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Grapevine : December 2011
grandiose attitude, that I am some- how better just because I happened to stumble into the rooms of AA first. I surely lack the proper humility if this is my attitude toward the new guy. Instead, when I’m introducing them to other AAs, they are simply “good friends” of mine, and I leave the decision to disclose our relation- ship totally up to them. Frankly, I don’t see how someone can use derogatory terms like “pi- geon” or “fresh meat” when referring to someone they supposedly care to help. And these self-professed “drill sergeant” sponsors ... I’m not certain their style exactly fits in a program built on commonality and humility. It goes against the very principles laid out in the Twelve Steps. But apparent- ly it works for some guys who need a heavy hand, so who am I to argue? I know one thing for sure—that wouldn’t have worked with me. Sponsorship to me, should be based upon “attraction rather than promo- tion.” That is how I was introduced to this amazing program: I wanted badly what my sponsor Bob W. had, which was a visible, serene con- tentment. That was something that eluded me for most of my adult life. I emulated all he did in the program. I attend lots of meetings, I do service in and out of the meetings, and of course, I give it away to the next guy by becoming a sponsor. I have had some success with a couple of guys I sponsor today. One is five years my senior (60) and the other 20 years my junior. I am careful to follow (very closely) the chapter in the Big Book, “Working With Others.” Listening is of the utmost impor- tance, since the more you hear about your prospect, the more informa- tion you can gather, on his behalf, to help him. I did a lot of talking early on in my attempts to sponsor. It is very common; we want to tell them what we know right then and there, but by doing so, we only complicate their ability to comprehend the seri- ousness of their own particular situ- ation. We really need to listen more than talk. These gentlemen I sponsor re- quire two distinctly different ap- proaches. The younger one requires a firmer, yet understanding, ap- proach—kind of like a father: “I’ve been where you are.” We want to tell them what we know right then and there, but by doing so, we only complicate their ability to comprehend the seriousness of their own particular situation. 44 December 2011 GRAPE_43-45.indd 44 10/28/11 4:08 PM