Wisdom of Sponsorship Part B

B Working the steps with the sponsee

B.0 Multiple philosophies of working the steps
(This section is looking for your story.)

B.1 Taking someone through Step One

B.1.1 First Step - Costs

Every so often, newcomers at our meetings ask for a sponsor at one of their first meetings. Unless they have been in another 12-Step program, they have no idea what they are in for. Are they ready to do step work? Probably not to any great depth, most of the time. Still, those first few weeks or months when newcomers are struggling with abstinence, struggling to figure out what the program is about, can be a time in which a healthy start can be made.

My experience is that this start needs to be something that touches both head and heart, but that doesn't overwhelm the newcomers' ability to cope. This means something that is simple, makes plain the sense of powerlessness and unmanageability, and touches into the core values. I have found a series of exercises that work effectively without producing a sense of hopelessness.

The first thing I ask sponsees to do is to calculate approximately how much money they have spent on their addiction. I encourage them to write it down and do their calculations on paper. I suggest they calculate the cost of pornography of all types, the internet, prostitutes, "toys", sexual paraphernalia, lifestyle items (specific cars, clothes, jewelry, makeup, costumes, furniture, and so on), and surgery or drugs or medications to "enhance" their sexual activity. This is not an exhaustive list. Next comes what the addic-tion has cost them in treatment of injuries or diseases, lost jobs or promotions, therapy, divorces and other breakups, legal issues, lost inheritances, lost time to their employers, lost educational opportunities. Generally, people soon come to recognize that this much money could have been put to much better use elsewhere.

Occasionally, sponsees tell me they didn't spend a lot of money on their addiction, or that it didn't have a high financial cost. I remind them that it is important to add the word "yet" onto that statement because more than likely it will happen sooner or later. Such "low-cost" newcomers are often affected more by the next two inventories.

The first inventory calculates the amount of time spent in the addiction. I ask the newcomers to look at the time a particular addictive ritual took and multiply that out by the number of times per week, by 52 weeks per year, and by the number of years of acting out that way, and then to do this for all behaviors. Finally, I ask the newcomers to work on fantasy. I once figured that just the fantasy time spent in my acting out ritual (this doesn't include my walking around fantasy) was 3.5 years out of the 20 years of my active addiction. This fact alone put a huge hole in my denial.

A final exercise that often helps relieve the newcomers of any sense of control over the addiction is simply to make a list of all the ways they have acted out, including the dif-ferent variations tried. For the forgetful, I encourage them to look at the list in the appendix in Don't Call It Love. While the list is not exhaustive (for example, the internet was not around when the book was written), it will stimulate memory and help the newcomer get past much denial.

Taken together, money, time and a list of acting out behaviors give newcomers (or any other addict, new or old) a comprehensive snapshot of the unmanageability of the addiction. One or more of these has never failed to touch the sponsees who have tried these exercises. At the same time, they have not been overwhelmed by this work. These three inventories form a simple base for a first pass at the First Step and help the newcomers see how much the program can be of benefit to them. They can also be a starting point for work on Step Four."

Anonymous PBR Volume 14 Issue 3 Jun Jul Aug 2002

B.1.2 First Step - Unmanageability

Recently a newcomer to the program, "Kevin," presented his dilemma with the First Step. He could see that he was powerless over sex addiction. For example, he was able to identify many situations in which his addiction took up more time than he wanted it to, when he couldn't keep himself from pornography on the inter-net and when he was unable to stop gawking at people he found attractive. How it kept him from managing his life, however, was not clear to him.

This is actually a fairly common problem. Many of us have struggled to accept one side or the other of the powerlessness/ unmanageability equation of the First Step. This is one of the ways addictive denial keeps us locked into addiction. For me personally, early recovery was an effort to see these two simultaneously. I could only grasp one at a time and it shifted daily whether I could embrace my powerlessness or my unmanageability. It was when I finally could experience both together that I really felt the First Step start working in my life and I started to get clean.

