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Post Info TOPIC: Where does it say anything in the big book that you "absolutely must have a sponsor"?


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Where does it say anything in the big book that you "absolutely must have a sponsor"?
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Or anything about sponsors at all for that matter? In fact there seems to be many things that have been added to the program that the original founders didn't feel necessary for them to recovery from alcoholism. And it seems these new additions have just become accepted as AA fact, as in that's the way it's always been. I think im going to approach the program in the following way: "Is it in the big book? No? Then please keep your silly bumper sticker slogans and personal interpretation to yourself thank you very much.". In my humble opinion there are too many AA folksxwho think they have all the answers. Who think they're understanding of the program is the end all be all. They're pushy and bossy to newcomers. They shove unsolicited, often unhelpful advice down people's throats. Their egos are out of control and they think they're infallible experts on alcoholism and recovery. It's my "program" and I think I'll do things the way those who founded it intended. 



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Phew, glad I got my daily rant out of the way. Now I can get on with my day :)

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It doesn't mention the word sponsor once in the original text of the Big Book. They talk about carrying the message and helping those that still suffer quite a bit. Dr. Bob...Co founder...Took over 5000 people through the steps....I guess you could call him one of the original sponsors...Bill W...Called his friend Ebby...The one that explained to him the solution at his kitchen table in Bill's story...His sponsor till his death.
I look at it like this butterfinger. If I wanted to learn to fly a plane and they handed me a book of directions...And they said...You can do this on your own...Or if you want...There are plenty of people that have done it that would love to show you how...Out of the kindness of their hearts..Take your pick. I think I'd grab myself a pilot. Whatever you do...Have a great flight!



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MIP Old Timer

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There is a wonderful book written about Bill W. and Father Edward Dowling. It's called the "Soul of sponsorship."

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Rants are appreciated.  and thanks for giving me a thinker!!



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The way I understand it, back in the day when AA was new and pretty much a "secret club" members would go to hospitals and talk to alcoholics about the program and then one would "sponsor" them into the rooms and help him/her through the steps. Like most things, its gotten distorted over the years (just my humble opinion) Personally, I don't feel the need to have a sponsor that I have to call every day to make little decisions for me. However, I do want (need?) someone with good sobriety that can help me through the steps and offer suggestions (not rules) to enhance my sobriety. Again, just my humble opinion.
Peace

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That's exactly how it is for me memasue...Welcome to MIP by the way. Glad you are here. I needed someone to take me through the steps...I guess it was more like someone to make sure I was doing it right...I couldn't afford to fail it this. I called him everyday for my first 90 days...Because he told me to. I call him maybe once a month now...Just to say hello...Or I see him at a meeting or have lunch with him now and then. He's a friend. I don't need a life coach...I needed someone to call me on my bullshit....As they say in the book....We alcoholics are undisciplined. He gave me suggestions also...Not rules....But I took them as rules... every one of them.

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Thanks for the welcome Stepchild. Yeah, I most definitely need someone to call me on my "bullshit",lol, and lots of discipline! I'm trying to have a different attitude this time around, I feel like its do or die. And I keep relapsing so you think there's something wrong with me doing it my way? Duh! Its good to be here,,, Peace


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memasue wrote:

I feel like its do or die.


 That sure had something to do with my atitude.



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I feel like more people object to sponsors because they are bullheaded, can't follow directions and have egos going out of control. If you think that people are directive and pushy to newcomers now, you should have seen things in the years just following the big book because they would tell you to shut up and not share because you don't know how to get sober and need to listen to people who do. That is generally what AA is founded on. Newcomers listening and taking suggestion from people who do know having used the big book and such.

It's easy to say "it's my program!" but when you have a few months sobriety, what program is that? Yeah, I like a good rant sometimes too, but not when it's used to cosign your own BS about carrying on with "trust problems", defiance, not being open minded, not being willing - which are ALL FAR MORE common and pervasive dysfunctional alcoholic patterns than feeling or even being bossed around.

