Is Your A.A. Sponsor your Army Sergeant?

What is the best kind of sponsor?

There has been a long standing debate in A.A. about what kind of sponsor is right.  The kind who is loving, caring, considerate, respectful, informative, giving, truthful, and assertive.  Or the kind who says “I am not here to be your friend, get off your lazy low-life ass and do this work.” Or as one man shared recently about a man in A.A. who “saved his life” by saying to him early on in recovery “FUCK YOUR FEELINGS”.  OUCH! I SAY OUCH TO THAT.  But it worked for him.  It got his attention he said.  But not all emotional pain is self-pity, on the contrary.  Trauma needs to be expressed to come out.

Granted keep in mind in our scenario both sponsors are teaching the twelve steps and the traditions from the Big Book.  The personalities are just an added flavor or bi-product of their Sponsorship.   I suppose neither caring or disgracing, nor reproach or insults are the actual program.  Although our principles teach us that “BROTHERLY LOVE” should be at the forefront of our actions. Some people don’t consider being called names and degraded or debased in front of others an action of disrespect or a contradiction to A.A. principle’s.  I have heard over and over from people who have stayed sober of how their sponsor quite obnoxiously jerked a knot in their tail then quickly verbally chewed them up and spit them out because that is what they needed so they say.  Obviously to some being put in their place is the only way to gain their respect.   I am guessing this must be related to the kind of home they grew up in and sincerely it’s not their fault.  They equate it to the nurturing their family gave them perhaps.  Another factor is these types of people often say they were running a game on their sponsors at which time their sponsor had to aggressively let them know they were full of shit.

Sergeant Call-you-on-your-shit

Sergeant Call-you-on-your-shit reporting to fix you sir.  And while you’re at it shine my shoes newbie grunt!  Can you see the low self-worth coming out sideways in this scenario?  Granted my own self esteem even after ten years of twelve step work isn’t the best.  Though it’s better than it has ever been. And it’s obvious to me the dynamic of sponsee belittling is an attempt at counterfeit self worth.

Personally I find it a big red flag if anyone begs authority over another adult by announcing their superiority in various ways to all the people who will listen.  For instance, what if my sponsor started making demands of me in public and basically treats me like a grunt in the army of A.A?  Well I would quickly look for a different sponsor but I have heard others who have stayed sober under this type of humiliation.  SIR YES SIR!  I scream to my master.

No hell no! I don’t care how long you have been sober you won’t dis me for long.  My codependent days are long gone.  My days of playing the slave to a master are gone.

Many people in A.A. don’t considers the army sergeant approach to sponsorship a negative thing.  Actually what they do consider is a chance to put someone under their thumb JUST LIKE THEIR A.A. ARMY MASTER DID TO THEM.  HURRAH I HAVE GRADUATED!  NOW I CAN DISRESPECT SOME POOR STRUGGLING SAP AND STRING THEM ALONG AS I WAS STRUNG.  (Of course they don’t mention the horrible train wreck their relationship later became or the fact that they themselves are incapable of intimacy and relationships of the healthy romantic variety.)  Pretty sure the chance to lord over newbies just as they were lorded over is why these mis-guided victims relish their sponsors demeaning ways. They were swept up by their A.A. sergeant.  “He saved my life” they say.  But do you suppose Bill W. or Dr. Bob cosigned THAT KIND OF BULLSHIT.  I seriously doubt it.

What about brotherly love?

I can see it now…Bill Wilson cussing out Dr. Bob to save his pitiful life.  There was no mention of it in Bill’s Story or any of the other books.  Actually belittling isn’t mentioned at all in positive light in the Big Book.  “Working with others has no semblance of the army Sargent approach anywhere in the chapter.  Quite the contrary.  Army Sergeants SHOW NO TRACE OF HUMILITY.  Humility and feelings would be considered weak and beggarly to the Sergeant sponsor.   They seem to run on pure ego and the concept of crushing a man to build them back up is their task.

But we in A.A. come into the rooms already crushed

There is no need to crush a broken man any further.  This behavior is more likened to the pack mentality or prison code.  You’ll hear them side with cliche’s like “meetings are not your personal dumping ground” or “keep your emotions between you and your sponsor”.  But Sergeant my emotions are the core reason of my addiction…why should emotions be kept out of meetings and abruptly swept away from the rooms?

If my emotions make you uncomfortable Sergeant it’s because you see yourself in me and it scares the hell out of you.  Pain needs to come out and I get my three minutes just like everyone else.  If I have to sit through your dogmatic rendition of false-pride covered cliche’s then you will listen to my emotional truth.  I won’t be shut down in a meeting.

