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Old 09-17-2017, 05:47 PM
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AA stuff

I am almost 11 months sober.


I am very active in AA; I have 2 official home groups, I go to 8 to 11 meetings per week, I am chairing one meeting in September and two meetings in October. I have my first lead scheduled for November 7th.

I feel I am working a pretty good program but I am lacking in the part of helping other alcoholics. I have tried to sponsor a few guys; but it fell apart before we could work together. One kid just disappeared and the other guy is still around but isn't that friendly anymore.

I feel I might have come on too strong.

The problem now is that I am leery about getting involved with someone else because I am more worried about my feelings and/or having to be burdened or bothered with someone else's problems.

Today at an AA meeting I was eavesdropping on a conversation between this young dude and an older guy - the young dude was asking the older guy to be his sponsor. The young dude was going on and on about all his problems and the older guy did give the young dude his number but he seemed aggravated and not willing to sponsor the young dude.

I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if I should offer my number to the young dude but then I became self centered and worried that this kid would be trouble and become a burden.

I need to help others to work a program and get out of myself. If my sponsors wouldn't have helped me who knows where I would be today.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:12 PM
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I'm not in AA but it seems to me that maybe you're not ready to sponsor anyone right now. I'd suggest that you continue to work your program and work on yourself, maybe think about sponsoring later on.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:41 PM
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Doug,
In my experience the desire to help,others is a sign of great progress in recovery. It is quite a reversal from the self centered individual who usually walks through the door. On page 129, it indicates the alcoholic should be working with others a great deal especially in early recovery. They say that this will do more to insure his sobriety than anything else.

And it sounds like you are doing a lot in that direction. I wouldn't get too hung up on the title of sponsor. It's actual definition has become a bit mixed up in recent times. Read the chapter on working with others. It's full of ideas how to approach the newcomer.

In my experience too, it is important to remember the limits of our experience. We have some experience living the AA way of life and working the steps which may help the new guy. We are not their banker, counselor, relationship, employment, or religious advisor. If we try to take on these responsibilities, we will soon be overwhelmed.

Chris and Myers R have some excellent material on sponsorship which can be found on odomtology. They expect their new guys, sponsee s if you like, to always have their eyes peeled for the new face. Never let a new guy in without a warm welcome and an explanation of where everything is and what it's all about. They don't let them sit around waiting to be ready, and the book backs them up.

The other important thing I try to remember is that I have no control over the results. My job is to plough the field and plant the crop. Everything after that is up to God. Certainly poor sponsorship is harmful, but even the best sponsors have their failures, more than you would think. Bill went for six months and couldn't get anyone sober. But he stayed sober, and that was the secret of AA. Giving rather than receiving is where true recovery lies.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug39 View Post
I am almost 11 months sober.


I am very active in AA; I have 2 official home groups, I go to 8 to 11 meetings per week, I am chairing one meeting in September and two meetings in October. I have my first lead scheduled for November 7th.

I feel I am working a pretty good program but I am lacking in the part of helping other alcoholics. I have tried to sponsor a few guys; but it fell apart before we could work together. One kid just disappeared and the other guy is still around but isn't that friendly anymore.

I feel I might have come on too strong.

The problem now is that I am leery about getting involved with someone else because I am more worried about my feelings and/or having to be burdened or bothered with someone else's problems.

Today at an AA meeting I was eavesdropping on a conversation between this young dude and an older guy - the young dude was asking the older guy to be his sponsor. The young dude was going on and on about all his problems and the older guy did give the young dude his number but he seemed aggravated and not willing to sponsor the young dude.

I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if I should offer my number to the young dude but then I became self centered and worried that this kid would be trouble and become a burden.

I need to help others to work a program and get out of myself. If my sponsors wouldn't have helped me who knows where I would be today.
One thing I find important in AA is to set boundaries. People in AA especially those new are often damaged and some badly damaged. If asked I will offer advice on staying sober and will pick up the phone if the person calls. Yet, I am not a marriage or financial advisor. I will buy a member a cup of coffee and something to eat if they want to chat and are broke. But I won't lend out money or let a member couch surf in my home.

