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I've been DUMPED... by my sponsor

Old 03-30-2014, 09:43 PM
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Unhappy I've been DUMPED... by my sponsor

I just started regularly attending Al-Anon meetings this past December. I was advised by someone I used to be close with, that I needed to get a sponsor ASAP and he also suggested who I should ask. I gathered up the courage to ask her, and she said yes...which really made me feel like I was going in the right path. I had no idea really what this new relationship entailed, and I guess that's something I should have talked to her about from the very start. I did meet with her a few times, and we would talk pretty regularly via text, or at meetings. She just recently started giving me assignments, and I was doing them... I did share with her a conversation that I had with my mother, and she said she "highly recommended" that I go on a black out starting now, meaning I was to stop having contact with her. My mother is currently newly sober (again), but this is something I honestly can NOT do... at least when she is sober.

Well this week, I haven't really talked to my sponsor... It's been a tough week, and I guess I kind of "fell off the al-anon wagon" for a week. I lost my license in the beginning of the week for medical reasons, and found out one of my former students who I was very close to, was near death and wanted me to visit her (over an hour away). I was so overwhelmed with getting rides, asking for help, accepting that I will not have a license for 60 days... and then after seeing my student, I just shut down for a couple of days.

Once I realized I needed to get out of my rut, I sent my sponsor a friendly text and got no response. Right away, I thought, is she mad at me??? But then convinced myself that I was being paranoid, and so I texted her again tonight. She responded that when I got a chance, I needed to call her... so I did.

She then preceded to tell me that she has been advised to longer be my sponsor, and that she isn't able to give me what I need. She also said she would be more than willing to suggest some other people to be my sponsor if I liked.... I felt completely blindsided! At this point, I am holding back my tears, and all I really asked was what should I be looking for in a sponsor, because I really didn't know. She responded that I seem really into the ACOA stuff, and maybe I should try that. But that was it?!? No real reasoning as to why she doesn't want to be my sponsor anymore!

A friend of mine suggested that maybe she felt that I wasn't doing my part, or following her direction... but then why wouldn't you tell me that???

I feel so abandoned, embarrassed, hurt, rejected... and honestly, it's just turned me off to the whole al-anon program. Why would I want to be apart of something that makes me feel uncomfortable and completely paranoid as to what others are thinking of me. It's going to take me a LONG time until I have the courage to ask anyone to be my sponsor again. I feel like a 5 year old right now... I sobbed for the first hour or so, and now I'm starting to just feel anger.

My feelings are really hurt, and I just feel like I have to start all over.... (and I wasn't even far)

Anyone have any words of wisdom???
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:27 PM
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Please don't let this turn you off on the program. This sort of thing does happen and it happens to those of us in AA too.

Sometimes there is a communication error and expectations aren't set out.

You don't have to rush to get another sponsor. Personally I think people rush into this too quickly. Go to meetings and feel people out. Think of it as an interview process in a way. You want a sponsor, not a "friend". Someone who will be honest and direct with you, not tell you what you want to hear. Sometimes it ends up being the person you would least expect.

When choosing someone sit down with them and discuss what the both of you expect and what you don't expect. Lay everything out on the table so that there are no surprises later on. Every sponsor is different and there are things a sponsor can do and things they can't. This is the time to discuss what you are comfortable with doing and what you are not. And you can get clear direction from them on what they expect from you.

There is someone out there for you, you just have to find the right one that is all. Sometimes it takes a little time.

Edited to add: big hugs to you, being rejected is not easy, I know. Hang in there and try not to take it personally, I know that it is easy to say.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:53 AM
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I'm so sorry that you're feeling hurt. What a completely rough week!

Maybe she told you exactly why she needed to stop sponsoring you, and you don't need to worry that she thought you weren't doing what she told you?:

Originally Posted by Jaded623 View Post
that she isn't able to give me what I need.
All about her not being able to be the sponsor you need. That doesn't make it any easier, I know. (((hugs)))
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:41 AM
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I am sorry this has hurt you. As others have posted, don't let it turn you off from the programme. One person doesn't represent the programme....the programme represents the programme.

Can't lay claim to this one (damn ) but read something very wise on another thread about sponsorship. The suggestion was that before an agreement is made to be sponsor and sponsee the two people involved get together to talk about how that is going to work for both of them - the point was that without doing so, as a sponsor, how would I know that I have what this person wants without doing that, and as a sponsee, likewise. That sounded good. Making some space to check it out first.

