Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Sponsor Is NOT My Higher Power (Neither Are Kanye or Jay-Z)

My  name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Question: Has anyone ever put his or her sponsor on a pedestal and, in effect, turned him or her into a Higher Power? I was talking with my sponsor a few mornings ago and realized that is exactly what I've been doing. I am a huge people pleaser, and I have to face the reality that one of the people I want most to please is my sponsor. Like, in a kind of unhealthy way.

Now that I've started working on the 11th Step, I do a daily 10th Step and read it to my sponsor. On the first day I did that, I had to answer the following question: Have I kept something to myself that should be discussed with another person at once? Well, I immediately knew the answer to that question. I had not yet talked with my sponsor about Mrs. Charlie's and my upcoming trip to Cancun. Early on, when I first mentioned it to her, she had kind of a negative reaction to it, and I remember being defensive and angry about that. Since then, I have totally decided to go and made plans to go. We're leaving in about 5 weeks! And I kept meaning to tell her, but the closer it got, the more foolish I felt, and so I put it off until I read that question.

So on Friday, I took a deep breath and told her. And you know what? It's not really a bit deal. What is a big deal is the way I've been treating her. And it's not just regarding this trip. It's really about my whole program. Even though she's been so clear with me, I have continued to make this abstinence about pleasing her on some level. And that's a problem. She is not my Higher Power. She shouldn't even be one of my Higher Powers!

And she suggested I talk about it with people and decided whether I'd be able to continue to work with her or whether this might be a good time to find someone else.

So. Anyone ever have anything similar happen? How do you deal with people pleasing? And how do you deal with it when it's directly related to your sponsor?


FredT said...

Sorry Charlie, I never had that problem. I figure most people are to busy watching out for themselves to care what I was or was not doing. If they wait until I please them, they have a long wait coming.
I could never rap my mind around the god thing, but I do believe in cleaning up and improving my life.
I just figured I should hang a note just to say that you are not alone.
Sponsors are just people with their own agendas, attachments, aversion, delusions, and concepts. Relationships with such are never smooth, and in the end, we each are responsible for our own actions. All we can learn is that two people are different, and just how different. The important issue is can you maintain the important aspects of your program there?

Sujobr304 said...
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G. Rabanon said...

I definitely have that issue, but I never really thought of it as a "higher power" thing, though now that you put it that way, it makes lots of sense. The reason I never thought of it in terms of higher power is because I always recognized that my sponsor is human and very imperfect (it may help that he's younger than I am in that respect) but my desire to please him, or rather fear of disappointing him is very higher-power-ish. I always put off talking to him if I haven't had a chance to work enough on my stepwork or are feeling anxious that there's something I don't think he'll want to hear, or he'll tell me something that I don't want to hear. There is a lot of shame going on there for me, and I don't usually associate that with my higher power, Whom I see as loving and supportive. Of course my sponsor is too, but he's much more scary in some ways than my real Higher Power, because my Higher Power always knows what's in my head, and I never have to explain things to HP, usually HP explains things to me.

SusanLauren said...

All that matters is what your REAL Higher Power wants you to do, not what you think your sponsor wants you to do or what you think your sponsor wants to hear. I understand your ambivalence about OA HOW. I have felt the same -- is it really necessary to be THIS STRICT and THIS RIGID with my food plan and working of the tools and the program? At the same time, OA HOW is working. Yes, at times it feels like a straight jacket. Other times it feels like freedom. My feelings are real but may not be reality. The question is whether something less stringent will work equally as well? The risk is giving up something I know that works for something I don't know that will work. That is a fearful place. Susan