Well I got news folks it doesn’t take disrespect to teach someone the program.  I wonder how many people have been swept away and run out of the rooms by such belittling.

In A.A. there are truckloads of generational wrongs done year after year.  These people have no idea they have bread their dysfunction into their dark spiritual program.  Isn’t that Love?  They ask confounded.  And what happens when they lose the opportunity to put someone under their thumb so their ego will be replenished by its constant hunger of false pride.  It’s only semblance of self-worth is to put others down in order to make themselves feel superior.

My self-inventory

You may think that is what I am doing now.  But fortunately though it may appear similar there is no man or woman under my thumb.  I am showing no one disrespect to anyone.  As a writer I have the luxury of processing my peeves in a healthier way.  I am not pointing the finger at anyone in particular.  “You spot it you got it” they scream from the bleachers of my own committee…but wait is it my committee or the tenth step which I have learned to do automatically?  You be the judge.  Perhaps I have once again given some of my readers the bullets to shoot at me.  Or maybe I have just cleared up one of the rampant dysfunctions of A.A by bringing it into the light of truth so it doesn’t infect my heart.

You see if my peeves are out here on paper I don’t have to pretend that my loved ones or anything outside of myself are the reason for my discontent when it arises.  Writing for me has been a life saver.  Blessings to all.

Why are People in Recovery on Facebook so Mean?

I am resentful at: (including commentary exemplified core level forth/fifth step)

Why are People in Recovery on Facebook so Mean?

Seems to me that if people in FB groups including myself don’t stick to the appropriate status quoes of AA.  Or if they have opinions that differ from other people’s perceptions then well…they get bashed.  I don’t mind other people’s opinions at all.  That is what makes people interesting, when they have fresh new ideals other than my own.  Also I love it when they agree and understand where I am coming from.  Bur frankly I have been called every name in the book because of my opinions.  Which by the way no one has to read.  I rarely post on people’s walls.  Basically many recovery people who are suffering emotionally are looking for someone to crucify and I am an easy mark because of my writing.


I have been picked apart.  I recently created a fun fact finding Big Book quiz  which didn’t turn out to be so fun.  Even though my quizes generally bring in anywhere from 200 to 2,000 page views. (humans) The few people who comment on the recent quiz did it to criticize and belligerently poke insults at me.  One women even called me some childish name.  Well I get it hurt people hurt people.

I don’t pretend to not have feelings.  I don’t pretend to not care what people say to me.  I do care and it does hurt…to a point.  These are the tools I use to get past the insults, sarcasms, criticisms, and name calling.

“Society”  Shame is the core reason of addiction and people are ashamed of being ashamed.  This is why they are mean…because of the same inferiority that I myself feel at this moment.

It takes self awareness and humility to do this.

I resent the people on FB who have hurt me by their cruel words.

It effects my self esteem and confidence It triggers my inner child-like fears


My feelings do not have to be true or realistic whatsoever to have a strong effect on me.

I do want people to like me and I fear they don’t.  No I know some don’t.

Somewhere deep in my heart I am injured already.  So…I fear I am not worth Loving


_____________People are often wrong

God is my security and my Love.  I trust in God to carry me through and He doesn’t make junk. Though my trust and faith is little at times. Even though my heart feels these things and I have written them down it doesn’t mean they are actual truth except in my child like fear and in my heart. (this is the key to the relief, to not just write stuff I know intellectually is true, but to include the hearts fears is magic) They come from a place of truth by what I have lived and what I was taught.  But what I was taught was a lie.  Being an innocent child my heart believed it.   The truth is I am a loving child of God who deserves respect. Nevertheless I honor my heart because it comes from a valid place.

Solution prayer, writing, sharing,meditation, fellowship

I pray for my abusers again.  All of them.

I can’t change or get through to these people of my own accord so I pray for them.  I will keep writing because it helps me allot.  I will share my heart sometimes and my ideas to those who want to read it.

‘God Grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.’

I meditate

I find people who are kind who relate to me.  These are my pearls and I am not sure it’s right to make them semi-public.  But part of me thinks I should.

Understanding (“we remembered they were sick people”)

Without fear there is no such thing as courage.  Fear must be present for courage to exist.  People are afraid of the me in themselves.  They lack the courage to state their true hearts.  They lack the self esteem to be transparent.  They are in denial of who they are.   Everything is about blame.  If not for me (they think perhaps) then they would be happy.  If not for me then they would be at peace.  I am their beast of burden just as the fat man blames the food or the sex addict blames the woman, or the failing student blames the teacher.

Thanks for letting me share.