Slogans & Sayings
"Sponsors carry the message - not the person."
Wow, is this slogan fitting for me! I have such a rough time as a sponsor, and I think this is why. I want to solve things. I want things to work out the way they are supposed to. I try to play God, and that just doesn't work.
When I offer my service as a sponsor I find that my first few contacts are very positive and about the program and I am able to share my experience, strength and hope. Then I try to give advice on how to deal with food. OOPS - that's the problem - advice is NOT what I need to give. It means I am trying to control. I need to simply share what works for me, and share the tools of the program.
Being a sponsor should be no different than working the program - use the steps, the traditions and the tools of OA. Keep it simple, let go and let God. The more that I try to solve or answer the problems for others, the more I am trying to take control and push their Higher Power out of the picture. Over and over I need to remind myself that I am not in charge. I am simply someone who has gotten a great deal of recovery by working the program, one day at a time and I can share what I have learned - share MY story.
Recently I had to send out an amends message to a group of individuals. I had accepted too many people as sponsees and found that I had taken on more than I can do. Again, I see this as a sign that I am trying to take control. To take on more than I can do is lying to myself. Just as I have lied to myself in the past with food, saying that I can 'control' eating certain foods, or saying that having 'one' will not set off a binge, and finding that I was wrong because I am powerless over food.
What I have learned from all my experiences with OA, including accepting sponsees or taking on more responsibility, is that I need to 'talk' to my Higher Power, my God, before I make decisions. My 'knee-jerk' reaction is to say 'yes'. I used to think it was wrong to say 'no' when asked to help, but what I am learning, one painful lesson at a time, is that when I say 'yes' but am not able to carry through on my offer, I can do more damage than good - to others and to myself.
So,the following is not advice, but my experience, strength and hope - to sponsor is an amazingly rewarding experience. I learn so much about myself when I am sharing it with another. I need to share my experience and not give advice. I need to accept that it is OK to say no. I need to keep in constant touch with my Higher Power, my God, and get the guidance to do the next right thing. When I do this, things go so much more smoothly. It is another miracle of this program.
So - if you are ready - be a sponsor - share your story - share your recovery - carry the message, and don't try to carry the person.