Call your sponsor and do what they say. Your busted thinker got you into this mess. Furthermore, slacking off and calling your sponsor 1 x a month is also bad practice and I don't care if you worked the steps already or not. It's about a lifestyle and psychic change. If you worked the steps right you would remain accountable. and not snatch your will back and stop calling (maybe daily is not necessary but monthly?? Not enough).

Remember, we are a batch of folks that are pros at making up our own BS and buying it. EVERY time I think I get a great idea, I usually need to run it by my sponsor cuz what do I know? I'm also open to you guys all telling me my response to this is BS, but I'm not gonna argue cuz I love you guys and know this is just what we do - we love each other and argue about BS sometimes while helping each other stay sober LOL.

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Wow Pinkchip, you gave me a lot to think about there,,,,,,,,, thanks,,,,,,,,,,

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Butterfinger wrote:

Or anything about sponsors at all for that matter? In fact there seems to be many things that have been added to the program that the original founders didn't feel necessary for them to recovery from alcoholism. And it seems these new additions have just become accepted as AA fact, as in that's the way it's always been. I think im going to approach the program in the following way: "Is it in the big book? No? Then please keep your silly bumper sticker slogans and personal interpretation to yourself thank you very much.". In my humble opinion there are too many AA folksxwho think they have all the answers. Who think they're understanding of the program is the end all be all. They're pushy and bossy to newcomers. They shove unsolicited, often unhelpful advice down people's throats. Their egos are out of control and they think they're infallible experts on alcoholism and recovery. It's my "program" and I think I'll do things the way those who founded it intended. 


 The book doesn't come out and say anything on 'sponsorship' directly ... but as you read of how AA came about and how it works, it's basically one alcoholic helping another to get and stay sober ... what better term for this than 'sponsorship' ??? ... A sponsor is merely a 'guide' ... someone with the very same malady that has learned to successfully live in recovery ...

Who is better able to assist the new-comer ??? ... ... ... To me?" ... 'Sponsorship' is simply 'common sense' here ... I have seen those who come to meetings all the time and don't have a sponsor ... some rack up some sobriety, but mostly they have a poor foundation for their sobriety and many fail in the end ... and I thought, wow, I want the best chance I can get for sobriety, ergo, I got a sponsor ... this kind of 'one-on-one' contact, and relationship, is invaluable ... 

Oh, and welcome to MIP memasue ... 



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"Life offers no guarantees ... just choices; no certainty ... but consequences; no predictable outcomes ... just the privilege of pursuit."    -Tim Conner



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pinkchip wrote:


 Call your sponsor and do what they say. Your busted thinker got you into this mess. Furthermore, slacking off and calling your sponsor 1 x a month is also bad practice and I don't care if you worked the steps already or not. It's about a lifestyle and psychic change. If you worked the steps right you would remain accountable. and not snatch your will back and stop calling (maybe daily is not necessary but monthly?? Not enough).


I have to disagree with you here PC....No human power keeps me sober. My relationship with my sponsor is fine....He did his job....Now I have to do mine. Be there for someone that wants guidance working the steps. It's like when I hear people say...I have to go to a meeting everyday to remain sober....It makes me cringe. My solution is having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of those steps....And remaining in fit spritual condition...By practicing those principles in all my affairs....I know I don't see anything in those directions about how often I should call my sponsor...If there was such a need I'm sure it would have been included. I'm picturing Dr. Bob fielding 5000 phone calls a day....Didn't happen.



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All I can give is my actual experience.  When I came into AA, it was MY Program.  I was going to do it MY way.  I learned this is the EGO I brought it.  Running on Self Will, Defiance, Independence and Prejudiced.  I was closed minded, not teachable and somehow thought I was different than everyone else(Unique).  This in essence is the selfish and self centered behavoir that define me as an Alcoholic.  I also questioned the suggestions offered and always needed to know WHY?  I picked and chose the one's I thought I liked.  confuse  Bottomline, there was no recovery and no long term sobriety.  Half measures availed me nothing.  Huh, once again MY plan didn't work.

