Recently, a sponsee approaching the 8th Step called to talk about not going through with it. After listening to her use a myriad of excuses to justify not going forward, the truth came out. She was afraid. She didn’t want to see her world change. She likes everything black and white and moving forward with the Steps, in her eyes, means being forced to look at the gray areas. She had felt safe in the realm of denial and was resisting the clarity that is inevitable when we work the 12 Step program.
That fear of the unknown I well remember. From time to time it still appears. My path through the 12 Steps also included resistance at what I might learn about me, and about life. It was scarey. I didn’t want to do it much of the time. Fortunately, my wise sponsor gently reminded me, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.” She disclosed that she hadn’t wanted to do the work either, but doing it got her to where she was – a place of calm and serenity that I truly wanted for me. Even if we don’t feel safe, we are. My sponsee didn’t think she was ready to learn more. It occurred to me that when we’re in school, we’re rarely feeling comfortable with all that new information and may not see ourselves as ready to learn more, but we do. We listen to the teachings, do our homework, pass the test and to varying degrees we find we now have more information with which to understand the world and how it works.
I admire this sponsee for hanging in there with our conversation long enough to allow herself to get honest, share about her fears and make the decision to go forward as planned. She apologized for the earlier excuses, and for not being honest from the beginning. For my part, passing on that she is in good company, that many of us have experienced the same resistance and trepidation about proceeding into unfamiliar territory was a gift. A good reminder about the progress I’ve made, and also, how much alike we are on the path to recovery. It was important for me to let her know how much care and fellowship I feel for her. My approach to walking through the Steps with sponsees is that it’s a sacred responsibility, an honor and a privelege to share this part of their journey and pass on the many gifts shared by oldtimers with me over the years. No one gave up on me. I won’t give up on anyone – but, they have to do the work. I can’t do it for them – and I will be there for them through the trials as all of us will be there for each other. We are never alone.
Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making progress daily.”
Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.
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