I have a new sponsee. He and I are getting together this week for the first time. I talked with him for a while last evening. I learned that he has worked the steps several times in another fellowship, yet doesn't understand the concept of powerlessness. He also was getting into some heavy stuff that seemed more like material for a session with a therapist.
In my interactions with sponsees I have to remind myself about what my boundaries are. I thought that the following was helpful. It came from a recent workshop on sponsoring.
Twelve Steps of a Sponsor (from AA Literature):
- I will not help you stay and wallow in limbo.
- I will help you grow, to become more productive, by your own definition.
- I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more free to continue becoming the authority of your own living.
- I cannot give you dreams or “fix you up,” simply because I cannot.
- I cannot give you growth, or grow for you. You must grow yourself, by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.
- I cannot take away your loneliness or pain.
- I cannot sense your world for you, evaluate your goals, or tell you what is best for you in your world; you have your own world.
- I cannot convince you of the crucial choice of choosing the scary uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of not growing.
- I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend, yet I cannot get close to you when you choose not to grow.
- When I begin to care for you out of pity, when I begin to lost trust in you, then I am toxic, bad, and inhibiting for you and you for me.
- You must know – my help is conditional. I will be with you, hang in there with you, as long as I continue to get even the slightest hints that you are trying to grow.
- If you can accept all of this, then perhaps we can help each other to become what God meant us to be . . . mature adults, leaving childishness forever to little children.
If things are not what they seem, as has been mentioned in several blogs lately, then I am not aware of what the reality is. I am still taking people at face value. Like I said, it can leave me vulnerable. And that's a tedious place to be.