‘Pearls’ of Sponsorship: What has worked for you?
I have heard vastly differing opinions on when you are ‘ready’ to be a sponsor, ranging from ‘as long as you are one step ahead of them’ to ‘x’ number of years. ‘Sponsoring styles’ also differ tremendously….. the amount of contact – “call me if you need me” to “call me every day”…… ways of doing the steps – ‘”follow the outline in the big book” to the in depth Hazelton style…..and the relationship with your sponsee – best friend, impartial advisor or something in between. Having frequently read the chapter ‘Working with Others’ in the Big Book I chose this topic to tap into the wealth of experience that I know is within this group and also to help new and newer-comers like myself with the growing pains of this aspect of our recovery.
I know there will be many differing views and encourage them all to be shared in this non-judgemental forum, where we learn from each others’ ESH. I also invite shares on specific ‘sponsee issues’ we may be dealing with as sponsers that may be helpful to others when answered to the group as a whole, keeping in mind the importance of preserving the anonymity and confidentiality of our sponsees.
So there is our topic, and I have nothing to offer on the ‘what has worked for you’ section but would like to start the ball rolling with a sponsee question.
I have just reached the two year sober mark and have had my first sponsee for about 6 months. It was both an exciting and scary prospect to take on the role of sponsor, and has been both a rewarding and frustrating process. I have experienced the lessening of the focus on self as I work with another alcoholic but have also found myself falling back into the role of ‘director’; meaning, ‘if my sponsee would just listen to me and do what I tell her to do she would do much better in her recovery.’
Even though I utilize my own sponsor’s experience and strength there have been times I felt I needed a 12th step call for me from the group as I was so baffled on how to proceed! My sponsee and I are different in every way except for our experiences with the disease of alcoholism. I have struggled with how to respond to problems that, only by the grace of God, I have never faced and I wonder whether our differences are an obstacle to my sponsorship. As a first time sponsor I think I am probably willing to do more and accept more excuses than maybe I should. How do I find the line between enabling and helping?
I am excited to read your ‘Pearls’ as I believe that in everything we build our own style by ‘taking what works for us and leaving the rest’ of the experiences of ourselves and others.