For Kevin, the challenge was to define unmanageability in terms that flowed from his powerlessness. We started by talking about what it meant for him to manage his life. He said that it was to live successfully in the different sectors of life: family, education, business, religion, and community were some of his examples. Successful living happens when he manages each sector by a set of principles and values. I asked him to explain this.

Kevin said that he was in business and that his management training taught him to identify the key principles, values and practices that would allow him to work productively. Success came from sticking to those principles and following them to the end of the project or deal. He said that as long as he did this, he was managing his business.

I suggested that if he was not living by these principles or was actually violating them in the various sectors of his life then that would then lead to unmanageability. He agreed. So we looked at this idea in the area of family life. Kevin said that the key principles for him were to provide for, be an example to and spend time with his family. When he did those, he believed that he was successfully managing his family life. So then we looked at how he did or didn't stick to those principles when his addictive behaviors came into play. He noted that when his addiction was absorbing many hours each day, he wasn't spending time with his family; when he was uncontrollably sexualizing women in public he wasn't being a good example to his children; and when he was purchasing sexual stimulation on the internet instead of working on his business he wasn't providing for his family. As a result, his family relationships were a mess. He recognized that he was not successfully managing his family life when he was being controlled by his addiction. His uncontrollable addiction was making his family life unmanageable. We briefly reviewed the other sectors of life that he thought were important and he saw that in each one his addiction was leading him to violate the principles, values and practices by which he was trying to manage his life. Sex addiction was truly making his whole life unmanageable. This recognition was quite sobering for Kevin. It touched him deeply.

He started to feel the pain that came as his denial broke down. He started to experience the First Step, rather than just say the words.

This is one way to help sponsees and newcomers face the reality of their powerlessness and unmanageability.

Anonymous PBR Volume 17 Issue 1 Jan /Feb 05

B.2 Working Step Two

"One of the great mysteries in the program is why hardworking newcomers continue acting out despite all their best efforts at abstinence. They go to as many meetings as they can, call program peers and sponsors daily, pray, read the literature and do everything they are told to do--they have completely committed themselves. They look like model SAA citizens, and yet they still act out.

These hardworking newcomers are to be respected for their commitment, and their frustration is understandable. They are used to getting results from their efforts, except of course in their efforts to fight addiction. When they find SAA, they find some hope that finally there is something that will work on the addiction; but they can't understand why they aren't building up clean time as others are. So they ask, "What can I do?" The answer we will explore in this article is, "start over." While the ideas presented below do not fit all my sponsees who have had difficulty establishing abstinence, they have helped some of them. Let's look at how these beginners first approached the program.

They came to a few meetings and started to look at the program; let's call this being at Step Zero. They read the First Step and said to themselves, "Oh yes, I'm powerless." Then they read about a Higher Power in Steps Two and Three and said, "Well, I believe in God; that is no problem." So they decided to use their lifelong Higher Power in recovery. This is where I believe my sponsees have set themselves up for failure because, while still being at Step Zero they have already worked Step Two. What's wrong with this? The problem is not with the HP, of course, but in the relationship with the Higher Power.

Experience shows that addicts "addictionize" all relationships, including spiritual ones. We do things like: use others to fix to our pains and problems, bargain to get what we want and rarely hold up our end of the deal, and lie to ourselves and others constantly. In short, we completely compromise our relationships, and help turn others in our lives into co-addicts. While we can't actually do these things to the Higher Power, we do them to our side of the relationship with the HP. Truly the addiction defines the spiritual relationship.

This is the compromised spiritual relationship that these newcomers started with at Step Zero. Essentially, they were relying on the addiction to produce recovery. Is it any wonder they didn't stop acting out.

