Losing Your Balance

Click here to listen on our podcast site, “I Cant Stop Spending!”

crackThe one thing I know from decades in 12-step recovery is that I can’t do this alone. “This” means anything I can’t otherwise stop doing compulsively or stop using as a mood-altering drug, from spending, eating, drinking, sexing, Interneting, raging, underearning, co-dependent-ing, adult child-ing, “you name it.”

And when I say alone, I’m talking about my need for help from other humans, not so much the relationship with a Higher Power (or HP), which is fundamental to recovery, but for me, a big part of attaining that spiritual relationship includes my turning to others for help as well as extending my own hand in support. The fact is, my HP most often speaks to me through other people. Continue reading

Sponsor/Sponsee Breakups

In all 12 Step programs, we are told that we can change sponsors at will. This sounds light and uncomplicated, but in reality, it is rarely so easy. We develop deep relationships with our sponsors and sponsees, often blurring the line between friendship and the sponsor/sponsee relationship.

I have been on both ends of bad breakups and let me tell you, it hurts either way. Most painful were the breakups where I thought a friendship transcended program and was unpleasantly surprised to discover it didn’t. I have also been involved with simple, considerate breakups, and there is a world of difference between them.

Because of this, I would like to give you some thoughts and suggestions about how to maximize this relationship.
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There is a Difference…

Recently, I had to let go of a sponsor in another fellowship. I didn’t do this lightly, and really searched my soul for why I did so. Over the course of weeks, I prayed, wrote, talked to others, and read. In the end, it all turned out perfectly.

The fact is that I was afraid of the sponsor. Yes, scared. It felt like walking on eggshells. I dreaded asking her questions. She was very nice as a person, but as a sponsor, it was a challenging match. We were working through the steps together and had just begun Step 4, but I knew I wouldn’t feel safe giving her my 5th Step.
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Advice VS. Experience, Strength, and Hope

I have learned from painful experience that there is a big difference between giving advice and the experience, strength, and hope (ESH) that we are encouraged to share as sponsors and in our outreach calls.
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Why 3 Slips & You are Dropped?

It is suggested to sponsors working the DA program using the H.O.W. format that if a sponsee slips three times, the sponsor drops the sponsee. A slip, as I understand it, would be:
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Calling Your Sponsor on Time

I wanted to write about this because it is something I feel strongly about. This topic may seem petty to a newcomer, but I am hoping to clarify why this is such an important part of recovery.
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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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Sponsors are Not Your Higher Power

One of the reasons I started this blog was that there seem not to be as many DA HOW sponsors recently, and definitely not enough who are available to help the increasing numbers of new members who need sponsors. That scares me. My life was saved by the DA HOW program and I need others who are doing what I am doing in this program in order to survive. For me, and I am ONLY speaking for me, I needed more structure than I was able to find in regular DA and so I found my home after eight years of floundering between regular DA and finding DA HOW.

I need the accountability of turning over my spending daily to another person before I do it. I need to be honest about what I am buying. I need to have a network of others who are willing to wait before buying something when to proceed would mean deprivation or ultimately debting … even if the waiting is painful. I need to live by a very conscientious spending plan so I am in complete clarity about where my money is going.

All of these I found in DA HOW.

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