Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Acceptance, Responsibility, Powerlessness, and Letting Go

Today I was confronted by my powerlessness, and was taught an important lesson in acceptance. I hope it’s a lesson I can carry through to many aspects of my life.

For weeks, my sponsee has been worrying about today, the anniversary of a tragedy in his life. This is my first time as a sponsor, and I wanted to do whatever possible to help him through the day with as little anguish as possible, thinking that would keep him sober. I knew the day would be a challenge, but figured I would provide the support my sponsee needed.

I went into today with an open mind, figuring I would do whatever my sponsee wanted, and just be with him to keep him happy. I figured with this attitude, an attitude of acceptance, I would enjoy the day, regardless of how it went, and be in the best frame of mind to help him deal with the challenges of the day.

My sponsee had specific expectations for the day, knowing exactly what he wanted to accomplish and how he wanted to accomplish it. He was rigid in his wants, and as a result when one thing after another did not go as planned, he became more and more irritated. His mood got worse and worse throughout the day, and by the end he had decided to go to a drinking buddy’s house to hang out and watch some wrestling.

The worst part was he admitted that he felt like a drink may be just what he needed, given the circumstances of the day. He couldn’t see the dangers of going back out, and seemed intent on relieving his stress by self-medicating.

I talked to my sponsee about acceptance, acceptance of the events of the day, and how he could create a positive attitude for himself if he accepted that this was the way the day was supposed to go. I talked to him about powerlessness, his powerlessness to affect the events of the day, and his powerlessness over alcohol once he took that first drink. I talked about the great strides he’s made this past month, and the potential consequences of going out. But he seemed to be despondent.

I went into a meeting, and spoke about the day, asking if there were a better way I could have handled the event, or something I could have said that would have helped keep my sponsee sober. And with the help of the rooms, I learned my lesson!

I realized that for all my desire to accept the events of the day, and to help my sponsee accept the events of the day, I was struggling with acceptance. I need to accept that, if my sponsee wants to go out, that’s his decision, and I’m powerless over it. Yes, the various things I said were probably good ideas, and perhaps I could have tried harder to persuade him to go to a meeting. But in the end of the day, I have no control over what he does.

What’s more, it’s not my responsibility to keep him sober. I can give him suggestions, be supportive of him, and point out the ramifications of choosing to drink, but in the end of the day, I need to let go and let God, and allow him to make his own decisions. Anything beyond that is not my responsibility, and any more that I try to do is my will over God’s will, and will only make matters worse.

I called my sponsee, before going to eat with friends from the meeting, and told him that I cared for him, and would care for him regardless if he stayed sober or went out. I reminded him of the potential consequences for going out, but also said that perhaps he needed more research, and that I would not judge him either way. When he asked if I was giving him permission to drink, I told him that I wasn’t, but it wasn’t my place to give or not give permission, only to be a support for him regardless of his decision.

I was worried about my sponsee, but I knew I had to let go and let God. Odds are that he would still be alive tomorrow, and still need my support. But a crazy thing happened; he called me a half hour ago, and told me that he had not drunk. He went to his friend’s house thinking he would, but in the end of the day, he thought of all the reasons I had expressed, and decided to keep his sobriety day.

I’m very happy for him, and there is a tremendous amount of joy in my heart. In the end, I know that I had little or nothing to do with his staying sober, and that God did for me what I could not do for myself. But I am so glad that, for this occasion, my will and God’s will were the same. And even more so, I’m glad that I’ve been taught such a valuable lesson about my role and responsibilities as a sponsor.

Posted by Scottage at 2:16 AM / | |