From the March 2011 magazine.

March 2011: Who’s your sponsor?

There seem to be as many views on sponsorship as there are views on a Higher Power. And the opinions on these matters run a parallel range of extremes, from warm-and-fuzzy friend to wrathful tyrant. In meetings I have heard people recount with visible glee the fury and condemnation their sponsors hurl at them. “And then he said, ‘You moron! You did that in the Third Step!’” Perhaps this model of sponsorship seeks to duplicate early childhood experiences at the hands of gruff-but-innocuous parents. Other people share stories of selfless sponsors with unparalleled devotion to their sponsees—helping to bury the dog’s ashes; attending birthing classes.

My own sponsors have included one chronic relapser, a sponsor who refused to do anything other than read alternating paragraphs out of the Big Book, a sponsor who seemed most interested in giving me marital advice and a very wise old woman who would just smile knowingly when I would rant, rave and diagnose myself. My sponsees have included people who wanted to move into my garage on a long-term basis, one who fired me after the first session and another who seemed to use text messaging as a form of all-night entertainment. My best sponsees have been the ones who said things that made me think, Oh no, I’m worse off than that, and I’m supposed to be the sponsor! They are the ones who make me launch into action as soon as we hang up the phone or say goodbye.

-- Suzan C.

San Francisco, California

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