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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 11-06-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 31,118
Default Just Good Friends?

Just Good Friends?
Imagine this scene: You are married. Both of you are recovering. The phone rings and it is your spouse's sponsee needing support. Your spouse is unavailable. Do you:
a) Talk to the sponsee, taking on the role of sponsor, or,
b) Tell them to call another member of the program of the same sex?
Males sponsor males and females sponsor females; we all know that. But what happens when there are not enough males or females with the necessary clean time to sponsor newcomers? Or what about co-sponsorship? Never heard of it? Good! But I suspect that my story is not that unique.
In the early days of the fellowship in my community, there were simply not the numbers of stable recovering members to give me, in the scene above, the second choice of, (“Why don't you call…" Today that is, not the case in my community, at least (among the males. We have the quantity and the quality.
Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me for a long time that this was the case and that I had a second option besides giving the support that I was being asked for. To make a long story short, I became very close friends with a man we will call John who my husband sponsored. A conflict developed between my husband and John, completely cutting their relationship. John and I, however, maintained ours.
Over a period of time, my spouse became threatened. The tension escalated to the point where he issued an ultimatum: he didn't want John in his house. He told me that I had no business sponsoring John.
Yes, we're talking control; but he had a valid point. Was I sponsoring John, or was I "just a good friend?" To this day, I don't have a clear-cut answer. But I took an honest inventory and discovered that I was getting some unhealthy needs met by having a male emotionally dependent on me, wanting my advice and support. I thought back to different times that showed me this was true: his wife calling me after John relapsed, saying, "If he calls you first, call me;" John's counselor saying to him, "You shouldn't be sharing that much with a female." The amount of pain I felt when John relapsed was a red flag that something was not quite right.
So a heart-to-heart talk with John was in order. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Part of my recovery as a female has been to learn to depend on and trust other females, and I had to encourage him to seek that with the men in the fellowship. I wanted to be his friend, but I couldn't be someone with whom he could share every dark secret. For my recovery and his, he needed to develop relationships with men. And in order to detach, I had to say, "No more phone calls, no more going out for coffee. I'll see you at meetings."
Today I am very careful with relating to men in the program. I try to be supportive and caring, but I am well aware of the dangers for me of emotional intimacy with a recovering man. I am still learning how to be a friend. I try very hard not to get involved in my husband's relationships with his sponsees.
It is very easy to sit in judgment on so-called "thirteenth steppers" who lust after the newcomer, but that's not the only way of working the thirteenth step. My experience has taught me that emotional intimacy with opposite-sex newcomers has its own share of pitfalls. So a word of warning: being "safely married" doesn't exempt any of us from the suggestion, "Males sponsor males and females sponsor females."
Anonymous, Kansas
Originally published in “The NA WAY’ magazine
June 1988
"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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