A very special kind of mentor is the sponsor you have in AA.
An AA sponsor is designed to walk you through the steps. They hold you accountable to going to meetings, working through the steps, making friends in the program and various issues that come up in sobriety.
It’s funny because being a sponsor is a big job and nobody takes it on lightly. My dad said at some point to not wear out my sponsor’s welcome, but she knows her job and part of that job is to help the sponsee to find other people to share with. We all help each other to stay sober.
My first sponsor, I admired very much. She was probably the age I am now. I was 21. She and her husband owned a used bookstore, dusty and smelling like old books and coffee. I can’t imagine they made any money at it.
They put a booth in the back of the store and a coffee pot. Members of AA would come around and talk. I was in my senior year and spent so much time there, probably most of my time.
She didn’t; however, help me work through the steps. When she first became my sponsor she asked me to read the Big Book (the text of Alcoholics Anonymous, like a bible to them). I told her I had read it and she thought that was hilarious. Never met someone who read the whole thing their first month in the program.
My senior year of college I went to every meeting I could, every week. I was in a small town. There were not AA meetings every night, so I attended Alanon and NA meetings. Alanon is for members of the addict’s family. It’s a great way of determining how to detach with love, should it be required.
My second sponsor was 2006 or 2007. She was had core AA. We met weekly for an average of 2 hours. I did everything she said and I stayed sober. She was as insightful as any excellent therapist. She didn’t solve problems for me, she led me to realize solutions. I spoke with her every afternoon at the same day. I felt safe with her. She made me feel good about myself.
Then one day she called and said she was trying something new that wasn’t a part of AA. That is was a conflict and she couldn’t be my sponsor any more.
The next sponsor, is my current sponsor. She took me on a contingent basis. She is excellent, many would love to have her as a sponsor. She details for the week what I’m going to do. How many meetings, worksheets to fill out and even plans for getting out, getting exercise. If I don’t do these things, she will drop me like a hot stone. I do not want to lose her. I think she is my number one shot at getting a good sponsor who will help me to do what I need to do to stay sober.
In life, I really think mentors are essential. They are like life coaches. If you aren’t in AA, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a spiritual adviser or someone who can help you get a plan together for life.
I’m going to go to a few Alanon meetings, perhaps once a week to deal with the interpersonal relationships in my life. Not people who drink, just those who have suffered because of my addictions.