As a sponsor, I encourage newcorners to start over by:

Working Step One as if there are no other Steps, including letting go of their old ideas about their Higher Power,

Staying with the truth about how the addiction has damaged their lives; and facing their powerlessness and unmanageability head on. This hurts. Then I encourage further self ex-amination which produces more pain. If they have not already hit bottom, they soon will. At this low point, their defenses no longer work. They start to know and feel that nothing they do will stop the addiction. The resulting hopelessness and despair are exactly what they need to feel-and they need to stay in these feelings.

Within the pain of Step One, they are no longer capable of compromising the spiritual relationship. With them now truly powerless, the Higher Power can begin to define the bond instead of the addiction doing so. A new, healthy spiritual relationship is beginning to grow, though it does not seem like it at the time.

In their unsuccessful approach my sponsees tried to go out and find a Higher Power; what happens when they are at their bottom is that the Higher Power finds them.

I tell them that "Came to believe..." in Step Two can be explained as "We started living a spiritual relationship on God's terms." That only seems to happen after we have been rendered powerless in the First Step.

Newcomers can develop a new relationship if they work Step One without thinking ahead to Steps Two and Three. So sometimes starting over is necessary. There appears to be no "easier, softer way" no matter how hard the newcomer is working. For some of my sponsees, this has made the difference between continued acting out and fruitful abstinence. This is one way to help sponsees who are still acting out."

Anonymous PBR Volume 13 Issue 6 Dec 00 - Jan 01

B.3 Working Step Three

by Rich B.

"[W]hy shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others." -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.132

Giving away what was freely given to me-working Step Three with a protégé-is fun.

For example, yesterday, over the phone, I was working with a new person, taking him through Steps One, Two, and Three. He was in New Jersey and I was in Montana. Suddenly he said, "Uh oh. A cop car is driving into the park. . . . Oh, hello, officer. . . . I am on the phone. . . . Oh, okay, the park is closed. Well, then, I'll be on my way. Thank you, officer."

I could hear him start his car and drive off. He found a quiet spot in a nearby residential neighborhood. I said, "How come you were in a park?" He said, "I have a wife and three kids. If I go home, my kids will be all over me. I have no privacy."

Minutes later, we reached the Third Step prayer. I said: "My first sponsor had me kneel down with him to say this prayer together. So I'm going to ask you to do the same, if you can." He said, "Give me a minute."

I heard grunting, followed by an out-of-breath voice: "Okay, whew . . . I'm .. . whew . . . ready."

I said, "What's going on?"

He said, "I had to slide to the passenger side of the front seat, twist around and pull myself up so that I could kneel on the front seat."

I said, "You must be looking out the back window."

He said, "Yeah, I am. And you will be glad to know the coast is clear."

I knelt down on my icy back porch in Montana, and we said the Third Step prayer together.

After he had settled back into the driver's seat, I said, "When I said the Third Step prayer with my first sponsor, we were sitting at a picnic table in a public park in downtown Helena, Montana. My sponsor said, 'When the traffic dies down, let's kneel down and say the prayer together.' That's what we did, and I will never forget it."

He chuckled and said, "Well, I'll tell you one thing, Rich, I won't forget this."

Giving away what was freely given to me-working Step Three with a protégé-is fun.

TOC Volume 5, Issue 2 March - April 2011

B.4. Taking someone through Step Four

B.4.1. Getting Started on Step Four

At some point, if we are patient, our sponsees may ask us about working the Fourth Step. Having avoided it for three years myself, I appreciate the value of procrastination as a tool of pain avoidance. However, it was the continuing insanity and the pain of reemerging addictive behaviors that made me finally say, "I'm ready." Pain is probably the best starting place for anyone doing this work. The reason is that, like any other Step, Four is more than just an intellectual journey; to be effective, it needs to be a union of facts and emotions.

Before any of my sponsees has ever done fruitful Step work, I tell them they must have some abstinence under their belts first. As much as some would like to claim otherwise, the reality is that denial and emotional numbness always are controlling a per-son when he or she is acting out. (This is true no matter how long a person has been in the program.) Abstinence from all addictive behaviors is the best sign of progress on Steps One, Two and Three. There is no sense in starting Step Four without it.