Because of Pain- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual- I hit a cross road.  Was it going to be MY Program or The Program.  I liked what I saw in others.  So, I choose The Program.  I threw my EGO, theories and prejudices aside and follow directions from those who walked the path before me.  Why choose a different path up the mountain if a well marked trial already exist?  Because, that's what WE do as Alcoholics.  Bottomline, MY Sponsor saved my ASS!  Not only did he bring me up the trial step by step(12 Steps), he taught me about the diesase of Alcoholism that I didn't get in meetings.   He also taught me how to carrying the message to other Alcoholics.  He was there to assist with practicing all The Principles in my daily affairs.  He was there for affirmation and corrections when needed.  He also was there to assist with navigating life events.  Events that he already went through.  Why learn from others(wisdom) when I can fall on my face, get hurt and maybe learn on my own?  Because that's what WE do as Alcoholics.  I still have and talk with MY Sponsor, my guide.  This diesase is subtle, cunning, baffling and powerful.  I want the transmission line open so when new events in my life materialize- I will have someone that knows me well and can help me get through tough times.

Although the BB doesn't mention Sponsorship in the main text of the BB(1939)- it does so in dozens of places in the personal stories included in the various editions of the book.  Sponsorship is also mentioned and suggested in many of the AA approved literature published after the BB was written. 

 



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Thanks Mike B, ... you said what I was trying to come up with ... very well put ...



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Hi Butterfinger...That is completely up to you. It is your program and you have the freedom to choose whatever path you desire.

I had the same thinking as you. I didn't want or feel like I needed a sponsor either. It took me months before I got one because of that thinking. When I did get one it was my choice and not by others giving me well intentioned advice. I was ready. My thinking was still stinking after attending meetings every day for over five months and doing everything else I could think of to try and do it by myself and try to prove that I had a better, easier way to stay sober than all these other folks who were making too big a deal out of something which was a lot easier and less time consuming than what they were making it out to be. I too looked at other AA members telling me "You have to get a sponsor right away, home group right away, work the steps, etc." as being overly controlling, domineering, bossy people who needed to stay out of my business and mind their own. After attending AA meetings as well as reading the posts on this board, reading literature, etc., I have learned that most alcoholics who go out and start drinking again are ones that didn't have a sponsor and didn't work the steps. Some of these people did stop drinking again (some after a short while, some a year or years longer) and came back into AA. They have shared that they got a sponsor, worked the steps and have maintained their sobriety for years. I have also heard stories from people who know other alcoholics who never came back, kept drinking and eventually died from their alcoholism.

I was turned off by the term familiar in AA "Stick with the winners". I never cared for the labels thing where there are "winners" and "losers" and thought it was a bit insensitive to refer to people as "losers" because they couldn't overcome their disease. (Now, I don't know if we ever overcome it, it is a lifetime thing we are pretty much stuck with but learn how to deal with it without letting it kill us). But the expression is profound in the sense when you look at the results of getting a sponsor and working the steps. Maybe you have a different approach and who am I to say it won't work for you. I am convinced that for me that is what I need to do. I now have a sponsor and we are working the steps. I feel relief knowing that I am not alone in this battle and feel comforted from having a caring person, successfully staying sober. That as well as my HP in my life now really has helped me. It hasn't been all that long ago that I told myself "well, if the steps are all that great, I can just work them myself." Again, heard from too many other alcoholics that said they tried to do them on their own, and that didn't work.
I am looking at "winning" this daily battle not to drink and not "losing" the battle by dying as a result of drinking myself to death.

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RE: Where does it say anything in the big book that you
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A newb rant has little value today. Looking back at it a few years from now it will be priceless. Either with laughter at how crazy you were, or a fact finding mission on why you got drunk again. Remaining willing to do what it takes is a good trait to develop. I would say to stay calm and flexible as you can while working the AA steps. Someone to help you on occasion is good. The sponsor thing is a two way street. I have let go a few people for wasting my time. Best of luck and stick with the winners.

