrender. If I'm not powerless, I don't need a higher power. Don't forget, Dallas, that I came into AA as a staunch atheist. My sponsor didn't care in the least what I believed. We focused on my actions.

I don't know what happened 5 years ago. Hard to say, but it sort of sounds like you jumped into amends without having a real experience with the prior steps. And really, it's best to forget about it. I don't stay sober on yesterday's experience anyway.

Some people, Dallas, whether on this forum or in person, I latch on to because I can feel that desperation. I know what that feels like. I'll help in any way I can.
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