Home Sponsoring Lesson for a Simple Approach

Lesson for a Simple Approach

7 min read
0

I am currently three and a half years abstinent and working Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve to the best of my ability, one day at a time. During a recent morning call with a sponsee, I was listening to a Step Ten resentment she’d written about. When she got to the part of identifying her character defects and shortcomings in this situation, she listed more than seven things. My immediate thought was, “Wow. That sounds complicated and cumbersome, especially when I’m doing an in-the-moment Step Ten for an unsettling situation.” I asked her to summarize her list of defects into a few words or a phrase that would easily remind her of what shortcomings were arising for her in that moment because “When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 84).

The conversation got me thinking: if this was the result of her working the program the way I’d passed it on, then what had I done to complicate matters? It dawned on me a few days later, while I was listening to a speaker sharing on Step Five. In relation to resentments, Alcoholics Anonymous asks, “Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and frightened?” (p. 67)—four primary shortcomings. This was my sponsor’s direction when I did my Step Five, and it worked! When I listened to my sponsee’s Fifth Step, I had deviated from this simple approach.

I know now that fears were driving my actions—fears of not being a good enough sponsor and that my sponsee would find this out. These fears, as I’ve been reminded by my sponsor, are self-centered and dishonest: I am abstinent, working the Step I am on today, and I have experience working Step Five, and that is all the qualification I need. I also lacked trust in the process—despite evidence to the contrary! When fears arise, my temptation is to exert control and figure stuff out intellectually as opposed to praying for direction and relying on my Higher Power.

Thank goodness Steps Ten and Eleven got me to see this, discuss it with my sponsor, and make amends with my sponsees. This was my letter of apology:

Dear sponsee,

I have an apology to make to you. When we met to do your Step Five, I deviated from how my sponsor conducted Step Five with me by using a piece of non-OA approved literature that suggested a list of more than twenty character defects to identify shortcomings. Since this was not my experience in identifying my shortcomings during Step Five, I do not know if it was a useful tool for you or whether it complicated matters. I apologise for giving the false impression that outside literature was required in order to complete Step Five and for not keeping the conversation simple and to my experience.

To clarify, my experience was that it is enough to do Step Five with:

  • a sponsor and a sponsee;
  • the directions in the AA Twelve and Twelve and Alcoholics Anonymous, which identifies relevant character defects as selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and frightened; and
  • trusting inspiration from our respective Higher Powers to help us identify variations of those four primary defects in language that makes sense to me.

I also apologize that it has taken me all these months to see the error in my behavior, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have now to clarify how I worked Step Five. My amends to you is to help you work a simple Step Ten using the directions in Alcoholics Anonymous.

This experience has reminded me that I need my Higher Power each moment to help me navigate through life, especially in the face of fear. I pray that God will help me keep my sharing to my experience of working the program and help me see sooner when I am tempted to deviate.

At my sponsor’s suggestion, I am submitting these lessons to Lifeline. I give thanks to those who contribute their experience of recovery to this valuable resource and wish you all a sane and abstinent day.

— Anonymous

  • Image by Pauline G., Waterville, Ohio USA

    Good Questions

    Here is a simple question that has helped me numerous times: how important is it? Asking m…
  • Modified Study Guide

    I wanted to share with the Fellowship how much I appreciate the Twelve Step Workshop and S…
  • Literature Prices and Postage

    I’m a member of a virtual group, and neither my current hometown nor the place I’m plannin…
Load More Related Articles
  • Image by Pauline G., Waterville, Ohio USA

    Good Questions

    Here is a simple question that has helped me numerous times: how important is it? Asking m…
  • Modified Study Guide

    I wanted to share with the Fellowship how much I appreciate the Twelve Step Workshop and S…
  • Literature Prices and Postage

    I’m a member of a virtual group, and neither my current hometown nor the place I’m plannin…
Load More By kmcguire@oa.org
  • Modified Study Guide

    I wanted to share with the Fellowship how much I appreciate the Twelve Step Workshop and S…
  • So Much Better

    Nearly every day, I fill out a Tenth Step form. This was something my sponsor gave me a fe…
  • A Possible and Promising Step

    I dreaded the Ninth Step more than any of the others, even the Fourth and Fifth Steps. I’v…
Load More In Sponsoring
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Good Questions

Here is a simple question that has helped me numerous times: how important is it? Asking m…