THOUGHTS ON SPONSORSHIP
Guess I need to see this written today, so here goes:
One year ago, Anna began to attend a study class each Monday evening, which lasted throughout the whole winter season. (Ha! Winter in Naples FL?) She subsequently became a convert to the religion in which I had been born. So, as you might guess...she's got it (that spiritual "it") whereas I might be designated a slacker of sorts, when it comes to following rules other than our TWELVE STEPS. She goes to daily mass while I'm at the morning meeting(s).
During Anna's sojourn in that class, I became her "sponsor", and we were present each week religiously (appropriate word!). Well, as "sponsor" I wore at these sessions, a clip-on name tag which listed my name and the word SPONSOR in boldly large font.
As an experiment one day a month ago, I wore my "name and sponsor" tag to an AA meeting. A total of four guys asked me to be their sponsor! WOW! I felt like I'd hit that mother lode of gold we read about! (Three of them I never laid eyes on again, and the fourth found "another good man"). Like when fishing--we're always looking for "another good spot."
So at some meetings I hear the chair person ask, "Is anyone willing to be a sponsor?" Usually a spate of hands raise up in the wink of an eyelid..and they recede also quite as fast. And tell me, what beginner receives even a remote opportunity to look through his/her misty eyes (placed in front of a foggy brain), and pick out one of us old sponsor-type folks? Could a beginner even FIND me, who is so full of wit, knowledge, wisdom and charm, with "EASY DOES IT" written all over my smiling face? NO! The whole thing is--I wish to display my saintliness and availability, but I'm afraid to actually make that commitment. That (fearful?) commitment is simply to walk with someone--new or returning--walk them through our program of Alcoholics Anonymous and its Twelve Steps...no strings, no ulterior motives, just a four-letter word: DOIT!
Our textbook, the Big Book "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS", beginning Chapter 7 "WORKING WITH OTHERS", page 89, reads:
"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics."
"Life will take on new meaning."
Our textbook then gives me explicit, word-by-word instructions in the next pages to "..find out all you can about him.....have a good talk with the person most interested in him--usually his wife....do not force, etc., etc."
Of course, when the beginner stays sober, he can benefit greatly by following in the footsteps of his sponsor, in the working of the Steps. The real benefit however, happens for me, the sponsor, in that I climb out of my momentary "self-will" and continue to be willing to grow along spiritual lines, and--bottom line--I STAY SOBER! And may whoever reads this, do the same today, one more day! May God be with you ALL.