A Word About Our Sponsors

Just shared this in an online meeting:

I am glad to see the topic of sponsors today. I went to see my family for the holidays, and there was an issue I wanted to address while I was there.

The specifics don’t matter, but I thought about it and thought about it … and then I thought about it some more.

And I developed a plan, something I was going to say to my dad, a bold action to take to solve a problem I have.

BUT, after years in recovery, I have learned that whenever I think about something that much, and give it that much importance, I need to run it by somebody.

Because I know that it’s MUCH easier to understand a situation when you’re not in the middle of it, with an ego investment in it.

And I also know there are a lot of wise, experienced people in this program. They’re addicts, too, obviously — but so many times they have offered me clarity on something in which I was fogged.

So I took this plan of mine to my sponsor. I wrote out what I wanted to say to Dad and how I thought this (and some action from Dad) would help me solve a problem I had. I emailed it to my sponsor.

And my sponsor, God bless him, wrote back and said “Well, this is easy! Your statement to Dad makes no sense at all. And the problem you have, which is real, has a very simple solution, which can only be done by you, with no help from Dad.

He went on to frame the problem for me, and lay out the solution, which of course I was totally aware of, and had been all along. I was just avoiding it, because of my ego and fear.

But while my sponsor certainly has his own ego and fear, in this situation he had nothing invested in it, and we have enough trust between us that he knows he can give me honest feedback and I can accept it — most of the time!

So it was like I had a messy room, and I developed a three-pronged attack for brining people over to help and making plans for how I wouldn’t mess it up again in the future, and all the storage things I would but to keep things neater, and then I ran it by my sponsor and he said:

Why don’t you just clean up your room?

It was just like that: a perfectly obvious and simple solution, waiting for me to realize it and act on it. Only in my ego and fear, and being an addict, I was avoiding it. For me, that’s what my sponsor is for.

He just cuts through my BS, lovingly and jokingly, and shows me what I need to see. I don’t always act on it (still an addict!) and don’t even always agree, but I always listen and consider it.

So that’s my sponsor story. I think the most important thing I’ve done in this program is learn to talk about my problems, seek feedback from people I trust, and then actually listen ot them without getting defensive. What a gift!

I came here to quit pot, and I’ve gotten so much more. And yet all this other stuff — trust, acceptance, humility, friends, and so on — IS how I quit pot! Amazing.

Thanks for letting me share, and a safe, sober 2008 to everybody!

January 9, 2008

Paul Gerald

I am the author of several books on hiking, camping, eating breakfast and chilling out. I am also a freelance travel writer, publisher, hiker, and inveterate traveler.

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