The focus of our relationship at least until I actually know the person is strictly on staying sober.
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:47 PM
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what are you doing other than AA? what are you doing for fun?

sponsees will come when you're ready - they will ask you, not the other way around

you might want to read a bit about codependency - you seem keen to rescue people & then feel resentful of the burden before it's even happened!
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by andyh View Post
what are you doing other than AA? what are you doing for fun?

sponsees will come when you're ready - they will ask you, not the other way around

you might want to read a bit about codependency - you seem keen to rescue people & then feel resentful of the burden before it's even happened!
It's not unusual to hear an AA member share during a meeting about the various people they sponsor and the ensuing drama.

Plenty in AA enjoy feeding off co-dependency.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:11 PM
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Step 12 is not just sponsoring othrs. It can include any and all types of service position - making the tea, meeting and greeting, sweeping the floor. More commitment might be telephone service or e-mail responder, depending on how much sober time you have. What does your own sponsor suggest?

You can give your number to any newcomer who might need some support and want to phone someone for a chat - not just potential sponsees. Helping people by listening, saying hello when they're on their own and looking a bit lost - all 12-step work.

As far as the young guy dissappearing - you know, it's not all about you. There are lots of reasons he might have changed his mind about AA and sobriety. The other guy - why not ask him? I had someone approach me, all guns blazing asking for sponsorship - what she meant was she wanted someone to moan to about all things non-recovery related. Suggesting that she actally sit down and do any of the work she needs to do for step 1 (her own reflection etc which I can't / shouldn't do FOR her) has so far met with a lack of phone calls and lots of excuses. Once I asked her if she still wants to do the step work and she could answer honesty - not right now - well, that's fine. If she wants to contact me when she's ready then go for it. Meanwhile I'm a friend in AA, not really her sponsor. Sponsors are for guiding through the steps. We can suggest step work, but they've got to want it for themselves.

Give it time. It'll happen when it's supposed to.

BB

PS Perhaps the old guy was agitated because he felt that 'someone' was eavesdropping??!! Lol. Old timers pick up on a LOT of stuff y'know.
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Old 09-17-2017, 11:34 PM
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For about the first 2 years of my sobriety (finished the steps with my sponsor at about 4 months) my 12th step consisted more of working on the 2nd part of the step than the first part (practicing the principles of the program in all my affairs). As for the first part of carrying the message I did what you are doing now...chairing meetings, opening up and setting up meetings, making the coffee and cleaning up after meetings.

I'm a bit of an introvert so it took some time for me to "put myself out there" as far as going out for the "meeting after the meeting" and approaching newcomers and initiating conversations. One thing i did do was to start sharing more in meetings, particularly when the opportunity arose to share about the solution I found in the steps. Eventually I had newcomers occasionally come up to me after the meeting and initiate the conversation, which eventually led to sponsorship opportunities.

I honestly think my HP knew when I was ready to sponsor and that's when the right situation to do so presented itself.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:21 AM
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Doug,
If you really want to experience the magic of AA, how about putting your name forapward for the 12 step phone list. Apparently AA is short of volunteers who are willing to go see the still suffering alcoholic when they call. That was certainly the case when I was answering the phone. I really struggled to find people willing to go on 12 step calls. I used to do a lot myself, but the idea is that these opportunities for service and the rewards that go with that, should be shared around.

Apparently box 459 had an item on this. The 12 step coordinator had to make up to twenty calls to find a willing twelve stepper.
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Old 09-18-2017, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Gottalife View Post
Doug,
If you really want to experience the magic of AA, how about putting your name forapward for the 12 step phone list. Apparently AA is short of volunteers who are willing to go see the still suffering alcoholic when they call. That was certainly the case when I was answering the phone. I really struggled to find people willing to go on 12 step calls. I used to do a lot myself, but the idea is that these opportunities for service and the rewards that go with that, should be shared around.

Apparently box 459 had an item on this. The 12 step coordinator had to make up to twenty calls to find a willing twelve stepper.
I live in Cleveland, Ohio - near where AA started in 1935. In Northeast Ohio their are about 850 different meeting per week.
I offered to volunteer at the AA Central Office but they have plenty of people due to the fact that AA is huge here.
Ohio is also number one in the USA for heroin abuse so we have plenty of people in and out of the rooms all the time.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken33xx View Post
Plenty in AA enjoy feeding off co-dependency.
I love the anecdote about Melodie Beattie...one of the biggest authors on co-dependency. ..

She started out getting sober in AA. Then the pain of trying to sponsor others and 'get them sober' landed her in Al-Anon...where she started to uncover her own issues with co-dependency

Learning to genuinely be helpful to others...without the urge to control or rescue them or feel responsible for them...is a skill I think and a massive part of what recovery and sponsorship is all about.

Anyone who sponsors and doesn't have anything to say about this...well they worry me

OP you'll be fine. Keep to the basics....helping out at meetings...passing on your number when you can...working your own program....the rest will come.

Edit...and as Gottalife said...your central office 12 step list or telephone service. Though you may need 12 months sobriety for this. In the UK we now use 'online responders' too...people who respond to email enquiries and requests for help, or who man the 'live chat' feature on the AA GB website.
P
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug39 View Post
I need to help others to work a program and get out of myself.
.
that reads like the majority of the problem right there-
NEED to help others over WANT to help others.
if you have decided you WANT what we have.............
i NEEDED AA after my first drink.
but WANTED it after my last- about 23 years later.

there are a jillion ways to get out of yourself.
None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did. We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. All of us spend much of our SPARE time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe.

to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.

I am Responsible.
When Anyone, Anywhere
Reaches Out For Help,
I Want The Hand Of A.A.
Always To Be There.

And For That,
I Am Responsible


doesnt say
im responsible
when ONLY alcoholics anywhere reach out for help...
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
that reads like the majority of the problem right there-
NEED to help others over WANT to help others.
if you have decided you WANT what we have.............
i NEEDED AA after my first drink.
but WANTED it after my last- about 23 years later.

there are a jillion ways to get out of yourself.
Hear hear.

When I'm disturbed...I need to quiet the disturbance IN ME first. ..by working ALL aspects of my program.

Running out to find someone who needs my help...when I am batshot crazy...because *I* NEED to help someone...well that is a sure fire way to damage other people, as well as completely avoid looking at my own issues, behaviour...ideas, emotions and attitudes...

Helping others has a place...but a little caution is adviseable

P
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:26 AM
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Have you read "Working with Others"?
Also - you don't need to sponsor to help others. The big book doesn't even MENTION sponsorship. Stay behind after a meeting, talk to a newcomer, offer rides....when the time is right the correct person will come into your life for you to officially sponsor.
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bunny211 View Post
Have you read "Working with Others"?
Also - you don't need to sponsor to help others. The big book doesn't even MENTION sponsorship. Stay behind after a meeting, talk to a newcomer, offer rides....when the time is right the correct person will come into your life for you to officially sponsor.
Yeah I guess that is right.

I tried for months to get a sponsor and mine just came to me naturally - most of my problems are in my head, that why I used to used booze to quiet them down.
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:19 PM
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you can also do service work- set up before and tear down after the meeting. make THE best coffee anyones ever had.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:41 PM
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Step 12 - “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Originally Posted by Doug39 View Post
I am almost 11 months sober.
That's fantastic! Congratulations.

I am very active in AA; I have 2 official home groups, I go to 8 to 11 meetings per week, I am chairing one meeting in September and two meetings in October. I have my first lead scheduled for November 7th.
That's great to hear how being in AA is helping you. Did you work the steps yet too?

I feel I am working a pretty good program but I am lacking in the part of helping other alcoholics. I have tried to sponsor a few guys; but it fell apart before we could work together. One kid just disappeared and the other guy is still around but isn't that friendly anymore.
I've had similar issues. But what I realize is that I'm also doing Step 12 when I help others on SR, or when I lead or share in meetings. Additionally, Step 12 is two parts--we help carry the message to other alcoholics, AND we also practice these principles in all our affairs. I try to focus more on the second part when I don't have sponsees.

