Program Burnout … a Plea to Sponsors & Members

Throughout my over two decades in recovery programs, I have seen people leave due to program overwhelm. Most notably, I have seen sponsors push sponsees, as well as sponsees push themselves, to do more service than they can handle.

We walk a tightrope. Yes, we do these programs to have a life, but how do we find time to both live our new life and stay true to our program, giving back what we have so generously been given?
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Day 2 and Beyond Without a Sponsor

In my last post, I showed you what it takes to have your first day of abstinence in DA using the H.O.W. approach when you don’t yet have a sponsor. So what next?

For days two and beyond, you continue with the daily practice of:
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If You are New and Don’t Have a Sponsor…

I wanted to write a post specific to the issue of what to do if you don’t have a sponsor and want to work DA using the H.O.W. approach. Although this is covered in the post Sponsors are Not Your Higher Power, I think it bears more discussion.

It is especially challenging for newcomers to become motivated enough to get started without a sponsor because, after all, you aren’t sure what to do and want guidance. So you may keep waiting to begin. However, all of us have had to continue our daily program without a sponsor at one time or another. Newcomers just need some guidance on exactly what to do to get started. So I am going to tell you, which means that there is no longer an excuse to get on the road to a new and better life right now! 🙂

Remember, you are committed to recovery and a Higher Power, not to a person.
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How I Work the DA (H.O.W.) Program

People are curious about how one works DA HOW. So I thought I’d write about how I work this program. The one important thing to remember is that this is not a separate program from Debtor’s Anonymous. It is simply a rigorous method of working the tools.


1. I read a couple of pages of recovery literature and do writing. Together this should take about 15 minutes. There is a set of 90 questions that newcomers start with. (Click here to download the 90 DA HOW questions for sponsees)

Note: When I started, I nearly quit because there was so much reading and rereading in each question. I now only ask that sponsees read a couple of pages so that there is enough time to write within 15 minutes. Sponsors may vary in this. But I know that if you have a full life, having to take 30 minutes or more may be overwhelming. Since you will reread chapters as you go through the questions, it is fine with me if you read a few pages while doing one question and then read some different pages in the next question that refers to the same chapter.

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