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Hi all,

I'm in Al-anon, but posting here seemed to make the most sense since the 12 step approach is predominantly substance-abuse related.  Not entirely, but it seemed more likely that I could get a response. 

So...I gave Al-Anon five months to see if it would stick.  I think it's going to, so I figured I may as well talk to someone about sponsorship.  The problem I faced is that there were two people who I could ask who would be a good match for different reasons.  I ended up asking one person, but that obviously meant that I didn't ask the other.  The other is someone who I'd had two personal conversations with and who had shared some pretty personal information.  It was really helpful--not inappropriate at all because it's not like therapy.  She's given a lot of support.  But the other person resonated more with me story-wise and higher power-wise. 

What I'm trying to figure out is whether/how to say something to the person who had shared the information with me?  I'm worried that she may feel rejected (codependent much) because she knew I was around the time of looking for a sponsor.  I don't want that to happen.  And I want to be able to continue to have her as a program-related friend. 

Anyone have suggestions?  Relationships are still a piece of work for me and an area where I'm stumbling around.

thanks,

dances

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Hi Dances,

My experiences are with AA, not Al-Anon, but to me, sponsors are like mentors.  It is ok to have other friend relationships within the group, since the sponsor is more like a  teacher.  

I don't expect a person would feel rejected by not being asked to sponsor, and it's not something you have to talk to them about.  If they ask if you need a sponsor, you can just say you already have one, and that should be acceptable.  If the person is offended, then they need to do a lot more work on themselves in the group before they are ready to sponsor others.  A sponsor should be someone who has worked through the program with their own sponsor and has enough insight to objectively give guidance to someone else, without their own issues getting in the way.

And remember Al-Anon is there to help you learn to take care of yourself rather than trying to take care of everyone else.  By choosing the person that has the best insight for your specific story and higher power needs, you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing!

I hope it goes well, I know it's hard to stop worrying about the other person, but if they are following their program, they will be fine and you can continue being friends and sharing conversations.

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Working the steps will help you work out situations like this.  I agree that the person shouldn't be offended if you don't choose her as your sponsor.  If she does, that's not your problem (this is where the steps come in for you).  While we only need one sponsor, we can have an unlimited amount of friends, supporters, and accountability partners.  Accountability partners are just one step down from a sponsor.  She would have responsibility, just not as much as a sponsor.  Ask her if she would be an accountability partner for you.

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In AA, I asked many people to be s sponsor and they all refused because it was too much work and responsibility to take on. So I’m not sure if everyone would really want to be asked, despite it seeming like an honor to be chosen to others. Mostly I agree that someone shouldn’t take offense at not being asked and should and probably wouldn’t. I think it’s good you found people you can talk to. Sounds like you made a good sponsor choice, too. I hope it all continues to work for you. I know 12 step programs were great for me—and I was in a few. 

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thank you both.  it helps to hear different perspectives. i haven't heard of accountability partners!  interesting.  

I occasionally have doubt when I hear the other person say things that are really helpful, but I don't really need to have doubt because there's nothing against both of them being helpful.  Both were listed as willing to sponsor, so I think either in theory could have been an option. 

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Don’t complicate things to much. I spent way to much time being special, unique and different. Finally asked asked a man that had a story similar to mine. Told him some of my unique problems. (Lol) He said oh yeah we are all pretty much alike when we get here. He gave me good ongoing suggestions for yrs. After we would talk Charley would say now go ask a few others you trust, they will tell you the same thing differently. Take what you want leave the rest. 

I try to pass that on now, Charley’s has passed. No ego, no ownership or judgement. He would say “you know the right thing to do”  I became so appreciative and thankful of all I felt he did for me. He would tell me “ you’re the one accountable for your sobriety or drunkenness” not me! He was just sharing his experience, strength and hope. I asked what I could ever do to repay him. It was,  just help another alcoholic.    

I don’t view sponsorship as being exclusive. ( it takes a village). Like Charley I want to see people in recovery use whatever resources available to them. I learn from others everyday. Sometimes what I want, some times what I don’t want.                           Everyone’s recovery will be different. Enjoy the ride.

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Thanks for the input.  It seems to have worked out okay.  I’ve met with my sponsor three times so far for coffee outside of meetings to discuss specifics and I’ve seen the other woman at meetings.  The hard part is my shaky relationship with the twelve step portion of the picture.  I wish there was an al-anon-esque program that didn’t require twelve steps, even though I’ve been told that it’s okay to sit at step one for some time.

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I see you’re on the east coast, I’m from Kansas. If I wanted to go somewhere on the east coast I could fly or drive a fairly direct way BUT I could also get there by way of Utah,Texas or both. Which one is the wrong way or, are there many ways.  

I finally got sober but it was not the faster or easier way. I was  fortunate to be able to use my knowledge of AA as a solid basis.  If you are sober and happy who can say you did it the wrong way. Every sober alcoholic I know  became sober somewhat differently. Some use the 12 steps more than others, some believe in God some don’t.  Of course there were things I would do differently if I had the ability looking back. I believe it took everything I did wrong to get me to where I am today. The important part is getting there and hopefully  Learning from others on the way .

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Thanks for your kindness.  I’m sorry it was so rough, but I’m glad that your path to sobriety worked out for you.

im actually dealing with al-anon which may (possibly?) be a slightly different beast.  Im learning tons from a few people who are dully AA/Al-Anon.  So maybe not.  But I’m learning how to deal with my parents (who are potentially alcoholics—it’s not really a call for me to make) and Al-Anon has been the best way for me to get there.  But those steps still serve as a hindrance.  I’ve got the universe as my higher power because that’s what I was comfortable committing to.  

maybe i just need more time with the steps concept.  It’s only been a year.  Or maybe I’ll find a different route.

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