While I am a firm believer in the absolute importance of sponsoring others through the 12 Steps in either of the 12 Step recovery programs I attend, I decided recently to change how I plan to keep doing this invaluable recovery tool, mostly due to the stress it’s now placing upon my overall health, especially due to the rapidly rising cost of gas.
First off, I am unemployed and don’t have an income. When gas was a mere few dollars a gallon, I could easily go meet a newcomer where it cost me next to nothing to do so. But with gas now rising over $5 a gallon, it’s taking a toll upon my mental and emotional health, specifically when I drive some 20 to 30 miles away to meet a newcomer who doesn’t show up, or who does, but creates a lot more stress upon my life than leaving a healthy impact, like someone recently I had just begun to help, who got in my car and immediately started vaping and drinking an energy drink as soon as they sat down!
Look, sponsorship is meant to be a positive recovery tool for both the sponsor and the sponsee. But lately, I’m finding it far more draining because many of the newcomers I’ve tried to help don’t seem to want to do the hard work that comes in doing the 12 Step process, which has left me feeling more drained than not after meeting with them, where I’ve wished I had remained home doing what I was doing, saving myself the hassle of several hours of my time and $15 in expenses. Add in the number of relapses I’m seeing now, especially since the pandemic came upon us, where many sponsees have remained non-committal with the work, never making it past the 1st or 2nd step, continuing to sponsor others in the way I have has been weighing heavily upon me.
On the contrary, sponsorship continues to remain a positive experience for me with sponsees who have been attending meetings and remaining sober for a long period of time. I’ve had the opportunity in recent years to sponsor several who had been clean and sober for many years, who just hadn’t done the steps yet. Sponsoring each of them was rewarding, as they remained fully committed throughout the entire 12 Step process, which is why I’ve decided to only sponsor those now who have been clean and sober and attending recovery meetings for a good length of time. The fact is, sponsoring others should never cause a greater imbalance to one’s own sobriety and recovery, nor hurt one’s overall health, like it has been for me recently.
I am worn out from trying to work with one newcomer after another who regularly are manipulative, selfish, lacking accountability and integrity, and frequently laying guilt-trips upon my doorstep. It’s sad to say that the rising cost of gas and my ongoing health issues have led to me not being able to handle this. But I need to take care of myself just as much as I know it’s important to help others in my 12 Step recovery. There is a fine balance with it. I simply choose now to work with those who have remained committed to being clean and sober, who have been practicing the 1st step without relapsing for some time. Because helping them continues to rejuvenate my love for sponsorship and 12 Step recovery work and improve my overall health…something that unfortunately hasn’t been true for the many newcomers I’ve tried to help, who simply just don’t want sobriety and recovery bad enough yet…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson