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Sponsorship Lift

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Before I joined OA in July 1992, I had never heard of the Twelve Steps or the Twelve Traditions or other fellowships. I knew literally nothing about OA. But I walked into the rooms over twenty-seven years ago, and I stayed. I’ve stayed the entire time despite an imperfect abstinence, a brief relapse, and a difficult time finding the right sponsor.

In fact, it took me until March 1998, when I met my seventh sponsor, to settle down. In many ways, we’re like mirror images of one another: we often experience things in an identical way and have something to share that the other can relate to. Initially, we used the label of “co-sponsors” for our relationship, but I recently decided to let go of that and now refer to her as my sponsor.

She’s a wonderful human being, and with her professional skills, she has the ability to help me reframe my thoughts. I’m being treated for a number of illnesses including bipolar syndrome, and I rely on her to help me organize my thinking when I get scattered.

I love the sponsorship Tool of Recovery—both as a sponsee and as a sponsor. This is how I work Step Twelve, which maybe explains why I’ve taken eighty-some members through the Steps. They’ve included people from intergroups throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, some of them working OA 90-Day, some working OA HOW—and one man.

He was in relapse and didn’t know how to get abstinent again. He had plans to go home to San Diego and spend time with his girls. I felt he needed some abstinence before he got on the plane, so I took him through the first three Steps.

When I saw him again in 2007, I was amazed at the change. He was thriving and wore a huge smile on his face. Out of relapse, in 2002, he had been able to carry the message to another guy in relapse who had just relocated to San Jose. That second man celebrated fifteen years of abstinence in 2017 and is doing incredible service for our intergroup.

You never know how sponsorship, abstinence, and service will act as a boomerang, carrying the message of recovery right back to you.

— Shirley S., Sunnyvale, California USA

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