What has seemed to help my sponsees the most on the first time through is to work a wide ranging Step Four. There are many resources. One of the best is the outline presented in Alcoholics Anonymous, chapter 5, pages 64 to 71. It takes an individual through a list of some of the most serious character defects and makes some general suggestions on what to write; the section on resentments is outstanding. However, this out-line is very .difficult to work without a lot of guidance from a sponsor who has worked the Big Book Step Four him or herself. Even if this is not the format chosen, however, sponsees would benefit from reading this chapter for an understanding of what an effective Step looks like. AA also has a pamphlet on working Four that gives a more detailed explanation.

Another resource is the many Step workbooks available from different sources. I have worked with a few of these; some are better than others. My chief complaint about a few of the workbooks is that they reflect more of a psychological approach than a spiritual one. They can get very heady and move away from a focus on behaviors and what those actions reveal about one's spirituality.

A third approach that has worked for some of my sponsees is using the Seven Deadly Sins as an outline. This approach is suggested in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions book of A.A. To do this, start with the Sins: pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. (Some people suggest adding fear to the list as an eighth Deadly Sin.) Take them one at a time and write out a list of specific incidents which shows how this defect has warped one's character. The chapter on Step Four in the Twelve and Twelve offers a number of questions that can help a newcomer get started. Yet another approach that is used in some areas of the country is a Twelve Step workshop. This is a group of people gathered together to work through the Steps together. These have worked m AA for decades.

My only concern about workshops in SAA is that these sometimes they are composed only of newcomers. Without some kind of guidance from oldtimers, the participants are likely to fall into old patterns of denial. In other words, they can become the blind lead-ing the blind. Workshops need old-timers or sponsors to be effective.

Once the sponsee has clean time and have found a Step Four tool, there are still a number of things that I do as a sponsor to help make it safe and productive. I suggest the sponsee always call me every time after doing some writing, if they don't reach me, they are to call someone else. Step work is painful if it is effective, and it is at those vulnerable moments that the addiction offers "relief." A call to the sponsor is an important bit of support through the pain. Even if it isn't painful one time, the habit of calling may be what gets the sponsee to seek support the next time when it is. I also encourage sponsees to pace themselves in a self-respectful and consistent way; don't hurry through it because the pain will accumulate and become overwhelming, and don't draw it out over years. One specific suggestion is working three or four times a week for about thirty minutes, lessening this pace when the more painful times hit.

A final suggestion responds to the question, "How do I know when I'm done?" The answer is one week after you feel like your Higher Power is indicating that you are done; the week provides a chance to see if anything else comes up. Then it is important to schedule a time to present Step Five as soon as possible. Whoever the sponsee chooses to hear the Step, it is important not to wait very long, because the denial and emotional disconnection can quickly reappear. As with Four, Step Five is only effective when the facts and the emotions are united. This is where so much healing can take place."

Anonymous PBR Volume 14 Issue 2 Apr May 2002

B.4.2 When to back up a Step

"Marcus" (not his real name) is a fairly new sponsee who came to SAA after three years in another fellowship. After a few months checking us out, he realized the seriousness of his sex addiction, hit bottom and was given the gift of abstinence from his addictive behaviors. He did some great work on the first three steps in his first few months and seemed ready for Step 4.

He had worked Step 4 in the other fellowship a couple of times and we discussed what format he might use this time. His past experiences had been with the three-columns ap-proach suggested in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (pp. 64 to 71). For those who are not familiar with this, it is well worth examining. Page 65 gives an example for examining resentments. The first column lists each person we resent, the second lists the specific cause, and the third identifies how it affects us. The last column identifies effects on security, self-esteem, ambitions, personal relations or sex relations. It also notes how fear is a common and destructive thread. This can be a helpful format for doing a Fourth Step and Marcus had found it so in his other program. However, he thought maybe he wanted to try something else.

I suggested a worksheet that had been passed around which gave a list of character defects, asked for a list of manifestations of each defect and then for stories about each manifestation. Marcus wanted to try that and took off working on what he saw as one of his major defects. After writing as much as the worksheet suggested, he moved onto another defect. This is where he struggled.

Marcus found himself writing for a while and then fighting work on the inventory. He didn't feel right doing it, and was ashamed to tell me about it. When we finally did talk about it, I suggested that he try an old piece of AA advice. The saying is, "If you are having trouble, back up a step and work on that."

He did this. He went back to his Step 3 and looked to see if this particular character de-fect somehow was something he would not or did not want to surrender to his HP. He spent a lot of time searching himself over this and found that while he was afraid to sur-render it, he was willing to. His problem wasn't at Step 3.

We then explored backing up half of a step. In other words, Marcus went back to the first character defect to see if there was something there that was holding him up. He realized that he had a lot more to write about that particular item in his inventory. While he had written out the ten or twelve items that the worksheet had suggested, he recognized that he had more manifestations and more stories he needed to explore. It was as if that particular defect was keeping him from moving on to the next. After he went back and wrote as much as he felt he could, Marcus found that he naturally went on to the next de-fect and completed it.

This seems to work when people get stuck. Backing up a step or a half step can help us find what we may be missing. Sometimes we cannot see what is interfering with our progress; the problem has not yet entered our consciousness. By backing up,we allow our Higher Power to show us a possible source of the obstacle.

Anonymous PBR Volume 16, Issue 2 Mar Apr 2004

B.5. Hearing their Fifth Step (This section is looking for your story.)

B.6. Working Step Six

Our fellowship has multiple ways of working Step Six, "Were entirely ready for God to remove all these defects of character." I like to wait a while after having a sponsee do a Fifth Step presentation. Why? Because a common reaction to doing a Fifth Step is the feeling that "I can do this. I can change how I have been making decisions." Step Six includes a discovery that we cannot. Oh, yes, for some items on our moral inventory, doing the Fifth Step frees us up so that we are able to change them. But for a number of items, it doesn't.

The other reason for waiting is that there are subtleties to Step Six and Step Seven that are not immediately obvious. When a sponsee is unable to comprehend the differences between one step and the next, they can often benefit from spending more time trying to live the previous steps. That extra time helps them get the experiential framework in which to comprehend the next step. This is one big reason why the steps need to be worked in the order they are written.

I have heard people express confusion between Steps Four and Six. In my experience, there are three major differences between Step Four and Step Six. First, Step Four is about past behavior; Step Six is about today's choices. Second, Step Four is a moral inventory - it is listing the moral decisions; Step Six is about why we make those choices. Third, Step Four is focused on ourselves; Step Six is the start of a change in focus towards others.

The first question a lot of sponsees have is "what is a 'character defect'?" Here are four ways to help the sponsee identify their character defects.

1. Explore how they are unable to change certain patterns of moral decisions. Even when they want to change what they do, they keep on making the same choices. Those patterns are driven by the character defects and helping them see that is a big step forward.

2. Examine any problems with relationships. When loved ones or bosses or others are able to "push their buttons," it's another clue to a character defect. Talking a sponsee "down off the ceiling" can include pointing out the signs to a character defect.

3. Look at lists of character defects and ask which ones fit. For example, there are famous lists of seven character defects. I have found it can help to look both at those and the mirror opposites. We can ask not just if greed is in one's life, but also the

compulsive giving to others and not having proper boundaries with others.

4. Reread Step Four. Then ask them what character defect are at work and whether that defect is still in their life.

Step Six is not just about discovering these character defects, but also about wanting them out of our lives. One way to help a sponsee in this is to ask them to write down all the costs they and their loved ones have had because of this character defect. We need to know that these character defects have real costs. Boasting about one's character defects is "staying in the problem, not the solution."

