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Thank-You Notes

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My sponsor had me start sponsoring at thirty-days abstinent. I was working Step Three by that point, so I could help newcomers getting started on Step One. My sponsor gave me ten minutes every morning for my first three years of abstinence. Now, I carry on that pattern, offering a daily ten-minute slot to someone newly abstinent and starting on Step One, and I continue daily contact with them for up to three years. Often, those I sponsor start calling less often when they get about three years of abstinence. They are busy themselves giving more time in the mornings to sponsoring others.

I’ve always set aside an hour each morning for six sponsee calls. Of course, if someone who wants a sponsor hasn’t had anyone agree to help them, I will open a seventh slot for them for a week or two until they find someone else. My first sponsor’s advice was to never let anyone leave a meeting without a sponsor. That would be like saying, “We know you can’t do it on your own, but good luck trying; I’m too busy to help.”

What are the benefits of sponsoring? Staying abstinent myself is the most obvious. Also, it’s amazing to “trudge the Road of Happy Destiny” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p 164) together, as these sentiments from my sponsees attest:

“Thank you so much for another year of your unwavering support, your time, care, and fellowship. You’re an inspiration to me—two years abstinent today! One day at a time with love and gratitude.”

“There are no words that can justly express my profound gratitude to you for your sponsorship these past three years. I feel truly blessed and humbled to have benefited from your experience, strength, and hope. Thank you from my heart for your support and insights.”

“Thank you for being an example of joyful living through abstinence. I have gained so much hope, guidance, and love from you. I feel I have grown a lot this year. Thank you for your honesty and for challenging me to face my fears, be more honest, trust in my HP, and above all, just commit daily to my abstinence.”

“I know you don’t keep me abstinent and you’re not my HP, but I think you’re part of the mysterious way God is working in my life, and I’m really grateful. Thank you for your abstinence, honesty, courage, and amazing commitment. It has been such a fantastic support to me in the past eighteen months. Thank you for showing me the path to continue the abstinence I have today. Thank you for being straight and not getting caught up in my self-pity. Thank you for your suggestions when I’m unsure of what to do or how to behave and thank you for leading me back to the Big Book for guidance.”

“You are so much more than a friend. You’ve led me, cajoled me, and yes, even pushed me through the life-changing Twelve Steps. Thank you for asking, ‘Do you want a sponsor? If you do, call me at 7:30 a.m.’ I was scared to ask, scared to try the Steps, yet I knew I wanted what you had. Thank you for three years and eight months of sponsorship. My life has changed because of you, OA, and my HP. Your voice will be in my head and heart to pass on to others. The greatest knowing for me is that you are not my HP and I can remain abstinent when you move on. This is the gift you have passed on.”

From time to time, I write to my sponsors, past and present, to express my gratitude, knowing I can’t work this program on my own. Thank you to everyone who has been my sponsor—for six, seventeen, three, five, three, three, and two years.

— Anonymous, United Kingdom

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