Home Gratitude From “Brattitude” to Gratitude

From “Brattitude” to Gratitude

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Gratitude—I am filled with gratitude for the two sponsors I’ve had in OA over the last twenty years.

The first one got me going and supported me as I learned to work the program and use the Tools. We prayed together, wrote in journals, and worked through the first Eight Steps. We didn’t have the same religion or even the same food plan, but we were both “brats,” so she got me. We laughed a lot. Sometimes she’d warn me that she was glad we were on the phone because if we were doing the work in person, I would throw a shoe at her.

At first, when I wouldn’t make phone calls, she had a sixth sense and would call me right when I really needed to talk. When she asked if she could pray for me, I was uncomfortable, but I let her do it. Now, I often use the same prayer form she used, and I offer to pray with my sponsees if they’d like. When I wouldn’t journal on my own, she’d have me do it while she was on the phone; she’d wait patiently, then encourage me to read it to her.

I am forever grateful for this sponsor. She supported me through two different food plans, a 20-pound (9 kg) weight loss, a major career change, and a marriage at age 50.

When I found my way to a journaling meeting close by, I found another sponsor, one who focused on being “happy, joyous, and free” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 133). With her encouragement, I decided to become friends with more people in program. She and I both had longtime disabilities and several other things in common; we co-sponsored each other for twenty years. Recently she was killed at the age of 78. She was the one I could be a crybaby with; I was the same for her. We both supported many people inside and outside OA, and we always started our conversations with the Serenity Prayer.

After she died, I discovered that she’d had several sponsees and been a prayer chaplain at her church. She was deeply spiritual and lived her faith, always sharing ongoing insights and inspiration from program literature. Even when she’d had all those others relying on her, I’d always felt I had her complete attention.

With both of these sponsors, I had the most intimate relationships of my life. They helped me through life and program difficulties, and with their help, I learned kindness toward myself and how to separate my worth from the disease of compulsive eating by using the Steps, Tools, and Serenity Prayer. Mostly, I felt totally loved and accepted by them—disease, character defects, and all.

Now I am starting with a new sponsor whom I’ve known through meetings but not closely. Over the years, I have seen both her tenacity to keep coming back and her physical recovery—and that is what I want and need.

I did have one or two other sponsors along the way who didn’t work out for me, so I’m also grateful we can “hire” and “fire” sponsors at will. My heart is full of love and gratitude for sponsorship, my own sponsors, and for our program that emphasizes we cannot do this alone.

— Anonymous

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