One doesn’t need to be in the rooms very long to hear discussions about sponsorship. An alert participant will comment that “sponsorship” is not in the first 164 pages of the Big Book. That is true in a literal sense; the connection of the two founding members of the fellowship is sponsorship without the label. One of the gifts I have received from a life in recovery is the blessing of a sponsor. Not only did my sponsor walk me lovingly but firmly through the steps, but Sue also was extremely active in service. Twelve step calls to other women, participating in workshops, assemblies, and district meetings, and serving on committees were common place with Sue’s sponsees. Taking a meeting to the local jail or treatment facility was expected and part of our responsibility to help others as well as maintain our own recovery.
Sue was a meeting maker. She was a fixture in the rooms with her needlework and welcoming smile. She shared from the Book, from her experience, strength, and hope that was always rooted in the steps, the traditions, and the concepts. If you wanted what she had, you had to be willing to do the work. Her spiritual connection was obvious to anyone who met her. It attracted women, new (and not so new) in sobriety, to Sue’s sponsorship. Sponsor and sponsored meet as two alcoholics – neither one better or worse than the other. It was hard to feel in her league, though. Sue’s grace made it appear as if she held the key to a spiritual life. And she did – just like the rest of us – she lived one day at a time.
After almost three decades of sobriety, Sue passed on recently. As my son said, “God lent Miss Sue to us for a long time. It was time for her to go home.” What wisdom! My life is dramatically different today because Sue shared her recovery with me. Knowing it was a selfless gift, I cannot ignore the lesson she imparted to me. Am I giving my recovery to others in the same fashion? Do I sponsor in the same selfless way? I must admit the answer is “not to Sue’s example.” I have work to do.
If this kind of sponsorship is something you desire but have not experienced yet, step out of your comfort zone and look for the “Sue” in your home group. He or she is there; you will recognize them because they have what you’ve been looking for. It’s yours for the asking.
and Godspeed Sue ...