Droped by sponsor for using a computer

Old 10-11-2009, 03:29 PM
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Question Droped by sponsor for using a computer

I was asked to complete a detailed questionnaire (emailed to me in Word format) in order to complete my first step. This involved an exercise to help me understand I was powerless over drinking. I was asked (told) to write the answers in pen. I decided to use a computer because I am a very bad writer. This allowed me to write detailed answers and give it lots of thought as opposed to short answers to avoid writing. When I showed it to my sponsor he refused to read it and we agreed to part ways. I understand the thing about breaking free will but I think this is taking it too far. I am curious what the group thinks about this.

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Old 10-11-2009, 03:41 PM
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Seems harsh to me, but I have few, if any, answers. Did you discuss WHY you used the computer? Strange that you were given a computerized form, but then told to write longhand.
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:48 PM
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Sounds like you don't follow directions very well. If you were my guy, I would tell you to go back and write it as well. Matter of fact this has happened. I made it crystal clear to a protege that hand writing the 4th step was the way we were going to do it. I set up the format, gave him directions etc....Long story short, he came back a week later and it was done in an excel spreadsheet.

I told him to do it in hand, he argued as to how his way was better, bla bla bla, he walked away. 3 years later I'm still sober, he's still drunk. Maybe just maybe some of us sponsors are on to something. If you want to recover using the steps as they are outlined in the Big Book, you must be willing to follow specific exact directions. This is the program of AA. If you are not willing to do this, hopefully you will find something that does work for you. PM if I can be of assistance.
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:52 PM
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Hey G4A --

That's... interesting. Your former sponsor sounds like he has some rather rigid personal traditions he's added to the original 12. There is certainly a level of importance placed on writing out the first three steps that I've experienced -- both as an alternative to simple reading/meditation/prayer on them and to a lesser extent, as an alternative to getting more "advanced" and using a computer.

You may want to repost this in the 12-step forum; I personally would like to hear some take on this over there. When I started in on my fourth step, its basis in column work made it natural for me to start working in a spreadsheet. I never got any sort of pushback from my sponsor outside of lighthearted ribbing and bemusement. As we continued working and got through to Step 10 and I learned about spot and daily inventories, he did convey to me the power of simply putting pen to paper and drawing out columns -- sometimes before even working them through -- a level of insight is obtained. So point being that we worked together, learned a bit from each other, and now my practice has both tools to utilize.

I may have my first sponsee this week. If he's ready and willing to honestly start the work, I don't care if he uses pens, crayons, an iPhone, or a quill.
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:05 PM
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i hope you will find another sponsor quickly while the desire to do the work burns bright.

IMHE; it's the writing and what it reveals that is more important than what form it is written in.
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:05 PM
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In my opinion, you need to find a sponsor that you can work with. Just move on and get a new sponsor. Don't let this impact your sobriety.
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:09 PM
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Sounds too rigid to me. To me sponsors are the embodiment of dry drunk when they act in an excessively controlling manner. There is a difference between a sponsor calling you on your own bs and acting like a total ass. It's possible to have years and yeArs of sobriety and still have the rigid black and white (and controlling) behavior of an addict. They have simply transferred their addictive behavior from booz to aa doctrine. Remember the only requirement is the desire not to drink. And what is offered as advice is only suggestions. I would try to talk it out with said sponsor and explain that it is the content of whAt you have written that is important and that he/she is acting like a control freak ( maybe word it differently). Remember it is about you and what you need to do to stay sober. If that doesn't work part ways graciously and find a new sponsor. Just my opinion. Most people who are addicts are also control freaks and the ideA behind the 12 and other cbt therapy
is to grow out of that mindset. How long has
your sponsor been dry? To me he doesn't sound sober.
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:43 PM
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Seriously, what if you have arthritis or something? I know, stupid question but plenty of people have plenty of reasons for typing rather than writing something out longhand. Sheesh.
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by god4all View Post

When I showed it to my sponsor he refused to read it and we agreed to part ways.
Mike... he didn't fire you, did he? There is a lot more there than just whether or not you used the computer.

Maybe it's for the best... Maybe not... Does he have what you want?

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Old 10-11-2009, 05:00 PM
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My sponsor won't read anything I write....the first time I tried to hand her something I wrote...she said " ain't holdin' me hostage like that!" then she laughed light heartedly.... she said to me "this is for you...I want to know what you got out of it for yourself. Tell me in your own words right now what you got out of it writing this."

I came to a new understanding of the program!

I asked my sponsor if I could do it on computer....she said do it how ever you like...but also write it down.

I was willing to (was not all that comfortable) go to that length. It may not be the easier softer way, but I'm grateful I did learn to write it down.

I find I can get out a lot of noise through typing on the computer...but I can get to the exact nature when I write it down.

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Old 10-11-2009, 05:14 PM
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Your sponsor sounds like a total butt-head.

Is this common among sponsors to arbitrarily impose random rules just to "beak a person's will" ???

Sounds close to some kind of psychological torture/manipulation...behaviors like this might even be looked at as abusive if this were a professional therapist and not a sponsor. Weird.

H. Pup
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:23 PM
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I agree with Rob, I think your sponsor just wanted you to follow directions. While using we didn't take direction or suggestions and this is a new way to live. Sometimes we have to do what we don't want to do but its very important if we wish to remain sober.
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:41 PM
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I guess its like the kung fu master asking his student to "wipe on wax... wipe off wax" testing you before sharing his knowledge.

I would probably hand my sponsor a couple of paragraphs in my written format (basically bad doctors writing) and while his eyes crossed & his brow furrowed I would pass him my nicely typed word document & ask him if he would prefer to read this.

