I like to have daily contact with a sponsee for a while. That happened at first but then there would only be a call if he was down. And then there was the reading of the first four chapters of the BB. That wasn't happening nor was he reading over the printed material that I had given him. As far as answering the questions about unmanagability, that was getting no where either.
So I suppose it wasn't surprising when he called last night to say that he had met with his therapist who said that he wasn't ready for the steps yet. The therapist is a member of Al-Anon and goes to one of the meetings that I attend. And he has decided to go to church in order to connect with his HP. He said that he felt bad about not continuing but thought that he could get better without having to do so much "homework".
I'm learning that the sponsor-sponsee path is a bit like getting into a business relationship or a job hire. A person needs to choose a sponsor by seeing if they like what the sponsor has to say or if they can relate to the sponsor. And the sponsor may need to assess how it feels when they first get together. In this relationship though there is no application form or resume to see up front. There is only the fact that the sponsee has asked for help in working the steps. I see my job as providing guidance and the proper tools for a person to work the steps. It's hard to assess the level of motivation and commitment at first because often people are in such pain. It's only after they become less emotional that sponsor and sponsee can begin to get a sense of what may lie ahead.
What I've seen with the last four sponsees is that they are willing to work when their pain is acute. And that if you'll sponsor a person, he will be eternally grateful. I think these people really mean what they say at the time. They are hurting and needing to grab hold of a life life. But what seems to happen is that eventually as the pain and immediate crisis subsides, the willingness becomes lessened, and the sponsee decides to ignore the things that are suggested.
I am learning that there are many people in Al-Anon who go to meetings and think that is all that has to be done. And I'm learning that those who say that they so desperately want to work the steps, may think that they do, until it's time to do the work. I don't know whether the approach of letting things die a natural death is best when the sponsee isn't working the program or whether explicitly stating the conditions under which I will continue to sponsor is better. This is something that I'm not sure about because I feel a strong sense of duty to the program and to help those who ask, even if they decide that the steps aren't for them.
So last night, I just said that when you're ready to work the steps, I or someone else will be there to guide you. No door is ever shut totally on someone who is willing.