Lesson 1 Module 1
Everyone struggling with addiction needs someone that understands and gets them and is further along in recovery than they are. A guide, someone in addition to an addiction certified therapist (a specialist in your addiction is preferred to a generalist). Someone for free that has achieved life without acting in their addiction and can guide you through what you can do to gain the insight and practice of living healthy outside this addiction. The community aspect of 12 step is key as well as the help from a sponsor you must seek out and ask for.
Since getting a sponsor and working the 12 steps is critical to recovery success, I suggest you get outside your comfort zone an ask someone at your 12 step meeting to be your sponsor. It's as simple as asking and finding out if they will be your sponsor.
AA talks about 3 types of sponsors. I think of them like this:
- The I will guide you - I will show you what works and hold you to a high standard (this is the type I am)
- The I will be super patient - I will not ask much of you but be there along the way as you stumble.
- The please ask me - I will only help when you ask me
Since I am a the type that will guide you and hold you to a high standard, I thought I would show you the agreement I make with each new sponsee I work with. There is no one way to work with a sponsor. But it's helpful to see what
Sponsor & Sponsee Agreement
What you (Sponsee) agree to
Agree to the Sobriety definition (includes not acting out sexually with self or others, only with spouse)
Attend 12Step meetings regularly and constantly weekly or more
Check in with sponsor weekly or more (Accountability & surrender)
Maintain Boundary Sheet Shared with Sponsor - this sheet (see below)
Plan to be working the 12 steps weekly if not daily within reason
3 Strikes rule when failing to work the steps. This resets after each time you get back on track.
If you lose your sobriety / relapse
Report it to sponsor, counselor and wife within 24/hrs
Do a relapse analysis form within 48hrs EX relapse analysis form
Communicate what your expectations and goals are.
Communicate what is working and what is not working in the relationship for you.
What I (sponsor) agree to
I will keep the sponsorship eligibility standard, or let you know within 24/hrs if I break it.
I will be available once per week or more to help you work the steps and practice surrendering.
I will offer advice and help guide you on your journey.
I will do my best to offer strength, hope, empathy, encouragement and accountability.
I will communicate what is working and what is not working in the relationship for me.
Sponsorship eligibility standard paraphrased:
6 months of sobriety or more
Worked step 1 - 3 and actively working steps 4 - 12
Attend 12step meetings weekly
Have a sponsor and work the steps together
- Source: PG 276 in the SAL Recovering Individuals, Healing Families (Teal book)
How to break the sponsor relationship
Breaking of this agreement is grounds for breaking the sponsor relationship, although either side can ask to separate at any time. And it’s normal to try things for 1 month and see if we are a good fit or not.
Are you willing to agree to all of this arrangement?
______________________________ (sign here)
Assuming you agree, I can’t wait to help you follow the path that has been proven by countless people over many years. It’s working for me and it will work for you to heal from this addiction, if you follow the path.
“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” - Source Chapter 5, Big Book of A.A. (Blue Book)
Also note: some 12 Step communities have altered AA's advice. For instance AA recommends a sponsor have a 1 year or more sobriety.
AA Guide to Sponsorship - Link
SAL sobriety definition
“Sexual sobriety means having no form of sex with self; not pursuing actions of lust, such as using pornography; and having no form of sex with anyone other than the spouse*. Our goal is to live in recovery, to practice “positive sobriety,” and to choose to actively surrender lust in all its forms to the God of our understanding.”
*The term "spouse" refers to one's partner in a marriage between a man and a woman.
From men's meeting script - Link