Steps Six and Seven are very clear: we are unable to change our character defects by ourselves. Many character defects exist only in interactions with others and can only be changed from outside ourselves.

Step Six does not end with a clear benefit. There isn't a "here is the good you just got from working this step." It leaves us off balance for a good reason. It is part of the shift from looking just at ourselves to looking outside of ourselves. The rest of the Steps are focused on our interactions with other people. By working Step Six, the sponsee starts to look forward to the rest of the steps.

Dave R The Outer Circle Volume 11 Issue 5 Sept-Oct 2017

B.7 Working Step Seven (This section is looking for your story.)

B.8 Working Step Eight

Step 8 Worksheet
Submitted by Anonymous

[Editor's Note: The following article represents a method of working Step 8 that has worked for some members of our fellowship.]

Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

1. Make a list of all persons you had harmed. Do not limit the list to those harmed only by your sexual addiction - a list of ALL persons you harmed. This is just a list of people you had harmed. Do NOT worry at this point about the amends. Do not let the fear or embarrassment of having to make amends keep you from listing certain individuals. This is just a list of ALL the people you had harmed. The issue of amends actually comes in step 9. This is not just a list of people you are willing to make amends to - Not just a list of people who were harmedby your sexual acting out - but a list of ALL people you harmed. (Leave space behind each name for up to 4 letters-see item 3.) (Hint: abbreviate names just in case you misplace this list and someone else picks it up)

2. There may be some you have not thought about adding to your list. Is your name on the list? Did you list close friends and relatives who were shocked or dismayed to learn of your acting out? Is your immediate family on the list? If not, why not?

3. To keep it simple and manageable, think about how you injured each person. Use the letters, E for Emotionally, F for Financially, S for Spiritually, R for Relationally and P for Physically and put at least one letter next to each name on the list. Note there is no letter for harming someone sexually because the actual sexual harm may be one or more of the ones listed above.

4. From your lists above, list each person you are already ready to make amends to if it were possible. This is a list of those, if amends were possible, that you are willing to make amends to. This step is not dependent on how or when or where you will make amends, it only about your willingness to make amends.

5. List all the people from points 1 and 2 who you are NOT willing to make amends to and give a short reason why you are not willing to make amends to them. (Examples: Joe N. - He's not ready to hear what I have to say. Wanda W - She's still acting out sexually. Jim K - owes me money)

6. Now go over each name of those you are not willing to make amends to and ask yourself these questions. Did I harm them emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically, or relationally? Is my unwillingness to make an amends to them based on what I did or misplaced on what they have done or may be thinking? Is my unwillingness based on being harmed by them? List the names of those you are still unwilling to make amends to and why.

7. Do you believe the steps work if you work them? If so, do you think that your unwillingness hinders your progress? Is your getting better less important than your ego and unwillingness to make amends? Note that willingness to do something like making amends does not mean that you embrace the action that you are enthusiastically looking forward to making the amends. Willingness means that you have committed to making the amends to the best of your ability. In many cases, willingness means that we will take action regardless of our fears or embarrassment. List only those names of those to whom you are still unwilling to make an amends.

8. Of those names left, what would you need to do in order to very strongly consider making an amend to them? List what you feel needs to happen for each person. (Example: Steve B - needs to sober up) Is this the same reason as listed in 6 above or is this a new reason? Explain.

9. List only those names of people you are still not willing to make amends to. (If there are no names listed in 9 then you are done and can skip points 10 and 11 below.) KEEP THIS STEP FOR USE IN WORKING STEP 9.

10. Are any of these people listed in 9 above because you don't think you will ever be able to make an amends? This step is not about making an amends. It is about making a list and being willing. It is not about the ability or inability to make an amends. Some on your list may have died. Some may not be locatable. The question for those left in 9 above, if you could make an amends to that person, would you? If so, cross their name off the list in 9.

