I Am Not Anyone’s Therapist

The concept of sponsorship is actually quite amazing. He or she is a person who you can call on a daily basis. When we do so, we are free to tell them anything we want. We can be totally open and honest with them. Part of the conversation can include advice on some of our issues. Part of sponsorship is to share how we handled similar situations. Most amazingly, all this is done without paying the sponsor for any of his or her time.
Where some sponsees make a mistake is when they start thinking of their sponsor as a therapist. Sponsors are not trained mental health professionals. They don’t have advanced degrees in psychology or social work. What they do have is life experience in alcohol and drug addiction and more importantly in recovery. If you are looking for understanding how your family of origin contributed to your addiction or how your issues of self esteem can be addressed, it is more appropriate for you to talk to a therapist. They are trained to help you examine these areas. In the program, we encourage members to seek out professional help. As sponsors, we are more concerned with how you will live life in the future; as opposed to understanding your past. If your sponsor starts analyzing you, maybe you should think about getting a new sponsor.

Personal Reflection: Am I playing therapist or patient?

In Order To Change The Way We Feel We Need To Change The Way We Act

Many of us sought out therapy while we were active in our addiction. Some of us went for years and saw little or no improvement. Finally we went to a therapist who quickly picked up that we had a problem with drugs, alcohol or food. As part of their treatment recommendations they suggested that we go to NA, AA or OA. We didn’t understand why they would make that recommendation. Wouldn’t therapy have sufficed to deal with our problems? The fact of the matter is that we had tried that route to no avail.
What we discovered was that the program had a very different approach. Yes it was more than okay to talk about all of the feelings that were coming up for you in early sobriety. In fact we encouraged that. However, the essence of the program was not about focusing on our feelings. It was a program of action. The very first action was to practice sobriety around our drug of choice. Just by taking that action, we noticed that a lot of our negative feelings began to dissipate. When we started work on step four; we began to take personal responsibility for our actions. When we did that, many of our resentments and feelings of anger dissipated. There was power in the behavior choices we made.

Personal Reflection: What area of my behavior needs attention?