Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ready or Not?

People keep asking me if I'm ready to be a sponsor.

By people, I mean one or two (I think it just scares me so much, that it seems like more). Not people interested in my sponsoring them, mind you. They think I'm ready to sponsor women with less time than I have.

My sponsor says she thinks I'm almost ready, but she agrees with me that I need to have completed the steps, and I'd like to have at least a year of sobriety under my belt, so that's my standard answer when these people ask me whether or not I'm ready.

I go to a couple of meetings that are overwhelmingly attended by newcomers, most having less than 90 days. My nearly 8 months in recovery, and my advancement through the steps to Step 10 seems like a lot compared to that, and I know it seemed unattainable to me when I kept going back out, and didn't have a sponsor and wasn't working the steps, and couldn't put together more than 4 months of continuous abstinence from alcohol. I know, also that I am growing and maturing and changing in my attitudes and understanding, and my spirituality is growing and deepening and is the most precious part of my recovery. So, relative to that newcomer, I do have something someone else may want, and I want to share that and help that person, but I am NOT yet ready to sponsor.

That doesn't mean that I can't help the newcomer, or the woman with less time than I have, though. I can listen to her and offer advice based upon my experience and learning from our literature. I can encourage her to get a sponsor, and take her to meetings where she can meet women who have what she wants and do have enough time in the program to sponsor someone. I can introduce her to my sponsor and other women whose programs I admire. I can help her in obtaining the literature she needs to begin learning more about this program and internalizing its principles on her own. I can be a friend and a sister, even if I can't yet be a sponsor.

Yesterday, a woman from one of my meetings called me. She was really struggling with how her drinking had damaged her relationship with her boyfriend, and wanted my advice on how to see if he was willing to give her another chance. We talked for and hour and a half, with my mostly just listening. She poured out her life story to me, and at the end of our conversation she said, "Pam, you have helped me so much!"

I was on cloud nine the rest of the day! I called my sponsor immediately, who was just as thrilled as I was. I'm going to meet this lady at a women's step meeting I attend on Wednesday evenings. There are newcomers there, but also quite a few women who, like my amazing sponsor, have many years in recovery and work awesome programs. I bought a 12 and 12 to give to my new friend as a "welcome home" gift. I've told her to call me ANY time she wants or needs to talk, or even if she just wants to get together and hang out. These are the things I can do BEFORE I'm ready to sponsor, and I LOVE that I can begin to give what has so freely been given to me.