11. Are there any names left in 9 above? If so, take each name or the group and ask your Higher Power to make you willing to make amends. If that is too hard, ask your Higher Power for whatever you need in order to become willing to ask for the willingness to make amends.

PBR Volume 18, Issue 1 January - February 2006

B.9 Working Step Nine (This section is looking for your story.)

B.10 Working Step Ten (This section is looking for your story.)

B.11. Working Step Eleven (This section is looking for your story.)

B.12. Working Step Twelve

B.12.1 Sponsoring as they sponsor "GrandSponsoring"

Some of my sponsees are now sponsors themselves. They have worked enough of the Steps and have maintained abstinence for more than a year so that they have some "experience, strength and hope" to share with newcomers. It is very exciting to see them carry the message in this important way. While I have nudged each one when I thought he was ready, each told me that he would do it only if I helped him. This I took as a sign that they were approaching sponsorship seriously.

I discussed with each one some suggested guidelines to help him get started. They each agreed to: I. Sponsor no more than two people at first so they could get some experience. (A quick note: In some regions of the country, sponsorship is almost a one-on-one activity. Locally, we do not do anything that intense. Even in other Twelve Step fellowships, including AA and NA, multiple sponsees are the norm.) 2. Limit themselves to providing support and guidance on working the Twelve Steps since that was all that they had to give away at this point. 3. Give themselves permission not to be experts and to tell their sponsees "I don't know" when that was the case. 4. Talk with me about what was going on in the sponsorship relationship from time to time.

For my part I had guidelines for myself: I do not tell them how to sponsor. I only share what I have learned when they ask and encourage them to explore their own approaches and styles. I help them keep themselves focused on their own recoveries by asking about their own work as well as listening to them talk about their sponsees' progress. I stand back so that they can learn from sponsorship, while trying to be close enough when they believe they need some guidance.

This last guideline actually ended up helping one sponsee grow quite a bit in his own pro gram. "Cal" discussed it with me before he took on a request to sponsor "Eric." I had my doubts about Eric and guessed that he was looking for someone to talk to until he could "fall in love when the right woman came along"; I didn't tell Cal of my suspicions. So Eric took up quite a bit of Cal's energy and time for about two months, and then left the group when he fell in love. Cal was sad and mad about being dis-carded so easily. When we talked about it, he recognized that he had gotten over-involved in Eric's life and that he needed to develop some boundaries for himself as a sponsor. Boundaries and expectations had been a big problem for him with most of his relationships anyway.

This was a valuable lesson that he got to test four months later when Eric called him again. He was quite depressed because that woman had had the sense to end their relationship. He came looking for Cal to take care of him again and Cal wouldn't fall for it. On his own, Cal extended his boundaries into the way that he shaped his sponsorship relationship with Eric. At the same time, he also encouraged Eric to set some boundaries against falling in love that way. So far, it seems to be much healthier this time for both of them.

While the guidelines have been helpful (mostly to me to keep my nose out of their business), my sponsees have found that they don't need me that much. When they share what they have gained from the program and limit it to that, they carry the message quite well. Their own recoveries are the best tools they have in sponsoring newcomers.

Anonymous PBR Volume 15 Issue 2 Mar Apr 2003

B.12.2. Service Work

"Finally, we look at service. This area includes outreach to newcomers, acting as a trusted servant in a meeting, starting a new meeting, writing an article for the local SAA newsletter or the PBR, and helping to organize the SAA convention. It also involves some of our intergroup services: committees, outreach efforts, telephone answering committee, and serving as a meeting rep.

Finally, service also includes examining their readiness to be sponsors. Most of them wanted to duck sponsorship, but I told each of them that after he had a year or more of abstinence-based recovery, he will want to be open to it. We talked about what they needed to do to be ready to sponsor, if and when the time came. I assured them that I would be there to help them work through any difficulties."

Anonymous PBR Volume 14 Issue 5 Nov Dec 2002

Plano SAA
P.O.Box 866332
Plano, TX 75086-6332