Yesterday’s Sponsor Training was inspiring. If you weren’t able to make it, this recap can give you some ideas about your own sponsorship opportunities.
Speaker One: How to Get Someone Started with the Food
Our first speaker focused on step one, and especially on helping a new sponsee define their plan of eating and gain abstinence. Here are three key points that our first speaker made:
- Share what you eat and how you created your food plan
- Everyone gets to develop their own food plan, and our role is to support them as they implement it
- Honesty is the most vital and crucial thing a sponsee needs in step one, and it’s our job to point this out and help them find it.
Speaker Two: How to Guide Someone Through the Steps
Next, our second speaker shared how to guide a sponsee through the steps:
- Share up to the level of your experience with the steps
- Remind them that this is a program of action and that the steps are the program
- Don’t listen to the doubts inside that say “My program isn’t good enough.”
Sponsorship: A Getting-Started Guide
We also passed along a copy of OA’s official sponsoring guide as well as Sponsorship: A Getting-Started Guide. This locally produced collection of Seacoast OA members’ experiences with sponsoring is now available on our Recovery Resources page. Here’s three key ideas from it as well:
- Just do it! Get started right away whether you have doubts or not—it’s worth it!
- It takes courage to ask someone else for help: Tell sponsees what a privilege it is to work with them and that everything they say is confidential
- We’re there to be as helpful as we can, never to judge, chastise, or belittle.
Finally, we wrapped up with a wonderful Q&A that everyone in the room contributed their experience to. Here are a few questions, answers, and comments you may find helpful:
Q: How do we best help someone who is slipping?
A: Be gentle, we OAs are filled with enough shame. Tell them that hope is far from lost, and perhaps try offering this OA nugget, “simply resume.” It’s important to also help them trace the root cause of the slip so they can see the warning signs next time. For chronic slips, you might also try working with them on OA’s “Been Slipping and Sliding” worksheet or its “Strong Abstinence Checklist.”
Q: What do I do when a sponsee is constantly making excuses?
A: Remind them that this is a deadly malady that requires us to work hard for the solution. But we must remember that the motivation must come from within a sponsee, not from us. We are there to pass along our experience, not to enforce our suggestions, and everyone arrives at recovery in their own time.
Q: Do we continue to sponsor someone after they have completed the twelve steps?
A: Even when we have worked through all twelve steps, we remain chronically ill people who need the help and support of others. If we are “full” perhaps this sponsee will now require less intensive work, opening some time for you to work with others.
Everyone in the room had three things we seemed to all agree on:
- We will not be perfect sponsors
- Another’s inability to recover is not our fault, and another’s success is not ours to claim but God’s
- We cannot play therapist, nutritionist, or doctor to a sponsee—it’s not good for them or us!
If you couldn’t make it, we missed you. We’ll be doing this again in the fall, and we hope to see you then, and hear your experiences, too!