Finally - also as others have said - so easy to say, but more difficult to do, it really is very likely that your sponsor had stuff going on that was nothing to do with you, or the decision she made to end the sponsorship.

Take heart, keep going, and above all, be good to yourself.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:17 AM
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I know the intensity of therapeutic relationships can give a caregiver the feeling of failure. In group, I have felt my own problems were far too difficult to discuss, but been good at contributing. Suddenly I feel used and resentful. I'm not getting my needs met and I feel betrayed by my perceived role. I know I've shocked a few people when I quit. I also know that helping others is a very important thing for me to learn. I'm awkward.

Establishing thoughtful boundaries in a relationship is a moving target for me. I focus on a marathon, but at some point I realize I'm becoming a negative influence. I work very hard on being better at this.

It sounds like your sponsor really connected and tripped over something. Whatever the reason, we are all in this together... just learning.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaded623 View Post
I just started regularly attending Al-Anon meetings this past December. I was advised by someone I used to be close with, that I needed to get a sponsor ASAP and he also suggested who I should ask. I gathered up the courage to ask her, and she said yes...which really made me feel like I was going in the right path. I had no idea really what this new relationship entailed, and I guess that's something I should have talked to her about from the very start. I did meet with her a few times, and we would talk pretty regularly via text, or at meetings. She just recently started giving me assignments, and I was doing them... I did share with her a conversation that I had with my mother, and she said she "highly recommended" that I go on a black out starting now, meaning I was to stop having contact with her. My mother is currently newly sober (again), but this is something I honestly can NOT do... at least when she is sober.

Well this week, I haven't really talked to my sponsor... It's been a tough week, and I guess I kind of "fell off the al-anon wagon" for a week. I lost my license in the beginning of the week for medical reasons, and found out one of my former students who I was very close to, was near death and wanted me to visit her (over an hour away). I was so overwhelmed with getting rides, asking for help, accepting that I will not have a license for 60 days... and then after seeing my student, I just shut down for a couple of days.

Once I realized I needed to get out of my rut, I sent my sponsor a friendly text and got no response. Right away, I thought, is she mad at me??? But then convinced myself that I was being paranoid, and so I texted her again tonight. She responded that when I got a chance, I needed to call her... so I did.

She then preceded to tell me that she has been advised to longer be my sponsor, and that she isn't able to give me what I need. She also said she would be more than willing to suggest some other people to be my sponsor if I liked.... I felt completely blindsided! At this point, I am holding back my tears, and all I really asked was what should I be looking for in a sponsor, because I really didn't know. She responded that I seem really into the ACOA stuff, and maybe I should try that. But that was it?!? No real reasoning as to why she doesn't want to be my sponsor anymore!

A friend of mine suggested that maybe she felt that I wasn't doing my part, or following her direction... but then why wouldn't you tell me that???

I feel so abandoned, embarrassed, hurt, rejected... and honestly, it's just turned me off to the whole al-anon program. Why would I want to be apart of something that makes me feel uncomfortable and completely paranoid as to what others are thinking of me. It's going to take me a LONG time until I have the courage to ask anyone to be my sponsor again. I feel like a 5 year old right now... I sobbed for the first hour or so, and now I'm starting to just feel anger.

My feelings are really hurt, and I just feel like I have to start all over.... (and I wasn't even far)

Anyone have any words of wisdom???
I am sorry you are sad. Rejection is never a fun experience.

It sounds like your former sponsor and you just weren't a good fit. Nothing wrong with either one of you. Not everyone gets along or works well together.

From what you wrote you admit that you "fell off the al-anon wagon." Some people are okay with that, others are not. Maybe with the next sponsor, you relate this experience to the candidate and either look for someone who is a little less strict or you decide that you will be hard core and not fall off, no exceptions. Again, from what you write, neither of you did anything bad or wrong, it just wasn't a good fit.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:54 AM
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I just reread your post and this jumped out at me:

Originally Posted by Jaded623 View Post
I was advised by someone I used to be close with, that I needed to get a sponsor ASAP and he also suggested who I should ask.

I'm so sorry you had a bad experience. You may find you do better if you take your time and make your own choice. Also, if you have the Alanon books One Day at a Time, or Courage to Change you might want to peruse the index for readings to help guide you. Courage to Change has some good readings on "feelings".

