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Go Back   Bluidkiti's Alcohol and Drug Addictions Recovery Help/Support Forums > Alcohol, Drugs and Other Addictions Recovery > Alcohol, Drugs and Other Addictions Recovery > Sponsors and Sponsees Help Forum

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Sponsors and Sponsees Help Forum This forum is to discuss any topics, questions or comments you have on sponsorship from How To Pick A Sponsor to When To Step Back and more.

 
 
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:02 AM   #2
bluidkiti
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To the Sponsee -

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We have learned from our experience as a fellowship that we need to do more than just attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The NA program teaches concepts and principles most of us were not conscious of during our active addiction. Now, newly clean and new to NA, we are in unfamiliar territory. Hearing other members share about "working" and "practicing" the steps and traditions or developing a conscious contact with a Higher Power may fill us with confusion and suspicion. We know it is not going to be easy to stop using drugs, but we did not realize that living a life of recovery would require so much work.

These concepts may be contrary to our way of looking at the world. We may not want to learn how to live with integrity or to offer ourselves in selfless service to other addicts. All we want to do is stop hurting and end the awful cycle of despair and remorse caused by our disease. The last thing many of us expect to do or know how to do when we get clean is to "work" a this thing called recovery.


"Having a sponsor helps many of us learn about the NA program and gain insight into ourselves that would be difficult to achieve alone. A sponsor is someone with whom we can share our deep, dark secrets and also someone who can share new ideas with us and offer us direction when we ask for it. This is true for those of us who are new to the program as well as the member who has accumulated some clean time. Most importantly for many of us, our sponsor is the person we can call when we have the desire to use."

Many of us choose our sponsors because of the honesty or depth of their sharing. We may share similar backgrounds or other traits, enabling us to trust the suggestions they offer. Sometimes we just have an intuitive sense that someone is the right sponsor for us. Frequently, a special bond forms, which may lead us to share a deep spiritual connection to our sponsor.

"When we are new to the program, a sponsor can often make it easier for us to get comfortable with becoming part of the NA fellowship. Our sponsor can introduce us to other members who have more clean time or who have had similar life experiences. Working with a sponsor can help us to sort out aspects of the program that may be confusing to us: what kinds of things do we want to share in meetings and what might be discussed one-on-one, when are we ready to take on certain commitments, and so on. Developing a relationship with a sponsor can make us feel part of something larger than ourselves."


Sponsorship is as vital to members who have been clean for many years as to those who are new to the program. While the Narcotics Anonymous program may be simple, its principles have a richness that deepens a we mature in our recovery. Just as our diease can be progressive, so too can our recovery. The longer we stay clean and work the program, the more tools we have and the richer our spiritual life can become.

Members with substantial clean time can find that they are a vulnerable as newcomers are when facing some of life's uncertainties. Clean time does not always mean that a member grasps the principles of the NA program easily. Our disease does not go away, and we are not freed from life's problems simply because we have been clean for a certain number of years. Having a sponsor during difficult times can be invaluable.


Many members look to a sponsor for help with accepting the challenges and obstacles that sometimes confront us while learning how to live a clean life. A sponsor can offer us suggestions on how to deal with "the wreckage of our past" as well as the challenges of our present



Sharing intimately with another member who like us reinforces the fact that the feelings and experiences we have are not so unique. Often, a sponsor has walked along the same path as a sponsee and can share his or her knowledge and experience with that situation. This, in turn, may help the sponsee to avoid some of the identical pitfalls the sponsor went through.


Sponsorship can play a crucial role in the Second step; many credit sponsorship as an important factor in coming to believe we could be restored to sanity. This is not to say that a sponsor is like a Higher Power, but that sponsorship helps guide us in our decision-making and self-understanding. Our sponsors can help us get better perspective our ourselves and our lives. This can be one of the benefits of having the same sponsor over a long period of time; as the years pass, they know us better and better


The reasons addicts seek sponsors are numerous, however, we find that what binds us together is that we are all seeking recovery. Many of us cherish our relationships in NA, and particularly our relationships with our sponsors, for the ways that they are sometimes distinct from our relationships outside the program. The spiritual principle of anonymity ensures that we are all equals inside the rooms of NA. The principles of our program can often help us to overcome and face our problems in a responsible and productive manner. We can stand together and know that we do not have to go through these challenges alone.


Narcotics Anonymous has no strict guidelines for selecting a sponsor. However, we may want to keep in mind some basic qualities. One of those is finding someone we relate to and who "has what we want". Many members look for a sponsor they feel will accept and respect them no matter what they share. Some members just a guide through the steps, while others try to find a sponsor who will be their companion and friend. What we seek in a sponsor in early recovery may be different from what we look for in later recovery. It is important to ask ourselves not only what we want in our life and recovery, but also what we feel we need. As with any other element of our recovery, we can always look to our Higher Power to help in making a decision.

"For some, a potential sponsor's relationship to the program is the most significant consideration. They look for someone who attends meetings, participates in service, works the steps, has a sponsor, and is committed to the program. Finding a sponsor with more clean time is also important to many people. Those who are new to the program, in particular, should probably seek a more seasoned member as a sponsor, unless there are no such members in their community."


