Search Words

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Is a Sponsor Really Necessary?

The question of whether one should have 'sponsor' or not is a perennial question.  This recently came up in a discussion, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts.

The idea of having a sponsor came about because in order to get sober, one needs to get the message.  We need to get the message, and at first we get it from the group.  Once we have the basics, then comes the details.  There is a need to go deeper.

This is where a sponsor steps in.  A sponsor is someone who has been through his own set of details, and can thus help the newcomer by sharing his experience and get the newcomer to think according to the principles of the program rather than his old thoughts.

That's it.  No magic.

The problem for us is that we often don't want to open up at all and let others into our thinking.  It is embarrassing.  We often have thoughts that, were they shouted from the rooftops, we'd die of shame.  Rather than having to open up to a group of people, we are given the option of picking one person.

Now, if you can be equally honest and transparent with more than one person, there is nothing wrong with having this type of relationship with two or more people.  In fact, it may be extremely helpful.  The problem for the newly sober is that we are often master manipulators, and will often try to play one 'sponsor' off of the other, or use conflicting information to absolve us from doing what needs to be done.

There may come a time where we don't need a program sponsor, but we can work with a clergyman or spiritual person.  So long as we do not try to self-manage, we will be OK.  But, all of us need to have at least one person in whom we confide out thoughts and seek help in discernment... and ultimately healing.

Good Orderly Direction is not about being led, but about being pointed in the right direction.  We must learn to use our own free wills without relying on the broken thoughts which we once did.  Our minds trick us, and so the sponsor or sponsors or spiritual directors help us from wandering off the path to God.  This 'direction' is like that of a compass rather than a leash.  A sponsor points rather than pulls.

Sometimes, it is good to have more than one compass, especially when they are all pointing in the same direction.  One thing for sure: if we will not listen to one sponsor, we will not listen to any of them.  If you roam from sponsor to sponsor or father-confessor to father-confessor, and all of them seem to 'fail,' then the problem is with us.

No comments:

Post a Comment