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Finding Sponsor in Al-Anon/Nar-Anon/ACoA

Old 11-29-2015, 04:19 PM
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Finding Sponsor in Al-Anon/Nar-Anon/ACoA

Hi all - I've been attending Al-Anon and ACoA meetings due to a parent's addiction, and I've found a lot of strength and hope from these fellowships -- I'm so grateful for that! The only problem is that I'm having trouble finding a sponsor. All of the different meetings I've been to (and I've been to a lot) focus on reading literature and sharing. There really isn't any discussion of working the steps or sponsorship, nor are any phone lists circulated. I've noticed that most of the members have been in program for many years (10+), and they seem to already have sponsors from long ago.

I'm in another 12-step program for my own addiction, and those meetings are very different when it comes to sponsorship. Either there's a time during the meeting when everyone who is available to sponsor stands up or we circulate a book for phone numbers where you can check off your name if you're available to sponsor. I think maybe it's just a difference between friends/family groups and non-friends/family groups..? Anyway, if you have faced this issued or have any suggestions on finding a sponsor, I'd love to hear from you. Thank you!
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Old 11-29-2015, 05:08 PM
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What works for me is to do it the al-anon way; baby steps

- I set aside several weeks and go to as many meetings as I can possibly squeeze in, especially meetings that I have never been to before. I listen to people share and pay attention to two specific issues:

1- Does this person have the kind of life I want to have?

2- How does this person support others in recovery? I give them points on a list.

- When they share how often do they use the "I" pronoun? If they say things like "I have worked the steps by doing..." then they get 1 point.

- Do they use the "we" statements? As in "we alanons all suffer from...". This is a minus 10 points because they are dispensing knowledge. I am not looking for knowledge, I can get that from a shrink.

- Do they tell people what to do with their life? Such as "You should go to more meetings." That is minus 100 points.

3- I choose 6 people that have the highest points, then ask each one out for coffee. Then I ask them to tell me how the program works for them, how it has made a difference in their lives. I keep quiet, let them show me if they have the life, and wisdom, that I am looking for.

4- After I've met all six I then take one off the list, and repeat the coffee with only 5, then 4, then 3, then 2.

About halfway thru the whole process I realize I have made several new friends, and one of them winds up as the obvious choice for sponsor. So far it has worked great, I've had several sponsors over the years and they all became lifelong friends.

Mike
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Old 11-29-2015, 05:20 PM
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This is absolutely brilliant Mike!!!
If a potential sponsee is reading this thread Mike gets a +2 for suggesting that.
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Old 11-30-2015, 04:55 AM
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I too think Mike's plan is a good one. I got a sponsor very soon after starting Alanon, and I didn't use a careful method like Mike's to figure out whether I was making a good choice. I just picked someone who seemed to have it together. I asked no questions, didn't "interview" for the job, and ended up w/someone who was averse to email communication or really anything online, even using the meeting directory (clearly I'm very comfortable communicating online). The time she had available for me was after 8 PM, and I was working a job where I punched in at 2:30 AM. She was not a bad person at all, but she and I together were a very poor fit. I simply didn't know how to go about finding someone who WAS A good fit. And then since I had chosen poorly, I had to summon up my courage to UNdo the commitment, since I didn't see how this was really going to work for either one of us, and I was uncomfortable w/THAT, too (altho now I understand that I didn't need to be).

I've been sponsorless for the nearly 3 years I've been working on recovery, and if/when I do look for a sponsor again, I will definitely use something along the lines of the plan outlined above to make sure it's going to work out for both sponsor and sponsee.

Also wanted to add: I'm glad that Mike mentioned having several sponsors over the years. It makes total sense to me that as a person heals and evolves, they may need/want a new sponsor to help them thru that new stage of growth, and there is nothing wrong w/that.
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Old 11-30-2015, 05:10 AM
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You can start the steps without a sponsor. There is a lovely section here to get rolling. If you start working on them, it gives you time to find the right sponsor. The first three steps are a lot of reflection and working through your beliefs. When you get to step 4, that is when it really helps to have a sponsor, a counselor, and perhaps a faith leader. Step 4 is when an objective view can help you stay on track.

The steps are powerful and worth the effort.

Friends and Family Step Study - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
What works for me is to do it the al-anon way; baby steps

- I set aside several weeks and go to as many meetings as I can possibly squeeze in, especially meetings that I have never been to before. I listen to people share and pay attention to two specific issues:

1- Does this person have the kind of life I want to have?

