Some thoughts on sponsorship


By Richard K., San Luis Obispo, CA, SCA



That concept has a lot of different meanings for most of us. When I first got into the program, some 6 years ago, I felt it was vital to sign up with a sponsor. After all, I’m compulsive, and if the program says I should have a sponsor, then I should
one right away! Well, the one I approached was a true jewel, and really helped me over a lot of hurdles.

First off, I compulsively HAD to come up with a sexual recovery plan right away. I ran to show it to him. He took one look at it and said to ease off. I didn’t need to try to recover in a couple of weeks! So I came back the next week with a more realistic plan. He said to try it out for a while to see if it fit–and if it didn’t, try another one. Wow! He didn’t seem like a dictator at all. Somehow, I’d gotten the impression that sponsors ranted, raved, and gave instructions. Now I see that wouldn’t have worked at all.

One of the functions of a sponsor is to keep us on a workable path to recovery. They help ease us into recovery (not to load ourselves down with so many stringent no-no’s that we’d be bound to fail).

I always hesitated to call him on the phone. I knew he was really busy: he had a regular job; his lover was very ill; and, I didn’t “want to bother him too much.” Does that sound familiar? But there were times, being new to the program, I just had to have someone to talk to. I just didn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else. One of our most meaningful, supportive times was when my partner found out just why I joined the program, that I’d been arrested in a tearoom! I just don’t know what I would
have done, if my sponsor hadn’t been available on the phone.

A sponsor is supportive. Not always in such a dramatic fashion as my example here, nor as a crutch, but in many small ways. Most importantly, the sponsor tries to be as non-judgmental as possible with us. And that can be a real chore at times.

After I’d been in the program a few months, I felt my sponsor and I agreed that I was ripe to be a sponsor myself. Well, the first two or three guys who asked me to sponsor them promptly picked up and left the program! Hmm . . . I guess that I just
wasn’t ready yet. What was the lesson here? That I not be so compulsive that I do some damage to others, as well as my own self esteem.

A few months later I moved about 250 miles from my sponsor. At first I would call him occasionally on the phone and see him when I came back to visit. But it wasn’t quite the same or as close as when I lived nearer to him. The obvious thing then was
to find another sponsor where I lived. But I ran into a roadblock. There was only one other gay guy at our local meeting. For whatever reason, we really didn’t connect and I didn’t see him as my sponsor. Maybe there was some bullshitting going on there.
And I didn’t feel comfortable with any of the other members to be a prospective sponsor. I was in a real quandary.

After a year or so, a guy called me out of the blue from a town about 250 miles in the opposite direction. He’d gotten my name from another SCA member. We seemed to hit it off and soon agreed to “cross-sponsor” each other (the taste of my previous sponsees’ demise still bitter in my mouth). It worked out fine. We’ve only met face to face one time. I didn’t obsess about him as I had done with a couple of my other sponsees. We really were a big help to each other. Whatever works, works.

I was talking on the phone to an SCA member in the mid-West recently. I recounted my sponsorship problems. As far as he was concerned, my Food For Thought columns were a very important form of sponsorship for those who read them in The SCAnner. They
really hit the nail on the head for him more than once and were an invaluable help. I have heard that from others over the years, yet I never thought of that as being a sponsor. Perhaps if I follow my own thoughts more closely, I could end up sponsoring myself. Not!

Sponsorship, thus, takes many, many forms. It doesn’t necessarily have to follow any traditional form. I’ve recounted a few instances from my own experience. I’m sure my readers can do the same. The important thing is to keep an open mind towards utilizing anything or anyone in or out of the program which can be of help to our recovery. If whatever happens works for you and helps you to rid yourself of this dis-ease of ours, then go for it! And, spread the word to others, who might be bogged down

It works, if you work it!

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