Being of Service and/or Sponsorship
When I first came into AA, I had a wonderful sponsor. She got me into service right away. Up North, in meetings, we sold raffle tixs at meetings for books, I would do that. Sold lit at the meetings, help clean up, etc. At about 18 months, I think, or about 2 years sober, I was asked to sponsor a gal. I gladly took on that job. It was rough, she was not completely ready, and subsequently relapsed and went all over the groups and blamed me. At the time, it crushed me. I didn’t realize then what I know now that I am just not that powerful!! smiles…
And all through the program and doing my steps, I was always concerned about, “Am I doing them right?” Is this person guiding me “right”. This was a theme all throughout my Masters program also…am I “counseling” right? I did everything by the book I was too afraid to be myself and what kind of counselor I wanted to be, I felt I needed to be what the department wanted me to be, and when I graduated, real life was not in my books. I was afraid to be my authentic self when counseling.
Well, this leads me to service work, sponsorship and the program for me today. After many years of whatever by the book was…I realized that all things are guides!! I was reminded by I think my awesome and wonderful current sponsor (and I mean that *winks*;) that Bill and Bob did not have a book!!! They allowed thier HP’s to guide them. AA did not start out with a Big Book or the 12 and 12…. And I learned throughout the years that so long as I use these materials as guides, then I am doing the next right thing in guiding another or myself. We are not all the same. For me, I have learning disabilities, and when I did my first 4th step, the way the book stated, it was kinda confusing…years later, I used a different kinda guide via workbook that Joe McQ suggested, and wow, that was what I needed to do what I needed to get my 4th out of me and on paper. It worked for me.
Today, I sponsor two ladies. The first one is a gal who has time in the program, so I agreed to sponsor her because I “swore that I would never sponsor a newbie again” this was said out of fear. Well, becasue it is difficult for me to get to meetings f2f due to physical limitations, I am a part of not only this awesome online group, but another one that has real time meetings and chat.
A gal whispered me a couple weeks ago in need of help and goes through very similar health stuff as me…we talked on the phone and she really needed a sponsor but didn’t know how to go about it. I, not even thinking so much about it, offered to assist her until she was able to either find one at a f2f meeting or found another in her area if she so chose to find a different one…..WOW…what an HP thing!!! She reminds me of me when I first got here…exactly like me…she says there are no coinsidences, it is working for her so far, she is following suggestions, and my HP which I am relying on heavily and my own wonderful sponsor, are guiding me to humbly assist this lady in her new journey.
You see, it isn’t about me!!! It is about just simply sharing my ESH the way it was so freely given to me. If this gal relapses, that is not on me…I am not that powerful! I was, however, thus far, blessed with a gal and a new experience that is allowing me to begin to experience sponsorship with a newbie again and boy is it keeping me sober!!!
So, my point is, that for me today, I just try to do the next right thing….Sponsorship for me is kinda like parenting (I am not a parent, however, I play one on TV…no seriously, I have neices and friend’s with babies, I am also by degree a School and Guidance Counselor not working in the field but have) so I have a feeling what it could be like or look at others in my life who are parents…we all have different styles…sponsoring, to me, is kinda like that, for me it is not one size fits all, some follow strict Big Book, others pass on the way they were taken through the steps…for me, I just pray, let HP work through me and try not to mind freak over am I doing this right or wrong…so long as my intentions are out of kindness, love, honest, openminded and willing to carry the message, I am doing ok.
So, I hope that all made sense….I am still trying to just be in the moment myself and remind myself everything above as I sponsor this newbie….just being of service whether it is sharing at a meeting, chairing, sponsoring or just being a sober person today…Thank HP for this gift and for all of you and with that I pass and open the meeting to this topic, or whatever else you may need to share.