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All of This Is Okay

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I’m afraid I’ll do it wrong. I’m afraid my sponsees will find out I’m a fraud. What if they don’t like me, won’t do what I tell them, or don’t become abstinent? What if I have to dedicate all my free time to them? What if they contact me constantly and I can’t say no? What if they ask questions I can’t answer or see that I’m not carrying the message perfectly? What if my experience is not enough—what if it’s boring or irrelevant or scary? What if I traumatize and ruin my sponsees?

Stepping out to sponsor in faith is putting my newly minted Steps diploma to use. Everything I’ve learned is not meant to wither and die in a desk drawer, so I’m going to make my Steps real by sponsoring and putting them to work. I can’t sponsor by myself, but with God I can, so I am letting God do it through me.

I now have two sponsees, which I feel is enough since I want to give them all I can, including prayers, love, literature, and shared experience. I’ve been sponsoring through online writing only, something I made clear ahead of time. (I, too, am sponsored online, by a wise and warm woman who manages to put her caring and experience across in type.)

I ask for HP’s guidance and help before, during, and after I write to my sponsees. I must not identify too closely with them or become too invested in their successes or failure. I also must not miss clues about deeper issues that need professional attention. I may risk boring, alienating, or scaring them by showing how vulnerable and human I am. They may even leave, condemning me in their shares from now to eternity. Still, I know HP wants me to do this. HP has connected me with these individuals for a reason. Every day, sponsoring forces me to reach out to HP as I reach out to my sponsees. I am not here to be their boss but to reflect HP’s love for them and share what helped me on my journey through the Steps.

For me, the Steps resemble those big flat rocks in a garden, “stepping stones.” They make a path that sometimes winds through flowers and ends up at a back door. They have spaces between them so I can jump from one to another. What I’m doing as a sponsor is following the path made by all who work the Steps: my sponsor, others I read about, those who share in daily meetings, and my sponsees, who jump along behind me and beside me and often jump ahead as we live our lives, their hands in mine.

Is there one answer to all those What If questions? Oh, yes, a simple one: All of this is okay. HP wants me to do this, and HP is there beside me all the way.

— Rose D., Ontario, Canada

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