Saturday, June 6, 2009


A reader asks how long was I in Al-Anon before I asked someone to be my sponsor?

About a year. I was not able to trust other human beings with much ease or speed back then, and the very idea of pouring my heart out to another person was terrifying. I wanted a guarantee that this information wouldn't be used as ammunition to hurt me. I wanted a signed statement, before umpteen witnesses, that this information I was going to give, would be kept private.

It took me about a year to understand that there are no guarantees. Al-Anon operates under the principles of anonymity, trustworthiness, and discretion, but I had to decide - how badly did I want this sanity and serenity? Would I be able to survive, if my trust were broken? What's the worst that could happen? The worst for me, was that I'd be very hurt by the betrayal, and perhaps embarassed and ashamed.

But I'd survive. Once I'd had that realisation, I decided to ask someone to be my sponsor. I knew that I needed more in-depth conversation with an Al-Anon member, to help me work to discover which of my long-held beliefs were standing in my way.

I chose to put my trust in another person, and I took it very slowly, revealing myself in small increments, so that I was comfortable with the process. (The first person I asked, wasn't a good fit for me, and I ended up asking someone else with whom I felt more comfortable.)

I had been in awe of my sponsor, she seemed so calm, and relaxed. In working with her, I learned that she was a fellow traveller, with her own frailties, and I grew to love her. She wouldn't let me get away with anything, it seemed, and offended me a lot with her early observations - and we had some great laughing fits recalling my offense, when I had a few years of recovery. (I took myself very seriously when I first came into program - lots of drama and self-pity.)

A sponsor can be incredibly helpful, if we allow it.

1 comment:

  1. I do agree. I am most grateful to my sponsor for being my guide. He has my trust and I have his. That's an awesome thing.