"In addition to looking at what people do for their recovery, we might also consider other personal qualities. A number of members look first and foremost for a sponsor who is honest and open-minded and who has integrity. For some, it is most important to find someone friendly and available who is respectful and trustworthy. Others explain that finding someone who is fun is as important as anything else."


"A list of considerations could go on and on, and of course, no one person will have all of these qualities. Because our sponsor is human, he or she will have both assets and defects. We may find someone who has only one (or none) of these qualities but who is nevertheless the perfect sponsor for us. How we determine exactly what characteristics we feel are necessary is completely up to us. Some of us may want someone who gives firm direction, for example, while others may look for someone who will let us skin our own knees. When we are new, many of us simply ask the person who makes us feel most welcome. Choosing a sponsor is our own decision.


Examining our personal motives for considering someone as a sponsor is a also a good idea. When many of us arrive at the doors of NA, we are broken physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and often in dire financial need. As newcomers to the NA program, we may find ourselves attracted to other members because of their possessions or the way they look. We may view their "money, property, and prestige" as a measurement of their status and success in recovery. We may not yet fully grasp that the NA program is an "inside job" and its rewards have more to do with spiritual growth and peace of mind than lifestyle or possessions.
Some members have had difficult relationship experiences with family, friends, employers, lovers, and other members of society before getting clean. Sometimes feelings such as defensiveness, neediness or desperation may make us wary of repeating past mistakes, or may encourage us to develop new relationships that seem just like the old ones we are used to. When choosing a sponsor, we may not be able to identify what kind of sponsorship relationship is going to be best for our recovery.



Getting a sponsor can be one of the most important commitments we will make in our recovery. We need to make every effort to look within ourselves, no matter how difficult it may be to maintain objectivity. Of course, because this choice is so personal and our membership so diverse, some considerations may not be as important to us as others are. On the other hand, we might feel that certain character traits, which are not mentioned her, are crucial. Regardless, it is important to remember a sponsor is a human being who can make mistakes.


Many of us find it helpful to have a sense of our own expectations for the sponsorship relationship and tobe direct about these expectations when we ask someone to be our sponsor. For those of us who are new to the program, this may be more difficult. It may take us some time in the program to develop this kind of understanding. Nonetheless, if, as a new member, we need more time and attention from a sponsor, we have to learn to ask. We may want to talk to potential sponsors about whether we can call them late at night if we get the desire to use and what their expectations are if we do use (will they still sponsor us?) Those of us with some established clean time also have to ask for what we need. If we are looking for help with working a step or understanding a tradition, dealing with a service position, or coping with a particular life situation, we can discuss these needs with a potential sponsor.

By learning to take risks and move through our fear, we can develop the ability to express our needs. This is a skill that we can use in all of our relationships as we gorw in our recovery.


Our experience has shown....

While most members of our fellowship can agree on many aspects of sponsorship, NA as a whole has no opinion on a number of controversial issues related to sponsorship. Our individual members, however, often develop strong beliefs and, in many cases, feel there is a "right way" to approach sponsorship. Nonetheless, it is important that we, as a fellowship, do not make any one particular group of members feel let out or put forth the idea that one method of practicing the prinicple of sponsorship is better than another method.

More than one sponsor

Most of our members feel it is important to have only one sponsor. These members find that having one sponsor helps them to keep it simple and to minimize the risk of "shopping" for answers; one sponsor is like the "single point of decision and accountability" explained in the Fifth Concept. Some members, however, have had success with more than one sponsor. Sometimes special circumstances, such as service work, illness, or divorce, motivate members to seek out someone with similar experience to sponsor or guide them in addiction to their long-standing sponsor.


Temporary Sponsorship

In some regions, a practice called "temporary" or "interim" sponsorship is common, particularly for those new to the program. In fact, sometimes institutions require their clients to get an interim sponsor. A temporary or interim sponsor is someone who can work with us until we find a person we are comfortable asking to be our sponsor. We can also ask someone to be a temporary sponsor when we have a circumstance that causes our sponsor to be unavailable for a period of time- if, for example, our sponsor is ill or we have had to relocate for a short period of time. Though this practice is popular in some regions, however, it is frowned upon in others. Some members feel strongly that seeking a temporary sponsor indicates a lack of commitment or a reserveration. "This disease is not temporary," they explain.


Gender

The gender of our sponsor-that is, the question of whether or not we should get a sponsor of the same sex-is another area where opinions vary widely from community to community and addict to addict. Many addicts feel very strongly that a same sex sponsor can better help them to work through certain issues and can more easily identify with them and feel empathy for them. Others do not see gender as such a determining factor in working through issues or establishing empathy. In some smaller NA communities, the number of potential local sponsors may be limited, influencing members' choices in this regard. Regardless of what we decide about the gender of our sponsor, we should be careful that sexual attraction is not an issue in our sponsorship relationship.


What if I can't find an NA sponsor?

