Saturday, 4 April 2015
Defects and corrective measures in sponsorship
Chapters 7–9 of the Big Book offer lots of suggestions about what not to do. Some are overtly related to sponsorship. Most are not. All can have a habit of cropping up in sponsorship, which can be a petri dish for defects, both for sponsor and sponsee. Here are some groupings of such defects, followed by corrective measures specific to sponsoring others.
Standing in judgment (135:2)
Instead of talking about what they are doing wrong, tell a story about what you have done wrong and what you did about it.
Forcing yourself on people (90:4)
Putting pressure on people (91:2)
Crowding people (113:2)
Offer what you have to offer, and let it go at that.
Pleading hysterically (90:4)
Do not repeat yourself unless asked.
Being over-anxious (91:0)
Remember they are in God's hands, not yours and that God is available to them if they want Him.
Reminding others of spiritual deficiency (120:2)
Talk in terms of what works and what doesn't work, not right and wrong.
Taking offence (94:1)
Having fixed ideas about others' attitudes towards you (122:1)
If they do not want what you have, do not take it personally; do not take even your own defects personally.
Being contradictory (94:2)
Fighting anything or anyone (103:3)
Resentful or critical disagreement (117:3)
State your position, but not in contradistinction to theirs. Let it go at that.
Wearing out your welcome (95:1)
By and large respond only to direct questions.
Exhibiting passion for crusade or reform (95:1)
Make it clear you're sharing because it is your role: have no personal agenda.
Talking down from a spiritual hilltop (95:1)
Make clear where you came from and how AA has helped you: the merit is not yours.
Being a killjoy (111:2)
Dampening enthusiasm (119:1)
Avoiding responsibilities (97:1)
Promptly return phone calls and respond to other attempts to contact you; prioritise offering face-to-face meetings ahead of other activities.
Depending on people ahead of God (98:1)
Ask God's guidance continually when interacting with sponsees.
Participating in the quarrels of others (100:2)
Taking sides in arguments (115:3)
Do not take their side in arguments or side against them.
Thinking of what you can get out of a situation (102:0)
Drop your own plans for their recovery.
Expecting too much (118:2)
Remember they're not very well, and will get sober and well on God's schedule, not yours.
Interest in having your wishes respected (122:1)
Demanding that others concede (122:1)
Do not attempt to ram home suggestions that are unwelcome.
Urging attention for yourself (119:1)
If they do not contact you, do not run after them.
Playing the lead (122:2)
Arranging the show to your liking (122:2)
Arranging others' lives (120:3)
Guiding the appointments or affairs of others (120:3)
Don't give advice; share experience and make suggestions based on that experience.
Wrapping others in cotton wool (122:1)
Placing others on a pedestal (122:1)
Don't withhold useful truth just because they may not like it.
Measuring life against that of other years (123:1)
Do not compare sponsees with each other.
Digging up past misdeeds (124:3)
Do not use past misdeeds to punish or manipulate.
Making careless or inconsiderate remarks (125:2)
Be kind at all times.
Placing money first (127:1)
Do not resent the time sponsorship takes away from earning time.
Take the knocks of sponsorship as they come.
When they disagree with you, let it go. If they don't like what you say, arguing won't help.
Be impartial and detached.
Pettiness ('making a burning issue out of ...') (135:2)
Ask yourself: 'how important is it?'