Now in my fourth year of sobriety, I'm active as both a sponsor and a sponsee. It helps me stay sober and reminds me that I need to be connected to other people on a regular and ongoing basis.

During my first year I depended on my sponsor for a lot. But I had a couple of different sponsors during the ensuing two years and neither time did the relationship quite gel. Whatever the reasons, I'm glad that I'm back working with a sponsor again. I'm also glad for my program friends who, when I'd sheepishly remark that I'd not talked to my sponsor in months, would say "then you don't have sponsor," or "then you need to get a new one."

They say that the sponsor/sponsee relationship helps the sponsor at least as much as the sponsee. This has certainly been the case recently with me. About five months ago I began working with a newcomer who kept in close touch. I never told him to call me every day but he did-for all of his first 90 days We continue to speak just about every other day.

So I was faced with a dilemma: How could I be working with this great guy and not be in regular contact with someone with more sober time than me. Didn't I deserve support too? It took dealing with some deeply painful emotions to give me the final push to call a man I'd been considering for some time. During that first call he listened to me and helped me. But he hedged when I asked him to be my sponsor, saying that while he already had a lot of commitments, I was always welcome to call him. When I waited three weeks for a second call, he told me frankly that he needed to hear from me much more often if this was to work. I was grateful for that directness then, and I'm grateful for the regular contact now.

When he first referred to himself as my sponsor; I got a really nice feeling of acceptance and attention. I know that he likes me and cares for my well-being—because he tells me every time we speak. I need to hear that and I deserve it too.

And I hope that I am helping my sponsee as much. He's staying sober, making meetings and calling me his sponsor. It's a proven formula that I highly recommend.

-- Joe
March, 1998

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