I can go to skid row that I already know, and like Bob and Bill there is always the hospital. Now I hear tell they come under their own steam, washed but not clean, and desperate for simple instruction. Next time this golden opportunity walks through the doors I will elbow and shove and help them find their seat so that I can continue to grow and make my own recovery complete.
The concept of “Attraction Not Promotion” also lend itself to the misunderstanding that you are supposed to be attracted to your sponsor, but the Big Book gives clear cut direction at least four times
“Find a prospect”, and start working on him: The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 89.
Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. “Search out another” alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 96.
Page 18 Big Book “That the man who is making the approach” has had the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, (this is the man you are looking for, its the man making the approach)
Page 25 Big Book “When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
When you have a new sponsee consider getting contact information full name address of residence current phone work, place and phone (if your lucky), and an emergency contact person, phone and address. Dr. Bob said that there was two ways you could break anonymity, one was in press radio and film and two if that you were so anonymous that the other drunks could not find you. (When common sense becomes uncommon sense)
I ask my new sponsee if they have gotten a newcomers packet filled with sundrys of recovery to which the same gender members have affixed their names and phone numbers. If your club does not do that, you can ask the meeting chair before the start of the meeting to send around a sheet in a meeting where the same gender affixes their names and phone numbers. Have your sponsee ask for it as they will need it, and it is an excellent future resource. I ask my sponsee to call a different person on the list every day (as they have already agreed to and have made themselves available to be called) for the next 30 days and ask them if they can recite the third step prayer to them. The prayer is found on page 63 of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I always explain the why of it, in all I ask a sponsee to do: 1. It gets the sponsee used to picking up the 500 lb. telephone and asking for help. 2. It helps to connect the sponsee with the fellowship; they get to hear your name, you get to hear their names. 3. It gets them familiar with the third step prayer, which encapsulates the essence of A.A. and we will be accomplishing by working the Twelve Steps 4. And most importantly, I explain that the person they are calling might have been thinking about taking that first drink of alcohol and by calling, they will help them put that thought away as now they are into service work. Intimacy is
the ability to share one’s reality without fear of judgment or change.
Intimacy develops slowly, and commitment more gradually still.
I explain to them the law of opposition that states there is opposition in all things, for nothing grows without an opposing force. When you go to the gym and lift weights gravity is the opposition. It strengthens bones and builds muscle. A butterfly struggling to free itself from its cocoon, that struggle strengthens it wings that enables it to fly off majestically.
When we begin the spiritual work of the Twelve Step process we are often opposed spiritually as we try to free ourselves from the cocoon of addiction. A bottle of booze long since hid will seem to miraculously materialize. A drug long since forgotten will be found in an inside coat pocket. The opposite sex with your favorite addiction in tow will make themselves known.
These things and more will occur when you’re the most susceptible, during periods of restlessness, irritability, and discontent, physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, when we are, hungry, angry, lonely and tired .And with that temptation a way to escape has been made. Get on your knees and ask God to remove the craving, call your sponsor and other program members for support, and get to a meeting, be forthright and let the folks know what you’re going through so we can circle up and keep you in our prayers and less I forget seek out someone you can help and be grateful for the ability to act and not be acted upon. I explain it is suggested not to make any major changes IE. Buy a house sell a house, quit your job (if you have one) get married, get divorced etc and it is strongly suggested try to avoid any and all romantic entanglements if possible
The most important major new thing you can do now is nothing, but do it with flair and enthusiasm A sponsor is a teacher, a mentor, the older brother or sister you never had, a trusted friend and a confidant; and lest you forget, you’re their lifeline to a new and sober life. I suggest that my sponsees 90 in 90 and then go to a minimum of three meetings a week, psyche and soma (mind and body). Three times a week at the gym for the body and three days a week for the sober mind. And when they are in those meetings to take the cotton out of their ears and put it in their mouth until they have worked Step Five.
To suit up, show up and sit down. They can introduce themselves when called upon, and give their sobriety date, and if pressed, acknowledge that their sponsor suggested that they need to listen and this also relieves their need to audition (thinking what to say next in an intelligent way)
Some program members would say that they have pain that they need to leave in the meetings and it is good for us to hear that pain to remind us what it was like we first came in,( if you need to be reminded you probably not through) Not so; they can discuss that pain with their sponsor and any other individual (that will help keep them both sober) in the fellowship. They can use that pain as fuel to work the steps in a thorough and timely manner.
What happens too often is that they do get the pain out, when speaking to it in a group setting the pain seems to dissipates like tears in the rain. That pain is fuel (pain is the touch stone of all spiritual growth, while you can’t grow spiritually and be comfortable at the same time) and the motivation to help the get through the Steps in a timely manner. They are not drinking the newcomer gets a false sense of security called a pink cloud that envelops them.
What happens all too often is that they begin to languish, they depend only on the meetings. The motivation to work the steps subsides they might be sober, but if they are not working the steps, they are not in recovery. How can you extend the hand of A.A. to those who still suffer? You can’t; you can’t give away something you don’t have.. They plan to work the steps when they get around to it. I am staying sober, isn’t that enough?
We think a man unthinking who says sobriety is enough. After working Step five you can now share in the meetings because now you can speak to the solution and you now are available to be a temporary sponsor, the only criteria is that you have to stay one step ahead of your sponsee. Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong. Step Five was the answer it was the beginning of a true kinship between God and man.
This asks us not only to speak a Fifth Step but we are also asked to listen to a Fifth Step (who hears a Fifth Step? a sponsor) Until we have heard a Fifth Step we still didn’t belong, we continued to circle the field waiting to run out of spiritual gasoline and then its yet another crash and burn Vern.
After all you don’t learn the Steps until you teach the Steps. And finally supplies as they will need , a Big Book, a Twelve and Twelve a writing tablet, and I suggest “Twelve Step sponsorship, “How it works” by Hamilton B ( it makes it easier on him ,and on me) it’s also the confidence primer for when they start to sponsor. They are to have these materials at every meeting, for he is coming to work. We are now ready for Step One [email protected]