2- How does this person support others in recovery? I give them points on a list.

- When they share how often do they use the "I" pronoun? If they say things like "I have worked the steps by doing..." then they get 1 point.

- Do they use the "we" statements? As in "we alanons all suffer from...". This is a minus 10 points because they are dispensing knowledge. I am not looking for knowledge, I can get that from a shrink.

- Do they tell people what to do with their life? Such as "You should go to more meetings." That is minus 100 points.

3- I choose 6 people that have the highest points, then ask each one out for coffee. Then I ask them to tell me how the program works for them, how it has made a difference in their lives. I keep quiet, let them show me if they have the life, and wisdom, that I am looking for.

4- After I've met all six I then take one off the list, and repeat the coffee with only 5, then 4, then 3, then 2.

About halfway thru the whole process I realize I have made several new friends, and one of them winds up as the obvious choice for sponsor. So far it has worked great, I've had several sponsors over the years and they all became lifelong friends.

Mike
Bumping for pertinence/relevance!

Mike, I sent you a PM, but I'm curious with how you approached these potential sponsors, more specifically were they aware that they were being considered to be a sponsor? Or were you very casual and treated it like "let's get to know each other over coffee?"

I'm starting my search for a sponsor, and other than my introverted nature, I'm struggling with how to approach them.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:04 PM
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It's really up to you. You could tell someone you're trying to find a sponsor, and ask if they would be willing to meet with you to see if you're a good "fit" for each other. Or you could just invite someone for coffee, see how things go and then ask if she'd be willing to sponsor you.

The thing is, you can't take a "no" as a personal rejection. Some people feel they don't have enough to offer as a sponsor (e.g., they haven't worked the steps formally, themselves, with a sponsor--which should be a prerequisite), some are too busy with other commitments (including, maybe, too many others they are sponsoring), and for some, they may like you a lot but just feel that it wouldn't be a good "fit."

But most people are very honored to be asked. And if the person you ask isn't available, you can ask them if they have any suggestions as to who might be a good sponsor for you.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by LynCM View Post
... Or were you very casual and treated it like "let's get to know each other over coffee?"...
First I get to know them over coffee, it's only after I've met with them a few times that I start thinking of sponsorship.

Mike
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:48 PM
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Talking

Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
First I get to know them over coffee, it's only after I've met with them a few times that I start thinking of sponsorship.

Mike
I figured as much. I suppose that is rather awkward to walk up to a 'stranger' and say, "hi, i'm considering you for my sponsor. Can we get coffee so I can interview you?"

I just loved your method, and how in the end, you potentially walk away with a decent group of friends and hopefully a sponsor that fits with one's goals.

Thanks Mike, I appreciate your insight and your post!
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
It's really up to you. You could tell someone you're trying to find a sponsor, and ask if they would be willing to meet with you to see if you're a good "fit" for each other. Or you could just invite someone for coffee, see how things go and then ask if she'd be willing to sponsor you.
LC, sadly i'm banking on my social awkwardness to mess me up in talking to new people, lol. But really, these are both fantastic approaches (without feeling awkward or forced) that i'll likely use, to both search for a sponsor and try to make new friends.

Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
The thing is, you can't take a "no" as a personal rejection. Some people feel they don't have enough to offer as a sponsor (e.g., they haven't worked the steps formally, themselves, with a sponsor--which should be a prerequisite), some are too busy with other commitments (including, maybe, too many others they are sponsoring), and for some, they may like you a lot but just feel that it wouldn't be a good "fit."
I remember there was a section in Codependent No More that said something along the lines of disassociating everything as being related to you, a.k.a. they aren't necessarily saying 'no' because of me personally. I appreciate that reminder, especially in a really vulnerable time such as finding a sponsor. I also agree that a sponsor should work a steps, and I'm honestly surprised there aren't as concrete guidelines for sponsorship in Al-Anon as there are in AA (from my perception, at least.. I may be completely wrong here)

Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
But most people are very honored to be asked. And if the person you ask isn't available, you can ask them if they have any suggestions as to who might be a good sponsor for you.
Another great suggestion! Surely the individual i'm interested in (for feeling like a good fit, same values, etc.) would likely be friends with people of likemindedness! #genius

Thanks, LC!
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