Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Here are some excuses that I have heard lately:
  1. I haven't called in two weeks because my parents were in town (not a minute to spare for anything else)
  2. I haven't been to a meeting in a month because I've been working my ass off (Funny, it didn't look any smaller to me)
  3. I don't think I need to make amends because I didn't do anything wrong. (yep, it was all done to you, right?)
  4. I don't like ____________ because he has a weird way of looking at me.  I think that he is judging me. (Who's zoomin' who here?)
  5. I have been practicing self care and that means I get a lot of sleep, take time for the beach, and some fun activities.  I haven't had time to fit in a meeting. (this may be related to "working my ass off")
  6. I thought about calling you, but I was so busy.  (may be related to nos. 1, 2, and 5 above)
  7. I am wary of having to go to a number of meetings and do certain things because it feels too much like a cult.  I don't want to be told what to do. (Maybe I would rather do no. 5 instead)
  8. My life is unmanageable lately, and I can't figure out why.  It must be all the things that are going on in my life right now.  (could be related to no 2!).  
  9. I'm sorry that I am 30 minutes late for our meeting.  I was getting a massage and lost track of time. (relates to no. 8 + I didn't think that your time was important so I got the massage anyway). 
  10. I wanted you to meet my parents when they were in town, but they said that they wanted me all to themselves. (related to no.1).
I'm sure that many of you have heard these and more.  I have to smile (with slightly upturned lips) at the imaginative ways that sponsees have of making excuses.  And sometimes I have to bite down very hard on my tongue and will my vocal cords to stop when I hear the "why I can't do", "I tried but",  and "I didn't do" reasons.  But mostly I listen and nod my head.  It isn't my business to be the enforcer of their program.  I am simply a conduit for the twelve steps.  When a sponsee tells me that he is willing to go to any lengths, I believe him.  Sometimes the lengths seem to stretch into miles though. 

I must give this program first priority in my life, remembering my spiritual progress comes as a gift, not as an achievement. from Touchstones


  1. I would tell my son, the addict, the last time you were judged on effort was the second grade. After that you either did or didn't.

    His favorite line was "I tried, but...."

    I told him once "I tried..." is the first words of failure. "I will do... or I did...." is the first words of success.

  2. I love the one about "I've been working my ass off" and I laughed out loud at the (it didn't look any smaller to me). I try to keep myself on my schedule. I do not attend meetings on Monday or Tues. because I use those evenings for appointments and errands so I am available for my W, Th, Sat. and Sun. meetings. Friday evenings are spent working with my sponsor for about three hours. I was full of excuses when I came in, but within a week they were gone, I chose my sponsor and got to work. All it takes is a little planning and a lot of commitment but it can be done and it is so worth it!

  3. haha funny :)
    yes liked the 'it didn't look any smaller to me' !!

    it helps to have a capacity for hard work in recovery. i do not have a great deal of patience with people who cant be bothered to take the action to get well. plus they just seem to get worse, so its a never ending task trying to help them keep some sort of perspective on things. much easier to pick the sponsees who are willing to take direction and go to any lengths to get well..

  4. I no longer bother asking such questions, but somehow I still hear all of the same excuses! LOL!

  5. I'm sure the excuses get old, especially since you are going out of your way to help someone.

  6. When I am working my program in a healthy way I don't have to come up with an excuse. My sponsor's time is just as important as mine. I am trying to be totally honest with myself about everything in my life, so finding flimsy excuses for my laziness is not being honest with myself.

  7. Yeah - sometimes my tongue gets seriously bruised in this deal.

    Blessings and aloha...

  8. "But mostly I listen and nod my head. It isn't my business to be the enforcer of their program. I am simply a conduit for the twelve steps."

    I was going to ask you what you do when your sponsees hand you these excuses and then I kept reading and saw the above quote by you Syd. I really like that because the program is a program of self discovery and that is one of the many beautiful aspects of working this program. I was so relieved to hear that you don't do a whole lot of anything when your sponsees begin to step back. I think I had a moment of being afraid that I was going to find out that I was not sponsoring correctly and that there was something I needed to be doing to keep them engaged and active. lol Whew...that was a close one.

  9. Good post!

    Funny, today I mentioned to my sponsor that I will begin working on Monday, he said "so I will only see you at meetings on weekends?"

    I used to use the "working" excuse often...

  10. I am always grateful for the gift of desperation -- I was desperate to get sober and save my own life. And that number-one priority has stayed with me.

    Sometimes I do think some of us have to learn the hard way, tumbling right down to our own bottom. I know I did.

  11. I tell my sponsee's " Make choices, not excuses" sometimes it helps and other times, not!

  12. amen... I've worn a few of those out in my time as well, truth be told :-)

  13. Thanks for sharing these. I think there's a difference between an excuser (things do happen) and a rationalization. Our program requires change. If we keep doing the same things, we'll get the same results. It works because you work it! Appreciate the reminder!!


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.