Good news is you learned that he may not be the best sponsor for you, dont let if affect your sobriety or sponsorship. In the old world of AA people had to carve their answers into stone, rock & wood. Some were known to use smoke signals... consider yourself lucky ;-)

May you find the best sponsor for you.

Take Care,

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Old 10-11-2009, 05:43 PM
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My sponsor has never ever 'told' me to do anything, he makes suggestions at times backed up with examples from his own life and recovery, he has a great life and I learn a lot from him.

Don't waste time there are lots of great sponsors out there, hope you find one soon.

By the way I used and still use a computer to do my step work.

We need someone to guide through this spritual program and guidance in putting it into our lives. Living my life is up to me and I am very open about how it goes as you can see from my posts but I learn these days

Lucky for us the program is the principles not the people

Staying clean is only the beginning

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Old 10-11-2009, 06:02 PM
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posted in the other thread as well

Well, they say, two wrongs don't make a right, and this is a LOT more then just "two wrongs". This is like a train wreck of stupidity from the word go.

First of all, you're better off without this person.

That being said, if you want to get sober it would behoove you to start following instructions. The instructions say write it out by hand, millions of others have followed instructions, it won't kill you to get over yourself and follow instructions as well.

There is a reason in many instances early sponsorship resembles boot camp, and sponsors often bring to mind drill sergeants. They are people who are telling you to do things you don't understand, and don't want to do in order to keep you alive after you leave. You don't HAVE to understand, you just have to follow directions.

The whole idea behind the steps is to smash the ego, which is what is killing you.

That being said, when you ask someone to sponsor you, you enter into a primitive "social contract" where any sponsor worth his beans will have asked you "are you willing to go to any length?"

If you answered in the affirmative and then failed to follow instruction in the very first step, you have broken your word.

So leaving aside his ineptness for a moment, which is what sobriety is about, you made a "contract" that you didn't even honor enough to get past the first step.

On the flip side, those hazeldon questionnaires are a crock of sh1t in my book, I have done the steps repeatedly, one of them was the hazeldon format, and they are for sponsors who don't know what they are doing in my not very humble opinion.

When he/she emailed you that format (boo-hiss) they set up this situation to fail IMO, if they want to do some writing and answer questions, they hand you the printed page, period.

So you have an idiotic sponsor trying to force a recalcitrant sponsee to do something they aren't willing to do.

I would send both of you to your rooms without your supper.

For a month.

You broke your word.

Your old sponsor is an incompetent.

two wrongs don't make a right.

Maybe ask your next prospective sponsor if he has worked the steps out of the book, and ask him if he will take you through the steps out of the book and then do what he tells you and don't go answer shopping on the internet the next time you disagree with him to look for people to cosign your ********, just do what he says.

These situations are what upset us "book thumpers" so much, look what they have done to my AA.....

You got lucky.

Go find another sponsor then follow instruction.
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:18 PM
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wow. as I said there are many great sponsors out there I suggest you carefully select one.

So glad I was careful to select one that had a recovery that I wanted and one that was willing to support me whilst treating me like an adult.

I do not see how thumping people with words helps in the long run, glad I knew I did not need that and still don't

I cringe at some of the so called advice I hear being given to newcomers.
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:49 PM
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"Seems harsh to me, but I have few, if any, answers."

Not as harsh as booze.

But on the other hand, sounds like this sponsor doesn't have much in the way of answers either.
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:59 PM
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How ironic.
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:16 PM
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Hi again....

It was my understanding from your earlier post on SR
that you were interested in useing other methods
not AA. You were also given links to various programs.

Here is the link you were given before

Of course.....AA is not for everyone and perhaps you do
need to explore other options.

Hope you will find something that benefits you...
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:39 PM
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This is just some information, I see a number of people who have not worked the steps in AA posting on here

This wasn't some random, arbitrary act to break the OP's will when he was told to write it out with pen and paper, the instructions we got when we were new, then did, then what we pass on are very very specific in AA, the BB is very specific about "then we write" and "then we put pen to paper"

This accomplishes a number of things, the act of writing is in itself an act of catharsis, and the questions and the format it is set up is a very specific set of "Socratic Questioning" in order to break down denial, and then remove resentments, fears etc so one can come into contact with "The Great Reality" that is found within, and thus, have a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism.

The way we know how to do this, the way we were taught, the way that has been proven to work in millions of examples, is by putting pen to paper.

The instructions you got were clear

I was asked (told) to write the answers in pen.
But then you decided to do things your own way

I decided to use a computer because I am a very bad writer.
This isn't just some control freak being a this particular case it is....but the point is, we get sober by following instruction, part of that instruction includes putting pen to paper, another part of that instruction is following instructions.

We may sound harsh, but like Jim says, not as harsh as alcohol, and if you decide to work the steps in AA, and you approach a sponsor, the first thing, the VERY first thing he will ask you after he "qualifies" you (decides whether you are an alcoholic or not) is whether you are prepared to go to any length.

Once you say yes to him being your sponsor, and once you say you are willing to go to any lengths, like I said, you gave your word. You made a contract.

The first thing I was taught in sobriety was I don't get to break my word any more. I know that in today's climate of political correctness and fluffy hugs, insistence that one keeps ones word and becomes accountable is getting increasingly unfashionable, but those of us that have been around awhile insist on it.

Accountability and keeping your word is part of sobriety, whether it's going out of fashion in this age of the internet and zero accountability or not.

That's just how that is.

So I am sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings with my unvarnished view of the situation, it just kind of reminded me of two children arguing where the truth of the matter is they were both in the wrong.

here's a hug :ghug3
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