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Grapevine : March 2011
about our other texts? I read a lot about Father Ed Dowling, a nonalcoholic Jesuit who Bill came to call his sponsor and spiritual guide. I read about how Bill used other AA members who had "something he wanted" in areas he needed to grow in. Bill used to grab these people and asked them to help him out, and when he was done he'd move on to someone and something else. I saw that sponsorship was a concept that Bill believed in and used, as did Dr. Bob and our other founding members. Now I could have interpreted these stories in a number of ways, in- cluding, It's OK as long as I stay hon- est with a bunch of friends, like some of the people I had seen. But again, thank God for the footwork. I knew myself well enough to know that while I might stay honest with every- one, it's possible I might only tell each person a little bit about me, but no in- dividual the whole story. Can you just see how we alcohol- ics could make that one work for our- selves? "I'll just tell Ed about my new girlfriend, how great she is and all the things we do together. Of course Ed doesn't know that I'm married; John does." Both of those things could eas- ily be true (they're not, by the way), but it's my belief that if the full truth remains separated, it's just a lie. Do I really feel that is what we mean by rigorous honesty? Sure, that is an ex- treme example, but isn't it all just a matter of degrees when we start to sculpt the truth? No, the message I heard when I read those stories about Bill was of a guy who kept reaching toward the light. I believe that when I sur- rendered, the deal I cut with myself was that I also needed to reach for the light. I had finally become willing to pay any price to no longer be the person I had been, and to the best of my knowledge there was no expira- tion date on that deal. I still wanted to grow. And I still needed and val- ued a sponsor. I am not saying that everyone has to go this deep when they come to this question. But I saw something when I was out there looking around. I saw many good AAs who through no conscious fault of their own had suddenly found themselves without a sponsor. And because of things like service, fellowship and good meet- ing attendance, they decided to look around a bit before they jumped in with a new sponsor. Time passes when things are going OK. Many people told me that they looked up and found out a lot of time had passed and they had not found the right person yet. There were people in their lives whom they would quickly recommend to someone else looking for a sponsor, but those same people suddenly had flaws that grew the more they were exposed to the light of their own sponsor search. And so they waited. 22 March 2011