The Importance Of The Sponsee Daily Two-Minute Check-In Call…

As a sponsor, I have only a few requirements, one of which is a daily thing, that being to call me once a day and do a two-minute check in. Ironically, for as simple as that sounds, it normally is the very thing that often becomes the most difficult to do for many I’ve sponsored.

Why I have this two-minute check-in stems all the way back to the same requirement my first sponsor from AA once gave me. When I questioned why I had to call her each and every day, she simply said, “Andrew, if you can’t take TWO minutes out of your day to call me and let me know how your recovery is doing, then you’re not really concerned about your recovery are you?” And she was right, because any day I ever missed during the time she sponsored me, I truly wasn’t focused on my recovery one bit. But trust me, I made sure to call her more than not over the course of a year and a half and learned the importance of this daily check-in by the end of that period.

The fact is, addicts don’t normally like picking up the phone. Instead, they tend to handle things all on their own, particularly if they’re deeply engaged within the addiction itself. To break that habit, and to create a pattern of reaching out for support, especially for when any temptation comes a-knocking, my sponsor taught me to merely call her once a day and leave a message if she didn’t answer. During that message or call itself, I was to let her know if I had been triggered or not with my addiction and whether I needed any support. And that if I was ever struggling to remember to call, to try placing an alarm reminder on my phone to go off at the same time every day.

Honestly, I must admit that early on these two-minute check-in calls felt like a hassle to my life. Yet as time went on, I began to see the benefits of them on both those challenging days and those not-so-challenging days. And eventually, I actually started looking forward to making those calls if you can believe it.

But it’s funny though, because now I see my early stubborn recovering self in each of my sponsee’s who have struggled with this daily phone assignment. Why it’s funny is because on any day that I used to miss making that two-minute check-in call, I still made plenty of calls to other people, they just weren’t to my sponsor. Which is precisely why the words of my first sponsor continue to ring true for me and are a great reminder that there’s never any good excuse as to why someone can’t take 2 minutes out of 24 hours to call and do a check-in. Because it’s a safe bet, that phone calls were indeed made elsewhere that day and an even safer bet that most of one’s actions on any day missed were probably nothing more than self-serving.

This is why I tend to agree now that the use of the two-minute daily check-in call is a great benchmark to the strength of every sponsee’s recovery. Frequently when multiple days over multiple weeks begin to be missed in checking in with me, I find their days with me are numbered and that’s not because I eventually end the sponsor relationship with them either. It’s more that each of those missed check-ins merely become indicators that the person is beginning to place more and more importance on other things that aren’t recovery related, many of which have often led them directly back into their addiction itself.

So, while the daily two-minute check-in has habitually felt like a hassle to many of those I’ve sponsored, I find it’s truly is an important tool in sobriety to both the health of one’s recovery and the health of the sponsor/sponsee relationship as well.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Parable Of The Jogger, The Elderly Woman, And Her Turtles…

Every Sunday morning, a man enjoyed taking a light jog around a park near his home. There’s a lake located in one corner of the park and each time he jogged by this lake, he saw the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a small metal cage sitting beside her. On one of those mornings, his curiosity got the best of him, so he stopped jogging and walked over to her. As he got closer, he realized that the metal cage was in fact a small trap. There were three turtles, unharmed, slowly walking around the base of the trap. The elderly woman had a fourth turtle in her lap that she was carefully scrubbing with a spongy brush. When he approached her he asked, “I see you here every Sunday morning. If you don’t mind my nosiness, I’d love to know what you’re doing with these turtles?” She smiled and said, “I’m cleaning off their shells. Anything on a turtle’s shell, like algae or scum, reduces the turtle’s ability to absorb heat and impedes its ability to swim. It can also corrode and weaken the shell over time.” “Wow! That’s really nice of you!” the jogger exclaimed. She went on: “I spend a couple of hours every Sunday morning relaxing by this lake and helping these little guys out. It’s my own strange way of making a difference in the world.” “But don’t most freshwater turtles live their whole lives with algae and scum hanging from their shells though?” he asked. “Yep, sadly, they do,” she replied. He then scratched his head and inquired, “Well then, don’t you think your time could be better spent? I mean, I think your efforts are kind and all, but there are fresh water turtles living in lakes all around the world. And 99% of these turtles don’t have kind people like you to help them clean off their shells. So, no offense… but how exactly are your localized efforts here truly making a difference?” The woman giggled, as she looked down at the turtle in her lap, scrubbing off the last piece of algae from its shell, and said, “Sweetie, if this little guy could talk, he’d tell you I just made all the difference in the world!”

Have you ever thought you weren’t making any bit of difference in the world with the efforts you’ve made to make it a more loving place? It’s often easy to do when one begins to compare themselves to others who always seem to be doing much greater humanitarian efforts that have far larger positive impacts upon the planet. But, this parable is a great reminder that sometimes that can still happen in even the smallest of actions.

Personally, I’ve asked myself a lot over the past few years if any of my own efforts of reaching out and helping others has even mattered. The answer I’ve arrived at time and time again is that I believe they have, it’s just that in most cases, I never receive confirmation of that. Occasionally though, I’ve gotten an email or a text message from someone somewhere in the world who has thanked me for my efforts, and ironically, they usually have come when I’m at my lowest point and questioning whether I’m making any bit of difference. Thankfully, I do think there’s something much Greater than I out there who is always listening to my thoughts and feelings and sees each of my efforts to help others, no matter how small they are, and sometimes lets me know that these efforts really do matter.

So, if you are someone who wonders if your efforts to make this world a better place are important or even matter, trust me when I say that I totally believe they do. Keep doing what you are doing and know that there is a Higher Guidance out there who continues to notice and when you least expect it, will remind you how much they and you are appreciated.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Silly Joke Friday

The temporary Sunday School teacher was struggling to open a combination lock on the supply cabinet. She had been told the combination, but couldn’t quite remember it.

Finally, she went to the pastor’s study and asked for help. The pastor came into the room and began to turn the dial.

After the first two numbers, he paused and stared blankly for a moment.

Finally, he looked serenely heavenward and his lips moved silently.

Then he looked back at the lock, and quickly turned to the final number, and opened the lock.

The teacher was amazed. “I’m in awe at your faith, pastor,” she said.

“It’s really nothing,” he answered. “The number is on a piece of tape on the ceiling.”

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson