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Grapevine : March 2011
sorship---she allowed me to make mistakes, but always had me con- sider alternative solutions. I loved that she was able to share her own trials in relation to mine, though we were generations apart. She has car- ried me through some of the most difficult times of my life---the death of a loved one, four childbirths, two miscarriages, two college degrees, an often-difficult marriage, drunk- en children and, most recently, se- vere financial insecurity. Deliberate sponsorship is no accident. The Big Book is our greatest asset and the Twelve Steps are paramount. Early on she told me, "The Twelve Steps will allow you to walk through any- thing that life throws at you." When I wanted to quit smoking cigarettes, she said, "Work the Steps on it." It worked. When I encounter strife in parenting, she always asks, "Have you tried the Eleventh Step?" I am relieved of the obsession even though the problem still exists and that always amazes me. "For every problem, there is a Step," is her mot- to. Who would have known? I recently celebrated 27 years of sobriety. I am active in general ser- vice at the district and area level. I still rely on my sponsor to explain some of the issues I encounter in my service work. It was my sponsor who took the time to tell me what "au- tonomous" meant, when the wom- en's meeting I attended wanted to change something and I was freak- ing out. My sponsor has been sober for 35 years. She is certainly a sage in AA. She is often ill these days and rarely goes to evening meetings, but we talk and there is a meeting once a month at her house. She still has the answers I seek, so I continue to be steadfast. She sponsors several wom- en and from time to time we talk about what will happen when she is no longer around. I think about what she has been for me and I can't imag- ine finding that in someone else. The sponsor I have become to- day is directly due to the model she gave me over the years. The women I work with continue to feed me like I must have fed my sponsor---and they also frustrate me and worry me, so now I see how I must have frustrat- ed and worried my sponsor. I truly know that we cannot keep this gift unless we give it away and I have been giving it away for fun and for free ever since that first roundup--- and just like everything else, we do it for the newcomer. Roxanne R. Valley Center, Calif. It was my sponsor who took the time to tell me what "autonomous" meant when my meeting changed. 26 March 2011