Through working the steps we find out who we are, many of our behaviors change naturally as we realize they are not appropriate …our character defects become apparent to us and we change. Sometimes, we have to act them out for them to become apparent. Sponsors are not judges, but guides through this process. The evolution is amazing and it is an honor to be a part of that transformation and to witness it can be breathtaking! We take no credit for that transformation, the sponsee does the work and the glory is God's.

I was taught that sponsors are step guides, not mothers, but in my case with my sponsor, not even friends. I went to meetings my sponsor attended when she turned her back to me and didn't even say "hello". (SMALL meetings of maybe 20 people…I was hurt!) Ours was a strictly "professional" relationship. Being a retired teacher she took the process very seriously, exactly as written. it was not deviated from. I had no illusions that she wanted to be my friend…ever. I went through the steps with my her and in a step group. All the I's were dotted, the T's crossed and it was totally by the book! Thank God I didn't get a watered down version or the process, but I also didn't get any hugs. When the steps were formally completed and I went into service, that became the subject of our calls. I felt "graded" on everything I did, every decision I made had to pass her approval or was med with a pondering silence. I began to resent having to call at all.

Today, I need a sponsor I can share the journey with and the joy in the journey. I don't want someone who agrees with me all the time and, of course, I need someone to be accountable to, but I don't need an authoritarian relationship. My old sponsor and I agreed that ours was not a relationship that was to blossom into a friendship. We parted amicably and have great respect for one another. She is helping those new in sobriety and I asked a woman in my home group to be my sponsor.

Usually through the process of recovery,we make friends in the rooms, women we can talk to and trust. The pressure on the sponsor is lessened as we grow and our "hula hoop" expands to let friends in. Not sponsors NOR sponsees, just friends.

There must be a delicate balance…I know people who have had the same sponsor for 20+ years…and still call them evey day. I believe they have become friends over time or this wouldn't be the case.

Someone said they wear AA like a loose cloak, I wear sponsorship like a loose garment. I take it very seriously, but I try not to take myself too seriously. My opinions may not fit another persons path. It is THEIR life path they must discover. Viva la individuality! I am there when needed and when it comes to the steps..I am strictly by the book. I hope that throughout the process I am huggable yet firm when it comes to the work to be done.

Sponsoring is an honor, it is not something to derive personal notariety from or to elevate myself with. It is humbling more than empowering but in it's finest hour, it is both.

I get most frustrated when I see my old self in my sponsees. Especially behavior that brought me pain, I want to save them from my mistakes, but I MUST trust the process…and their facing and walking through that same pain is a part of it. That is the only way they will really learn that it hurts to do that and become willing to change.

I hope to be there to hold the lantern over the book and share my experience strength and hope. On a God day, I have that to share.


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