Sponsors & Fellow Travelers
& Fellow Travelers
From Chapter 11 of the Big Red Book of ACA, page 365-390:
ACA Sponsorship: Fellow Travelers
The relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee represents a spiritual connection between two people helping each other find life beyond the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family. As fellow travelers on the road of recovery, the sponsor and sponsee find empathy.
For many, ACA sponsorship represents the first time we have tried to establish a relationship on equal footing with another person. ACA sponsors offer respect and understanding instead of criticism and conditional love.
In moments of self-doubt, the ACA sponsor holds up a mirror which reminds the sponsee that he or she is doing a lot of things right and that things can work out.
We tend to avoid the teacher-student style of sponsorship since we rebel against authority and since we have difficulty asking for what we need in these situations. We can regress to our people-pleasing behaviors or recreate the abandonment of our family.
The fellow traveler method of ACA sponsorship seems to work best for us because it places us on equal footing with our sponsor. We can drop our people-pleasing or self-sufficient traits and ask for help. We do not have to feel intimidated. We also learn we can make mistakes and not have to know all the answers to be helped.
When Should I Get a Sponsor? As Soon As Possible. Go to meetings, listen to what others are saying. When you find someone who you can relate to, ask them if they will be your sponsor. The question can be as formal or informal as you want. It can be a direct, “will you be my sponsor” or it might just be something like, “can I give you a call sometime, I would really like to learn more about this whole ACA thing”.
Just like with any other relationship, you can jump in with both feet, or you can get to know them a little at a time. Let the relationship grow at its’ own pace. The most important thing is, find someone in the ACA program that you can start talking to. Talk about how the program works, talk about what you are learning about yourself through the program. Talk about the things that confuse you about the program. Talk about the things that come up that upset you. JUST START TALKING! BREAK THAT “NO TALK” RULE!