Sometimes we unable to find a sponsor right away. Particularly in newer or smaller NA communities, there may be few members with substantial clean time. In such a situation, some members have had to find sponsors in other twelve-step fellowshipps or over the Internet, and some have used co-sponsorship(a relationship in which each person sponsors the other) to help them with their recovery. Some of these arrangements work out and last for many years.





Regardless of...?

In NA, we are taught that the particular qualities or affiliations of our members, as individuals, have no bearing on their right membership and their status as recovering addicts. Our Basic Text explains that anyone can belong to NA regardless of his or her race, religion, sexual identity, age, etc. Nonetheless, some addicts struggle with the question of whether they should consider these kinds of factors when choosing their sponsor; should they look for someone with similar religious or political beliefs, of a similar ethnicity or socio-economic status, from a similar culture or background? While some addicts do seek a sponsor who is similar to them in some respects, many others have found that such factors are negligible in relation to working a spiritual program, and some, in fact, look for someone who is not like them.


How each of us addresses these various differences is neither right nor wrong. It is simply how we as individual NA members address these differences. While the spiritual principles of unity and anonymity expressed in the traditions emphasize our common bonds as recovering addicts, we also hold dear the spiritual principle of autonomy, which protects our diversity. In NA, we value our unity but we do not strive for uniformity.



Reaching out..

Asking someone to be our sponsor can be daunting.As new members, we might feel intimidated by another member's clean time or feel that we are somehow sicker than others. Our self-esteem may be so low that we believe we do not deserve to have a sponsor. On the other hand, our arrogance and self-righteousness may prevent us from admitting that we even need help and, as a result, we may resist seeking out another member.


Newcomers are not the only ones who struggle with asking someone to be their sponsor. Members who have long-term clean time may balk at the thought of changing sponsors. We may need to get a new sponsor for a number of reasons. As we stay clean and become productive members of society, our lives can change tremendously. After being with the same sponsor for years, we may find ourselves growing in a different direction. Job responsibilities or career opportunities might make it necessary for either our sponsor or ourselves to move away from our present NA community. Family obligations may shorten the time our sponsor can share with us. Our sponsor may become ill, die, or maybe even relapse. Whatever the reason, we may find ourselves without a sponsor and know that we have to ask someone. Many members find the idea of getting to know someone again on such an intimate level to be a difficult task.
__________________





We know we can find acceptance in the NA meetings we attend, but some of us put off reaching out to ask another member to be our sponsor because we fear rejection. We may not want to risk losing that feeling of "being part of". Nevertheless, we should not deny ourselves the possibility of being in this rewarding relationship simply because of our fears.
Regardless of how much time we have in the program, we all look for a sponsor in much the same way. We can start by going to meetings and listening to members. If someone's sharing moves us, we should reach out, get his or her phone number, and start to call. This is a good way to get to know another member, even if our life seems to be going smoothly at the moment and we do not have any problems to solve. We can also talk to other members to see if they can suggest anyone as a potential sponsor. We do not need to be at the end of our rope to reach out for help.
__________________
__________________





Thanks for that very vital information shared , you seemed to have just about covered every angle on the issue of sponsorship . I've had the wonderful experience of having to deal in three of the scenario's which were discussed I've been blessed to have had a sponsor of the opposite sex for a number of years and I respected the fact that we both reviewed our personal motives for this relationship and God allowed this person to guide me Thur some difficult times in my life as I dealt with some sexual abuse and self loathing this person walked with me in my process of healing in my journey of finding self . This person help me to go back to get that very small broken , shaky , insecure , abused and fearful child which had been scared , neglected and abandoned . I truly thank God for that experience in my life And before that person the sponsor I worked with the first 4yrs of my recovery was just as great she was patient , loving , caring and sense @ that time I was dealing with authority figures in my life and was very defiant this person was sent I feel by God to help me during that period in my life . This person possessed all the qualities which were needed to deal with a person like me @ that time . And I fell a couple of times and skinned my knees as well , and had a lot of bruises along the way . But that was what it took for me to be in position for my next sponsor each of these wonderful people played their part , and in return I to was then equipped to be in position to show strength , empathy , patience courage love and genuine concern for another human being and not be to quick to give up on someone , because no one had ever given up on me . When the seeds were planted each one than made a commitment to do their part as we walked this path of life and I now can truly say that I wouldn't take nothing for my journey . And after having over 8yrs in the program needed to seek more to continue to feed my spirit which opened another door in my life and another sponsor then walked right in , God had this person as like the others in their assigned position once again. And Thur It all I've gained some very healthy and wonderful loving relationships as a result . Thanks once again for sharing and allowing me to have a place where I to can do like wise. And I'll keep coming back strong in my faith and willing in my service . Beloved






One thing I have learned is that the adage "you have to give it away to keep it" is very true.

I learn so much more about the program and recovery from sponsoring others. When I need to take the time to explain it, the effort to show it, and repeat the process of the steps with another I have no choice but to become more deeply rooted on the program and renew my own work on the steps.

Even if you are not ready or able to sponsor another, taking the time to talk to and share your experience, strength and hope with another will not just help them, it will help you.
__________________
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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