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RE: Where does it say anything in the big book that you "absolutely must have a sponsor"?
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Go to the meetings to hear what the oldtimers tell you. (they care about you and are trying to help you)

Keep going to the meetings until everything you heard from the oldtimers makes sense.

Now YOU are an oldtimer and are responsible for the newcomers ... let's see how you are judged in your efforts.

Literally everything about AA and the 12 Steps went against my grain .. I had to learn the wisdom of the program and develop some gratitude for it.

It is well described in HOW IT WORKS. (At some of these we balked, we thought we could find an easier, softer way ... but we could not). It takes a lifetime to fully understand & accept "we could not".

All the best.

Bob R

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It's been my experience that sponsorship in AA has been more about the sponsor than the sponsee. Yes we need each other to stay sober but I don't need to be someone's project nor do I need to make someone mine to "carry the message". I dont believe that the founders of AA would have supported a class system where saying things like "noob rants are worthless" or treating newcomers like know-nothing fools would have been acceptable to them. AA appears to have developed a collective attitude of "tough love" where old timers seem to think treating "noobs" like wayward children is the norm. Want proof? Read the condescending way that some have resoonded in this thread. Tell me something, could you ever imagine Bill W. or Dr. Bob wishing a relapse on someone for questioning them or struggling with some aspect of recovery? They'd be disgusted by the very idea of such a thing.

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Hey dude. Give You the best shot at this better life you deserve. The more ammo you have to fight off ghd enemy the better. No need to take chances anymore and run out against the killer with a squirt gun. You have a machine gun in a sponsor. Use it. Save your own ass!

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I am very new, but my thoughts are this.  I have failed many a tests in school skipping class and missing the lessons from the teacher thinking i'd just read the text book to pass the test.

I really can't afford to fail this test, nor do I just want to JUST be sober.  I want to change my life and how I think for the better, which means I need to go through the steps the right way.  Hopefully I listen good enough to those sharing in meetings and can see the ones who will be able to take me through the steps as they are laid out in the BB.  Hopefully they also had a teacher who did the same and so on.

D



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Tell me something, could you ever imagine Bill W. or Dr. Bob wishing a relapse on someone for questioning them or struggling with some aspect of recovery?

 

The Big Book tells us that Bill & Bob suggested that if you think you still know what is going on and can manage your own affairs to go out and try a year or so of controlled drinking and see how that works.

"AA appears to have developed a collective attitude of "tough love" where old timers seem to think treating "noobs" like wayward children is the norm."

Painting AA with a pretty wide brush there ..... In the 25 yrs I've been around the noobs are treated exactly as required. If you are treated as a wayward child you may want to ask your sponsor why.

You will do yourself a very big favor if you don't make blanket comments like above ... and believe them.

 

All the best.

 

Bob R



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You can choose to think of a sponsor as some kind of AA parole officer who you allow to monitor and direct every aspect of your day to day life. So you abdicate all personal responsibility to someone else, and then get fed up with that situation and end up with no sponsor again.

Or you can choose to think of a sponsor as someone who has worked the 12 steps and, as a result, has experienced the Promises in their life and has achieved some serenity and is living comfortably without feeling the desire to drink, and is willing to help others to do the same. And you ask this person to show you how to do that, and you pay attention to them and you follow their directions about how to work the steps and you get the same results they got.

Or of course you can try to 'work a program' on your own and not get any directions or help with the steps from others who have already done what you are trying to do, but that's kind of like trying to learn to ride a bike by reading a book about bicycles. Up to you.

Sponsorship is mentioned several times in the book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions".



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In one of the 'treatment centers' I went to, they took us out in the woods, blind-folded, and put our hand on a rope ... then they told us we can ask anything we want, but it was up to us to find our way out ...

I was one of the few that found the way out, most did not ...

