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Grapevine : March 2011
BEING sponsored is a fun- damental part of sobriety. When I began my journey in a women's recovery home in 1983, I asked a woman who had six months of so- briety if she would be my sponsor and she had the good sense to tell me to keep looking. I ended up being expelled from that house because, though sober, I was not ad- hering to the "suggested guidelines" for sobriety. Most people thought I would be drunk before the week was over. I still didn't have a vehicle, and a young man I was smitten with took me to his home group. He pointed out two women in the meeting hall and said, "Pick one of them." Because I was still immensely vain, I chose the thinnest one and as the meeting concluded I managed to stammer out my request. She asked me, "Are you willing to go to any length?" Though this made no sense to me, I nodded yes. I had no idea what I had just agreed to. This simple answer would change my life. Over the next several months I began to learn what "being sober" was all about. At the time my new sponsor was chairman of one of the largest AA roundups in the U.S., so naturally she got me busy in short order. She sug- gested, "Get a commitment, attend the roundup, wear a dress and don't forget to bring a plate of cookies." When I found out I had to pay the registration fee of $5, I was livid. I told her, "Since I brought the cookies they should waive the registration fee." She replied, "Ah. You have a lot to learn." From then on I tried not to ask why we do things. If the roundup was my initial in- doctrination into AA, it was the Steps that made me a real member. When I first heard about the Steps I thought it was a lot of mumbo jumbo and had no real intentions of following any "program." This changed after I took the Fifth Step with my sponsor and we prayed together, on our knees. It was a foreign act but it felt so right, and I remember thinking that this was something I had been missing throughout my drinking years. Not the praying---the feelings running through my body. I told her I felt funny and she said, "Get used to it ... there will be lots of those feelings." She was right again. Over time she watched me form relationships, dissolve relationships, repair relationships and reshape re- lationships. I was so grateful for her non-judgmental approach to spon- Because I was immensely vain, I chose the thinnest woman at the meet- ing and stammered out my request. Grapevine 25