About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lets try it and see what happens: What I do at the VERY beginning of Sponsoring someone

I do NOT do 'Temporary Sponsorship' as such.
I DO on the other hand, start out with Sponsees on a 'lets see how we get on' sort of way. This is for me (and her) to find out:
If we get along.
If she is receptive to what I am telling her.
If she is able to understand what I am saying.
If she is able to 'take instruction'.
If she is willing to go to 'any lengths'.
Whether she can DO the things I suggest.
Whether she WANTS to get well or not.
(And a whole bunch of other things, but that's some of the main ones.)

But I do NOT call that 'Temporary Sponsorship'. I tell them something along the lines of:

Lets try it and see how we get on. I will give you some stuff to do, if for WHATEVER reason you are unable to do the things I suggest, I will be FORCED to conclude that I am NOT helping you, in which case, I would advise you to find yourself another sponsor. There are MANY different sponsorship styles out there. I do NOT think the approach I use it for everyone, it is NOT. It suits certain personality types but not others. Also it is more suited to the more 'desperate' types. If you have 'the gift of desperation', you are more likely to succeed with this method. If not you may prefer a more laissez-faire, less structured, style of sponsorship, which happens to be a VERY common sponsorship style, so you will have a GREAT many alternative sponsors to choose from. My style of working with people is NOT typical, so may seem unusual at first, but like most things, I suggest you TRY it first and decide LATER whether or not you think this is working. I have no way of knowing myself, if this will work until I try it, so that is what I intend to do. This is why I will call this a 'try-out' period. The beginning is always rather difficult, but don't let that put you off. It also happens to be the most labour-intensive for me, so please try to take that into account when I work with you. You will make this easier for me if you try VERY HARD to do as I say. And I prefer to work with what I call 'easy' Sponsees. Why? Because it takes me LESS time to 'teach' them this stuff, and as a DIRECT result, I get to help MORE PEOPLE. And that's the bottom line really. Its a numbers game in the end. This will all make sense to you a bit more, once you get started, so don't worry if all this seems like double Dutch at the moment.

Then I give them the 6 things to do, (Listed in the sidebar on the right hand side) and
I look at what meetings they can get to, depending on where they live and work.
I arrange a time for them to call me, every week day if possible. Morning if possible.
And arrange to see them for coffee after the meeting in a weeks time or so, to see how they got on with the things I have told them to do. Ideally I would tell them to bring along their written work to see ho wthey have got on so far.

Also I try to find out a bit about their personal situation. Work. Home. Family. Health. Other addictions.

And I tell them to start writing a 'Drinking CV'. Which is actually more like a potted history of EVERYTHING. But very much a BIRDS EYE VIEW. Very much a LOOK BUT DON'T STARE sort of thing.
Names, dates, addresses, family, school, work, any other compulsions, addictions. How the drugging/drinking/compulsive behaviour started, what happened, where it ended up. What brought them to AA. The 'high' points, meaning the 'high drama' points throughout the course of their entire life. The whole thing really. I tell them, when it is finished, they will come round to mine and read it out, and that I would like to be able to do that in about 3 hours. I'd like to get it all read out in one go if possible.

I expect them to include a ROUGH THUMBNAIL SKETCH of any or all of these things if they are relevant:
Prison, police, psychiatric admissions, if any, shoplifting, gambling, sex addiction, drugs, prescribed and 'street', anti depressant use, suicide attempts if any, thoughts of suicide, self harm history, anorexia, bulimia, any violent behavior, occult fears, occult experimentation in the past, hauntings, (if any), hospital admissions, illnesses, bereavement, abuse (all kinds), battered wife, assault, previous psychiatric diagnoses, panic attacks, bullying, therapy history, counseling history, motor accidents, what they think the 'worst thing is that has happened to them so far, what they think is the most painful thing that has happened to them so far, what they fear most, any previous attempts a staying sober, what happened and how long it lasted, Religion history. Family background. Basically the whole nine yards.

This is just ONE part of step 1. I'm not going to explain it all here, but it is the way I do step one. Its essentially a 'getting to know you' exercise. Amongst other things. Now you see why I find Step 1 so EXHAUSTING!


Kathy Lynne said...

Thanks Irish Friend. Exactly the information I was looking for. Can you move to Massachusetts, USA??? More specifically, my town???

I will follow your suggestions and work on finding a sponser. And I will call she who calls herself temporary and see where that may lead.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks, Irish Friend. No, let's have her move to California. I wish she was MY sponsor.

This is a great entry. Thanks for answering my questions on Messenger recently. You are smart and thorough. I appreciate your wisdom and time so much!

The internet is a Godsend in sobriety. THANK YOU again, sincerely.

Willa 500 days sober.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Hey Willa !! 500 days is VERY cool indeed. Well done Willa!! You Ninja!

johno said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...

I read this post earlier but did not comment. I thought about it as I discovered a trudging sister of mine is having a hard time w one of her sponsees. My friend is 24, just over 2 years of sobriety and is new in sponsoring. She is having to deal w a lot of drama, and missing work cuz of it. I am not sure how close she is working w her sponsor but I thought I would send her this post.

I love your guidence and experience your blog has such an array of spiritual influence I must share it :)

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

yeah if you don't have PROPER boundaries when you sponsor, you go MAD. Plus you need to be able to suggest things that WORK, and preferably work QUICKLY, otherwise, you end up being some sort of 24hr helpline, which is NO good!!
I like to think I can turn previous aa 'failures' around in 7 days, IF !!! they do as I say. Those daily '6 things' in the sidebar I mention are VERY powerful if used well. especially the 'helping newcomers' one. But that one needs to be done properly. A lot of people THINK they are helping, when they aren't really. Plus some TRY to help, but don't really. The only way I find that it works, is if you REALLY DO HELP THEM, you know? Meaning they REALLY benefit from what you tell them. But that's a different post really. I haven't got round to explaining that properly. Oh well. I sympathise with your friend!