Get Your Feet Off the Wheel, Buddy!
Are you bored with recovery… kind of dozing? Doing the Steps was difficult at first, but eventually rewarding, right? You’ve arrived. It’s time to kick back…
Focusing on ourselves is one of the habits we’re trying to recover from. By the time we’ve reached Step 10, we’re becoming accustomed to the changes in our life. At this point our attention is supposed to take a major shift from being self-centered to being interested in others. The promises remind us:
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2013, p 84
Remember those around the tables that took an interest in you when you first got there? I do. On days when I’m feeling uninspired, they come to mind and I am refreshed by Tom’s wisdom, Gail’s raw candor, Jim’s enthusiasm, and Rob’s kindness. At low times I remember Roy’s stories, Steve’s leadership and am amazed again by recalling the memory feats of Dr Dave. I will never be exactly like any one of them, but I will be a better version of me than I once believed possible. I owe these people so much, not the least of which was the progress I made in the arena of trust. They helped me see that there really are people that I could count on.
Recovery was like nothing else that I’d ever experienced. As my buddies in the group made me feel like I mattered, I began to follow their example and work the Steps as they had done. I owe them my chance at sobriety, my sanity. Much of what I have today, the recovery path for living, began when they showed a genuine interest in me. I was broken and they cared. Because they came alongside me in those early days, I started on the path to a new life.
Most present members of Alcoholics Anonymous owe their sobriety to the fact that someone else took a special interest in them and was willing to share a great gift with them. ~ Questions and Answers on Sponsorship, 2013, p 15
It occurred to me while I was writing about How To Pick A Sponsor that there is very little in the Big Book about the mentoring topic from the perspective of the Sponsee. But there are serious admonitions directed to the AA member who has worked the Steps and has had a Spiritual experience worth sharing. Step 12, the last one in the program, for instance:
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of the these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2013, p 60.
Have you reached Step 10? Sit up and take notice! You are the responsible carrier.
In fact, in Joe McQ’s Carry This Message he says,
Most people who don’t sponsor in their first year of sobriety never sponsor. I think sponsorship should begin when we are fresh off the Steps and have a new experience to share; if we wait around, we may forget how we accomplished it. When your sponsoree gets to Step 10, he or she should probably start sponsoring.
Take your feet from the wheel, buddy. You’re in the drivers’ seat!