Either way, whether you decide on another sponsor or not I hope you give the program more time. It's been a great help to both my daughter and me. Having said that, our home group doesn't promote sponsorship, so neither of us have ever had one. Keep us posted.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:33 AM
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I was in Alanon for about four years before I got a sponsor.

I can only tell you my story -- for me, living with an uber-controlling alcoholic, the absolutely last thing I needed was another person telling me what to do. Did it slow my recovery down to not have a sponsor from the get-go? Maybe. But the point was, I was able to do it at my pace.

When you're living with an A, there are so many pressures, so many musts. I was so focused on always doing everything correctly and being perfect. But Alanon was my one place where I could be "f**k it, I'm going to be myself and do the ugly cry when I feel like it and have no filter and say what I think" -- and that carried over to not wanting a sponsor from the beginning.

When I did pick a sponsor, it was one who was very... very much like my experience of Alanon has been in general. She never said "you have to do this" or "I strongly recommend that you do X" -- she would text me and say "When was your last meeting?" or e-mail me and say "When I was working through step four, here's what I found helpful" or even call me and tell me about what she was struggling with/working on. Our interactions were more that she was available to me when I needed her, with gentle reminders if she hadn't heard from me for a while. That worked very well for me.

I would not judge the whole Alanon program by the experience you had. I would gently recommend -- as others have said -- that you not let other people push your recovery and tell you what you HAVE TO DO... and that includes getting a sponsor immediately. I think it's incredibly important to have a sponsor you click with and can work with. And I think it's part and parcel of hanging out with a group of codies that you will run across many, many people who want to HELP and TELL YOU WHAT TO DO because, let's face it, that's what we thrive on and it's SO much easier to tell someone else what to do than to focus on ourselves...

This is just my opinion, but I think part of recovery is learning how to trust your own judgment and instincts again, rather than relying on someone else. A sponsor, in my mind, should be available, not pushy. They should be suggesting, not "strongly recommending"... It sounds to me like you just had a really bad match with a sponsor who wanted to work differently than you do. That's OK.

And don't blame yourself. She's not rejecting YOU, she's just finding that you and her together are not a good match. It's a good thing she had the guts to tell you that. Because that means you're free to find a better match for a sponsor when you're ready -- without worrying about hurting her feelings.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:46 AM
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I really see a lot more growth in you because of this experience than I think your post is highlighting:

" I was advised by someone I used to be close with"= perhaps a lil realization that this person you USED to be close with was not the right one to take advise from? Hey, I'm 52, I can't even count how many friends have given me advise that just didn't work out well. It's hard to weed through who gives good advise, and realizing who doesn't is just as important.

"I gathered up the courage to ask her"= YEAH YOU! You did something scary that you felt would help you work on your recovery. I have learned to face a lot of fears, sometimes it results in physical pain, sometimes emotional. The important thing is that we no longer run away from it.

"I guess that's something I should have talked to her about from the very start"=Hindsight is a valuable tool in how you can approach this moving forward. When we know better, we do better. No one gave you a book or warnings beforehand, you did what felt right.

You were not willing to go no contact with your mother as suggested=Following the take what you need, leave the rest mantra. You felt the need to stay in contact with your Mom right now, and you were following your gut on that front. Our gut feelings can be wrong, but we must learn to start trusting those feelings again because only we as individuals have a better understanding of what may work for us and what won't better than anyone else can.

"Once I realized I needed to get out of my rut"= AWESOME!! This self awareness is crucial for our recovery. Sometimes we need to just backoff and let the emotions move through us, but where we have the most trouble often is not being able to recognize when we need to move forward and not get stuck in that rut indefinitely.

"I sobbed for the first hour or so, and now I'm starting to just feel anger."= This is my personal favorite because it sounds like you are actually working through the emotions instead of denying them or holding them in. You go girl!