The 'way out' ... ... ... ask someone for help!!!!! (admitting I could not do this alone, I simply said I need help ... that got me out ... oh, we had to raise our hand if we wanted to ask a question, then an aide came over and whispered so others couldn't hear) ... (what an 'eye-opening' experience)



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Butterfinger wrote:

Or anything about sponsors at all for that matter? In fact there seems to be many things that have been added to the program that the original founders didn't feel necessary for them to recovery from alcoholism. And it seems these new additions have just become accepted as AA fact, as in that's the way it's always been. I think im going to approach the program in the following way: "Is it in the big book? No? Then please keep your silly bumper sticker slogans and personal interpretation to yourself thank you very much.". In my humble opinion there are too many AA folksxwho think they have all the answers. Who think they're understanding of the program is the end all be all. They're pushy and bossy to newcomers. They shove unsolicited, often unhelpful advice down people's throats. Their egos are out of control and they think they're infallible experts on alcoholism and recovery. It's my "program" and I think I'll do things the way those who founded it intended. 




 Tipsy McStagger, is that you  



-- Edited by StPeteDean on Monday 18th of November 2013 04:05:18 PM

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The instructions on sponsorship are in chapter 7, Working With Others. In it you will find plenty of "tough love", in fact it's all the way through the book. The founders realised early on that they did not have the power to get anyone sober or make anyone follow directions.

Hence it is strongly suggested that we work only with those who are willing to follow directions. They state that to push someone or try too hard when they are not ready, can spoil a future opportunity, and to waste time trying to convince someone to sober up is short changeing the person who really wants help. Only the newcomer can decide if they are done or not. If they are not done, let them go and get done, that's what the book tells us.

I agree with your point about a lot of extras on sponsorship that have come in through the fellowship, and are not in the program. I personally don't believe a sponsor has any greater role than taking the newcomer through the steps and helping them get connected to God. If the sponsor is going to solve all their problems for them, what do they need God for? Bill wrote a piece called emotional sobriety in which he reaches the conclusion that dependence on anything human, even AA, ought to be broken at depth. The program is about connecting with the God of your understanding and as we become proficient at steps 10 and 11, we increasingly rely on God for our directions in life. It gradually becomes a working part of the mind.

But we usually need some help to get there and that is what sponsors are for. Another way of looking at it is who stays sober long term. You will often find those that get happily sober (sometimes called the winners) are active in carrying the message and sponsoring newcomers, visiting halfway houses and detoxes. They have largely managed to rid themselves of that crippling selfishness which characterises alcoholics, and they are out there practicing these principles in all their affairs.

I haven't got my BB with me but there is a passage along the lines of "Suppose you are on your second visit. Your prospect (you) has read our book and wants to go through with the program, (that's your part). Having been through the program yourself, you have much practical advice and experience to offer... (the sponsor's part). Simple as that.

God bless,
MikeH.

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Page 96 ...

 

Suppose now you are making your second visit to a man. He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of recovery. Having had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical advice. Let him know you are available if he wishes to make a decision and tell his story, but do not insist upon it if he prefers to consult someone else.



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I think I may have been feeling a little hypersensitive when I posted the statements above. I didn't mean to come off so confrontational. Re-reading it now it seems quite bitchy.

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MIP Old Timer

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Hi Butterfinger,
Hey, you can't have that title, it's already taken.
me, the "Queen of Bitchy"

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MIP Old Timer

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Hi Butterfinger,
The way I see it, your will and your way and your ideas about how things should be done got you into this place. I bristled against people telling me what to do at first, and then I surrendered and just did it, because I wanted what they had. I did what my sponsor told me to do. What's the worst that can happen? It doesn't work?

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RubyTues wrote:

Hi Butterfinger,
The way I see it, your will and your way and your ideas about how things should be done got you into this place. I bristled against people telling me what to do at first, and then I surrendered and just did it, because I wanted what they had. I did what my sponsor told me to do. What's the worst that can happen? It doesn't work?


 Great share/post RubyT ... ... ... loved it ... I can definitely relate ... 



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"Life offers no guarantees ... just choices; no certainty ... but consequences; no predictable outcomes ... just the privilege of pursuit."    -Tim Conner

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