It seems very common for sponsees to flake or change their minds. Don't take it personally or think you're doing anything wrong. All we can do is lay the tools out at their feet. I reread "Working with Others" for a reminder of how best to approach and help someone, although some of it is a little outdated.

I feel I might have come on too strong.
I've done this, too. If you're gut instinct is telling you that, then next time just don't come on as strong. I came on too strong with my first sponsee and she disappeared in the middle of her fourth step.

The problem now is that I am leery about getting involved with someone else because I am more worried about my feelings and/or having to be burdened or bothered with someone else's problems.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean that you're worried about your feelings?

I don't take on other people's problems. I did early on, and then I realized I was just enabling them and they weren't going to get better. I had to set boundaries up and explain up front what my job was and wasn't as their sponsor. I was not there to help them with their problems. That's God's job. I was there to guide them through the steps and into God's hands.

Today at an AA meeting I was eavesdropping on a conversation between this young dude and an older guy - the young dude was asking the older guy to be his sponsor. The young dude was going on and on about all his problems and the older guy did give the young dude his number but he seemed aggravated and not willing to sponsor the young dude.
The older guy probably has an awful lot of experience unfortunately with sponsees thinking they are there to be a sounding board and problem solver instead of a sponsor.

I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if I should offer my number to the young dude but then I became self centered and worried that this kid would be trouble and become a burden.
I was taught to not offer my number, but to wait until the person asks for my number. That it should be their idea and not mine. It's up to you as a sponsor to set boundaries during your sponsoring. How did your sponsor sponsor you?

I need to help others to work a program and get out of myself. If my sponsors wouldn't have helped me who knows where I would be today.
You can help others in many different ways than just sponsoring someone in AA. You can help others with little things like smiling and holding the door for a stranger, giving someone the right of away in traffic, volunteering at a homeless shelter, talking to lonely patients in a nursing home, helping an elderly neighbor with grocery shopping, etc. You can also go to jails and carry the recovery message there.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:19 PM
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FWIW - In my location one is not even "qualified" to be a sponsor until after a year of sobriety. At least that's what I have heard in the AA meetings I attend.

To me sponsorship, like AA, is a program of attraction. Maybe if you just forget about it and focus on a good program and service it will come naturally?

Personally, I have one sponsee. He's not doing very well but my sponsor says this is pretty common.
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Pathwaytofree View Post

I was taught to not offer my number, but to wait until the person asks for my number. That it should be their idea and not mine. It's up to you as a sponsor to set boundaries during your sponsoring. How did your sponsor sponsor you?
That is one of those teachings that does not come from the big book. Our job is to carry the message to the alcoholic, not wait for him to come to us. If he is the real deal the very real risk is that the obsession will come back before he has had time to figure out what he is supposed to be doing.

The new guy is not usually functioning at 100%. It was a big decision for me to work out what socks to wear. Even getting out of bed was difficult. So it would not be very helpful to leave me wallowing around trying to figure out how aa works. When that obsession returns, it could be a day or a week or a month, no one knows, I will drink.

People handed out their numbers, sure, but if the obsession was on me, it would never occur to me to call them. The guys that really helped me were the ones that got my number, and called me. I got a call the morning after my last bender. The guy saved my life. I will never forget it.

I remember it like yesterday. H e called to see how I was, I said I had just been on a four day bender, he said in the most gentle way, he thought that might happen (something he had seen many times before in others) and encouraged me back to AA that day. I never drank again.

I dont know what would have happened had he not called. It was such a profound demonstration that someone actually cared about me.

Likewise with sponsorship, several qualified sponsors made it clear that the door was open, that they were approachable. And that made it easy to ask one of them.

We carry the message to the alcholic, make sure he gets to look over our set of spiritual tools, and our job is done. He can then make an informed decision about what he or she wants to do.
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug39 View Post
Yeah I guess that is right.

I tried for months to get a sponsor and mine just came to me naturally - most of my problems are in my head, that why I used to used booze to quiet them down.
What does your sponsor say about you sponsoring others and your feelings around it?
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