Big hugs your way! Do not allow any of it to deter you from Al-Anon altogether. Accept it for what it is, a sponsor who wasn't right for you. The sponsor is not Al-anon, just another human being who has faults and needs and working the program in a way that works for her. Never forget it is a take what YOU need and leave the rest. You may decide you never want or need a sponsor in the future, that's ok. Let go, let HP approach, time will bring you more answers on what you need or don't need in terms of a sponsor.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:03 AM
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She then preceded to tell me that she has been advised to longer be my sponsor, and that she isn't able to give me what I need. She also said she would be more than willing to suggest some other people to be my sponsor if I liked.... I felt completely blindsided! At this point, I am holding back my tears, and all I really asked was what should I be looking for in a sponsor, because I really didn't know. She responded that I seem really into the ACOA stuff, and maybe I should try that. But that was it?!? No real reasoning as to why she doesn't want to be my sponsor anymore!
It would appear she did give you reasons. She wasn’t able to offer you what she felt you needed. She felt you would be a better fit with someone more familiar with ACOA. She was honest with you and that is to your benefit.

We people pleasers tend to get our feelings hurt rather quickly. We make assumptions and twist things to meet our “feelings”. I am sorry you felt hurt by her honest actions and I am also sorry you feel jaded by the entire program.

Maybe just stick to attending the meetings for a while and not worry about a sponsor and just focus on the steps for a bit.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by HikerLady View Post
I really see a lot more growth in you because of this experience than I think your post is highlighting:

" I was advised by someone I used to be close with"= perhaps a lil realization that this person you USED to be close with was not the right one to take advise from? Hey, I'm 52, I can't even count how many friends have given me advise that just didn't work out well. It's hard to weed through who gives good advise, and realizing who doesn't is just as important.

"I gathered up the courage to ask her"= YEAH YOU! You did something scary that you felt would help you work on your recovery. I have learned to face a lot of fears, sometimes it results in physical pain, sometimes emotional. The important thing is that we no longer run away from it.

"I guess that's something I should have talked to her about from the very start"=Hindsight is a valuable tool in how you can approach this moving forward. When we know better, we do better. No one gave you a book or warnings beforehand, you did what felt right.

You were not willing to go no contact with your mother as suggested=Following the take what you need, leave the rest mantra. You felt the need to stay in contact with your Mom right now, and you were following your gut on that front. Our gut feelings can be wrong, but we must learn to start trusting those feelings again because only we as individuals have a better understanding of what may work for us and what won't better than anyone else can.

"Once I realized I needed to get out of my rut"= AWESOME!! This self awareness is crucial for our recovery. Sometimes we need to just backoff and let the emotions move through us, but where we have the most trouble often is not being able to recognize when we need to move forward and not get stuck in that rut indefinitely.

"I sobbed for the first hour or so, and now I'm starting to just feel anger."= This is my personal favorite because it sounds like you are actually working through the emotions instead of denying them or holding them in. You go girl!

Big hugs your way! Do not allow any of it to deter you from Al-Anon altogether. Accept it for what it is, a sponsor who wasn't right for you. The sponsor is not Al-anon, just another human being who has faults and needs and working the program in a way that works for her. Never forget it is a take what YOU need and leave the rest. You may decide you never want or need a sponsor in the future, that's ok. Let go, let HP approach, time will bring you more answers on what you need or don't need in terms of a sponsor.
Exactly. Go you!! You're making progress and setting a good foundation for yourself.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:28 AM
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Hi Jaded,

All of us are in recovery. Sometimes something in our own lives makes it so that we acknowledge our shortcomings and that we can not have the impact we would like. It may be an illness, financial difficulties, or our own personal wounds from the past that we're still trying to deal with, to name just a few.

A number of us in Al Anon are also recovering co-dependents. Telling someone else what they should be doing with their life can be our "ism". We can become frustrated, depressed or angry when someone isn't doing what we think they should do with their lives. When this happens, our own recovery needs shoring up. Sometimes we need to walk away and refocus on our own work - it is not personal, although it can feel that way.

In my life, I've often noted that things happen for a reason (usually an HP reason) that I may not understand at the time, but later it gets oh so very clear. It's entirely possible that this sponsor is leaving you freed up to focus on what you really need for yourself and from a sponsor, to make way so a new one can enter your life.

If you have not picked up Melody Beattie's Codependent No More, it's a fantastic read. It can help de-personalize things that can feel so very personal when they happen.

This may sound odd, but there's anecdotal evidence that taking a pain killer (likeTylenol) at the end of the day when you've been rejected can help reduce the pain associated with social rejection. Fun fact: your body interprets rejection as a real and physical injury. Defend Your Research: Hurt Feelings? You Could Take a Pain Reliever... - Harvard Business Review
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