Follow Up

Yes this is a follow up on yesterday’s post but it is also a way to frame the results of my meeting my sponsee today. We both agree he is good at pushing away things that might be helpful. In this case he has a real reluctance to meet with me regularly. Since this is something I explained to him from the start is what I need to have happen, it is a problem. My being his sponsor is contingent on my being able to meet up with him. He was free from the start to say no, this was not something he wants.

I must say I was happy to say he did agree to meet with me again next week. Of his own volition he also offered up that not showing up then would be a clear statement on his part. His absence would demonstrate he was not willing to committ to our working together in a way that I felt had to happen.

I really hope he shows up. I want to help him and meeting with someone is the way I have found works best for me. I simply cannot effectively sponsor someone without regular face to face contact. Just one of the many, many limitations I have come to understand about myself since I have become sober.

I do believe that people can have a sponsor-sponsee relationship without regular meetings too, so this is not a case of my way is the only way this can work for everyone. I have also learned in sobriety that there are very few absolutes.

This is a jumbled post but there you have it.

All the best in your sobriety,

AA blogger

Rigorous Action

I am meeting with a sponsee tomorrow that I have not seen in months. He does some things real well, like going to meetings and calling me most days. Yet he is really balking at working the steps. He has had a lot of challenges. Things like operations are in fact fairly big deals for most people. Even with all this I still feel like he should be moving along into his fourth step. The important thing is I realize this is simply what I think.

I truly don’t know what is best for anyone. The best thing I can do is to try to do what seems to be the right thing. Hence I pray, and sometimes fret, over what I should or should not do. I am getting a growing sense that anything I can do to try to push this fellow into doing the steps would be just that. Me pushing. It is his decision to do or not do the things that are laid out in the big book as the necessary steps to recovery. His choice. I need to at least make that clear to him tomorrow.

My gut is telling me I also need to tell him to stop calling me every day. I feel my job as his sponsor is to guide him through the steps. The rest is whistling dixie. I am sure he enjoys the regular contact but unless he is moving forward with his step work, our daily conversations are just shooting the breeze. Even if a lot of the talking is about his meeting attendance and things around that topic. In some sense it is like talking about the weather. Its fun, and easy to talk about, but its not really substantive.

It may seem a bit harsh to be so stuck on the step work but for me, this is largely what my role as a sponsor is about. I even told him that from the start so this is not a surprise to anyone I am blessed to work with.

Tomorrow should be an interesting meeting. I wonder what I will be shown, both in terms of what to do and also what this meeting will end up meaning for both of us.

All the best,

AA Blogger

But Why?

The philosophical argument about self-will versus determinism has been raging for much longer than our lifetimes. Modern ideas put new twists into this but the idea is the same. It is an argument that I am pretty sure will not be solved in my lifetime. So what to do, and what to say, when bad things happen? What was/is God’s role in such matters?

I have faced this in my own life and in trying to help others. Rape, murder, car accidents and the like are some of examples of bad things that happen. Is this all parts of “God’s plan?”

I want to believe this is not the direct doings of God. In my spiritual world these are things that happen, regardless of what God wants or is able to do for me, or for anyone else.

Self-determinism is what I believe in. I believe God wants the best for me but I am free to choose. I am a drunk. Good for me or not, if I am not vigilant and taking care of myself than I am capable of drinking. And drinking for me leads to very bad things for me and for others. On the other hand my life is pretty darn good when I am sober. This is more what I think God wants for me. So when bad things happen I don’t blame blame God. It is not necessarily his fault or his doing.

For all I know God is doing these things, perhaps for reasons I do not need to be privy to. Yet I am not God so I am not the person to understand everything. I can live with that too. I don’t need to think I know or understand everything anymore.  Drinking and getting sober beat that egotistical malarkey out of me.

Having been sober for a few decades I can deduce and live with philosophical and spiritual perspectives that support my life. I can now see things in a way that allows me to be happy (God is good) instead of bitter (why did God allow xxxx to happen?). In working with others I can share my perspectives and suggest them as useful ways to see and deal with things. I don’t pretend I am right, just that this does work. Yet sometimes there needs to be something more added to all this.

The other day one of my sponsees told me something that I thought was wonderful. It come to him via another AA member who had suffered a loss and was told this by someone else. Rather than wondering why or what God’s role in the thing that you lost was, imagine that God felt the same pain that you did or still do in relation to your loss.

An empathetic God explained in way that is personal and touching.

Happy New Year. 2010. It will be the best year ever.

Our Best Ideas

Will you choose the easier softer way, of try to blaze your own trail?
Will you choose the easier softer way or try to blaze your own trail?

As happens too often, someone that asked me to sponsor them has gone away. Don (as mentioned in this post about sponsorship) decided he needed to try to do find his own way to sobriety. My own sponsor said it best “why do you need to find something else, this works well for a lot of people!”

The thinking and reasoning of this guy was classic. I was almost dumbfounded by what he told me as things were quickly unravelling.

First was Don’s stopping doing some basic things he had told me he would do if I was to sponsor him. I called him out on this stuff and told him he needed to make a decision if he would do those things or not. He said he needed to think about it. Within a few days fired me, saying he did not want to do those things and that he needed to do his own thing.

He explained how he knew some guy in AA that had long term sobriety and worked his “own” program. The steps he didn’t like this guy simply ignored. How well did he know this other guy? Someone else he sort of knew in AA had told him about him. So he was going to go to a meeting this fellow went to and see if he could talk to him.

Great “lets go get drunk idea.” So there are lots of people around that are sober and talk about how the steps brought them sobriety. Out of this, pick one guy that did it differently and say that is what I want to do. What worked for one person, not what is apparently working for a whole bunch of people.

The most crazy thing of all was this one line he told me.

I want to try to find my own way of doing this AA program.

His own way. He called me a few times after he fired me. He was growing increasingly irritable, restless and discontent. Don was also getting more and more scared. At one point he decided he needed to do what I had suggested and said it would be good if I would sponsor him again. That was the next to last day that I heard from him. It has been a few weeks. He is not at meetings. He has not kept in touch. Is he drinking? I hope not but it does not look good.

I am so glad that I once came to the realization that my best ideas were killing me. This was a very important change in my thinking that allowed me to get sober. I was then teachable and open minded. I thought a lot of these AA things would not work but was willing to entertain that I could be wrong. I was. Completely.