Walking Through The Forest Without A Path; You’re Going To Get Lost

Have you ever gone hiking and suddenly realized that you’ve  lost the trail. You try to retrace your steps and most of the time find the last trail marker on a tree that you somehow missed. No problem; you now make that left or right  as required instead of walking straight ahead. Occasionally, you retrace your steps and realize that you have gotten yourself good and lost. You start to panic and then in the distance see the well worn path of the trail. Breathing a sigh of relief you head towards the path and resume your hike.

For many of us, drugs, alcohol or food was our map through the forest of life. Initially, it worked fairly well for us. It helped us buffer some of the pain, fear and loneliness that we often felt. At some point it stopped working. It was like straying from a path as we stumbled deeper and deeper into the forest.

When we had strayed very far from the path we suddenly came upon a trail marker. It had the letters AA, NA or OA on it. We began to follow that trail and a guide appeared who became our sponsor. He or she had also been lost in the forest but had found their way out. They acted as a compass for us on a daily basis.To make sure we didn’t stray far from the path they gave us a Big Book to study. It provided us with a set of directions for almost any path we choose to take. We also started to attend meetings where we met many other travelers who helped guide us as well. At some point we even began to guide others who had become lost.

Personal Reflection: Do I still stray off the path?

Sponsors: Have One; Use One; Be One

A cornerstone of all 12 step programs is the idea of a sponsor. A sponsor is someone in the program who you can turn to discuss your upsets, weigh your options and share your secrets. The benefits of sponsorship are threefold.

Have one – When we ask someone to be our sponsor, we are making a definite statement about ourselves. It is actually a declaration of our humility. We are saying that we don’t have all the answers. It declares we are humble enough to ask others for their help and to show our vulnerability.
Use one – There are many people with a lot of sober time who still call their sponsor on an almost daily basis. We have found that even when we don’t think we have something to talk to our sponsor about; issues come out in our conversation which need to be addressed. Perhaps it’s an unresolved resentment or a decision which requires feedback. Calling also challenges our complacency.
Be one – A big part of the program is giving back. When we sponsor someone, it allows us to repay in some way what others did for us in helping to maintain our sobriety. Assisting others also helps to develop and strengthen our own program.

Personal Reflection: Do I fulfill the 3 parts of sponsorship?