Monday, June 22, 2009
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that my sponsor has been away on a journey across the US to see the sights and to visit with children along the way. I have kept in contact, mostly by phone, although we have emailed some as well.
I am grateful for the relationship that we have. It seems that we are able to maintain a closeness and trust that seems different in some ways from what I've had with my sponsees. It seems that we are able to communicate and share opinions through thick and thin. Maybe my sponsor is a paternal figure to me. There likely is some "transference" there. Or maybe it's just the time that we have spent soul searching.
I am not a very paternal person generally. My approach with my sponsees has been to remain detached and yet available to them. I have to admit that it's not easy for me to ignore some of the personalities. I do think that I place principles above personalities with the sponsees. Often, all I can do is repeat the same things over and over trying to get the message across.
The will of individuals is a remarkable thing. Mine was broken when I came into the program. Through trusting another human being, I went to a meeting. And through the grace of my Higher Power, I found my sponsor. He has shown me how to keep the focus on myself and to know how to detach with love.
Those are valuable tools that have helped me in sponsoring others. And maybe those are the tools that are necessary in order to help a person in pain due to the effects of the disease of alcoholism. With each sponsee, I share my personal experience, strength, and hope. What has been different with my sponsor and me is that as time has gone on, we formed a bond that our mutual trust brought forth between two people who have shared and bared their souls.
I am not at that point with my sponsees. In all honesty, I feel compassion but am able to maintain detachment. So far, I have maintained a "stick by the rules in recovery" type of relationship in which we focus on the steps. Maybe I feel the need to protect myself from myself so that I'm not drawn into more co-dependence. As my sponsor wrote to me: "....Our basic co-dependence never goes away. It may diminish somewhat, but it's awfully hard to change a leopard's spots."
But when a sponsee decides to move on, I have felt sadness as they seemed to want to do the work but for whatever reason were drawn away. Some of these, I haven't heard from again. I reflect on that and how people move in and out of our lives without looking back. My relationship with sponsees is a little like that of a guide. I listen, share, and go about what we are there to discuss: the steps. I am not a professional step guru, therapist, parent, sibling, or child of - - - I am an Al-Anon member who has continued with my recovery by giving away something that was given to me.
The sponsor/sponsee bond is one that we can hold onto, allow it to grow, and simply let it 'go away' after enough energy has been expended. When a person leaves that special relationship, it usually has no personal meaning - - - it just happens.