A Sponsor's Direction
For the first few years of being in fellowship, I was working the 12-step program my way. In fact, I was working it "on my own" way, and it didn't work. I heard the suggestion to get a sponsor, so I did that, several times over, but never bothered to talk to them. They were quite confused and no doubt frustrated with my behavior, but all seemed to have a program of their own which they continued to work and detached from me with love.
Finally I had reached a point of rock bottom in all ways: emotionally, spiritually and physically. After four of the most painful years of my existence, having one foot in fellowship and the other pointing outward, I reached out my hand to a woman who seemingly had what I was desperate for - love, gratitude and joy of fellowship....and God. I had no understanding of what it was that she was offering, I just knew beyond doubt that it was far better than what I had. Moreover, all I had at that point was me. Left on my own, I was riddled with disease and no hope. It is an awful place for an addict and often leads to only two choices: death or life. Thank God (who was continuing to do for me what I could not), I chose life.
The fear of being alone had driven me further and further into my disease. It was through my sponsor's strong direction and example that I saw I was not alone, and that I didn't have to be at any point of any twenty-four hours. I admitted to her that I was willing to go to any length to recover, and she would often remind me of this commitment when I baulked at some of her direction, considering it to be simply madness, e.g., making my flat-mate a cup of tea when I had a resentment toward her that choked me! How on earth would action that went against any solution I had previously known, help me AND her? But do it I did. Three years later, and after many voluntary cups of teas made, my flat-mate and I parted company with a love and friendship that remains unbroken today.
My sponsor has also guided me on how to sponsor others. The gift she brought me has broken through, again and again, the baffling symptoms of fear, isolation and self that my disease exhibits. I ran to her the first instance that someone asked me to sponsor them with the question "How can I do this?" Her loving response came back "I will sponsor you into sponsoring someone else, you are not alone." Again I saw and felt how this wonderful tool of program works against the clutches of our debilitating illness. Working with others is taking Step 1 and Step 12 and rolling them into our own "experience, strength and hope;" "We admitted", and "carrying the message to those who still suffer", comes through my own experience of recovery. I do not have to know everything that is asked of me, neither do I have to be there when I am unable to. God is the power that will be all of these things to anyone I sponsor, and for myself.
Today I understand the role of a sponsor to be in it's purest form, to take another through the steps as I was shown, and to introduce them to a power greater than themselves - as it was done for me by way of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sponsorship is a tool passed down through the ages that originated so long ago in the kitchen of Bill W, as he sat listening to his old drinking buddy, Ebby. Ebby spoke convincingly of his experience of getting sober and finding his own God. Bill, after some time and further fact-finding missions of drinking binges, did what Ebby had so freely done for him - he carried the message of recovery to a suffering alcoholic, this time to Dr Bob. Here we stand today doing what has worked for millions of addicts, sharing how we got abstinent, one day at a time, through the 12 steps on our walls and the God of our own understanding in our hearts.
May the blessings and joy of our beautiful fellowship be yours today through giving and receiving sponsorship. It works if we work it, and work it we must or else we die alone.