I met with my sponsor on a Saturday. We talked about everything I have on my plate, which is quite a bit. I won’t share everything, as I’m not a big fan of dragging out the details of my personal life, but I will say that we talked about my three sponsees. She told me that I probably needed to get this number down to one. I didn’t argue with her, I never do. Argument is quite lost on her, especially from me. She’s 28 years sober and has, I suspect, heard it all. Besides, she is constantly telling me that I have to have things my way. She’s right, and contention would only lend proof to her hypothesis. Although I didn’t verbalize my resistance to her consideration, I was internally distraught. I am fiercely dedicated to service. I could no more imagine getting rid of two sponsees than the same number of toes; they mean that much to my own recovery. I value her opinion, however, and remembered a wise suggestion I heard early in sobriety: when you can no longer be of service to a sponsee, it is wise to guide them toward another sponsor, if possible. I began to think of each girl and of possible women to suggest for each of them. I was at great odds. We live in a small town with a disproportionately large number of men in AA. A great many of the women in recovery are chronic relapsers or simply not interested in sponsorship, preferring to spend their valuable spare time with family, church, etc.
I knew a few women I was ready to call when I got a call from one of the sponsees. She said she had something to tell me. She had been drinking with impunity. She felt uncomfortable saying she was an alcoholic in meetings. She did not think she was an alcoholic. I have guided this woman all the way through the steps and watched her flourish. She has finished her amends and watched the Promises come true in her life. She told me that she still feels like she has that insane thinking but that alcohol is not the problem. She was crying, saying that she was afraid of what this confession would do to our relationship. My heart was heavy. I told her that it must have been awful to have felt like she had to keep a secret and I asked her when I had ever gotten angry or judged her. She said that I never had, which was true. I then told her that my primary purpose was to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. I told her that I could be her friend, that was all. I told her that I was proud of her for being honest, that it had to have been a great relief to tell me. She said it was. We have spoken a few times since. She was at a low point a couple of days later. I told her that, alcoholism aside, I know I could not have come this far had I not made my relationship with God the primary one. I have had many setbacks along the way, and there will be more, but I advance. Yesterday I got a cheery text message from her. I believe that all will be well.
The same night she made her confession, I got a text message from the second sponsee I was to cut from the roster. We were to meet the next day. I had only just begun sponsorship with her about a month before and it was spotty. She is new to sobriety and to the program. She seems to really want it but on her terms. The text message said that she would not be meeting with me the next day, that she was grateful for everything I had done for her but that she was switching sponsors. She said that she loved me “too much like a sister”. Whether this is true or not is none of my business. I have not heard from her since. It has been four days. I have spoken to my own sister 5 or 6 times in the last year, so that’s about right.
I am amazed at how this turned out. I was up in arms over this situation, and it took care of itself. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not.