My name is Laurie, and I’m a recovering compulsive overeater.
I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot lately. The focus of my existence is to stand in a place of gratitude for what I am right now. It is not to stand in dissatisfaction around what I am not, what I will never be, or what I have lost. Within this core of gratitude is great admiration for the women who have mentored me in recovery as my sponsors, past and present.
The Big Book never mentions the word “sponsor” in the first 164 pages, but I cannot imagine bungling my way successfully through the wilderness of Twelve Step recovery without a guide. I just don’t have a good sense of direction. The biggest problem I’d face trying to do OA recovery without a sponsor is instead of hearing options and alternate viewpoints, I’d remain in my black-and-white mind, only hearing my own voice agreeing with my skewed thought process that always led me to abuse food.
The Big Book never mentions the word “sponsor” in the first 164 pages, but I cannot imagine bungling my way successfully through the wilderness of Twelve Step recovery without a guide.
The gift of being sponsored seemed to me to be an enormous sacrifice on the part of the sponsor: the time they give up being part patient saint, part loving supporter (sometimes exasperated, often amused), part cheerleader, and part stern boundary-setter, all beyond any kind of reciprocity. But when I learned to sponsor, I came to see sponsoring itself as an even larger gift, not just to the sponsee, but to myself and my ongoing self-expansion project to live a life full of possibilities beyond my limited imagination.
The genius of Twelve Step recovery is that what we have is essentially peer counseling. People who were active addicts are mentored through the process of getting abstinent and discover themselves in the Twelve Steps. They go on to live a life of abstinence while learning to incorporate Step Principles into their daily existence. Then they show the process to the next still-suffering compulsive eaters, who show the next, ad infinitum. We are forever refreshing our own recovery as we hear and see the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions through the eyes of those who haven’t known them before and are just realizing their magnitude and meaning in their own lives.
I am profoundly grateful to have walked in the door of OA, and I am even more grateful for sponsorship, giving and receiving.