I’ve been having the more-than-usual number of drinking dreams lately. My AA friend Michael says that it’s because I’m floundering without a sponsor. I go to six meetings every week, pray and meditate, and try to work the steps consistently, but I’ve almost always have had a sponsor throughout my sobriety until now.
I had the most incredible sponsor when I got sober in New Orleans, in Sept. 1996. Joseph was the most selfless, giving and wise man. I then relocated in 2006, and I found long-distance sponsorship difficult. I didn’t pick up the phone as often as I could have. Then Joseph passed away.
I got a local sponsor who had 20+ years of sobriety and he seemed to be working the program well. Turns out he was a gossip and kind of an asshole, so I broke ties with him.
Then I got a sponsor who seemed to be working his program well. Also, he followed the spiritual teachings of Pema Chodron, the Buddhist nun that I follow. For the first year all seemed well, but one Saturday, while I was in L.A. visiting my mom, I got a call from AA Michael saying that my sponsor was arrested for child porn possession. It was on the tv news and in the newspapers.
When he was released and sent back home with an ankle monitor while awaiting trial, he had everyone believe that he was innocent. He said the police found one picture on his computer, and that it was of three young ‘guys’ in the shower with semi-erections, and nothing else. The picture, he said, was not porn or of underage guys. Many of us in the community stood by him. Then, one day his parole officer came by his house and found a porn image on his cellphone. This was a breach of his parole and he was sent to another city, to a halfway house. I was so naive, I asked him, “How did the picture get on your phone?” He told me that he downloaded it. I was pissed. I was experiencing abandonment issues and felt let down. I told him so, and I stopped communicating with him.
He is now in a federal prison still awaiting sentencing. The trial lasted only two days and the jury took only a couple of hours to find him guilty of all charges, which included possession of hundreds of images and movies of real children. The DA’s report stated that some of the victims had been rescued. Many of us, especially his sponsees, felt betrayed by him. Before this all happened, he once told me, “All my sponsees have been molested as children.” Reflecting back on that statement, I wonder if he was a predator. I wonder if he ‘got off’ on my tales of being molested when I was five years old.
The next sponsor I got was a straight man who considered himself a fiscal Republican, but a registered Republican all the same, and I was concerned with that. I had known him for many years and I admired his program and his service work, and we really got along, so why not? Also, he shared with me that he dabbled with gay sex before he got married to his wife, and also after they married while they were both still using, so I felt that he wasn’t conservative with social matters. He was concerned because he never sponsored anyone with more sobriety time than him. I assured him that it would be okay. So, we went through the steps and it was fine, though he talked a lot about himself and made our meetings about him, so it didn’t feel like I was getting the sponsoring and step work that I had hoped. After we completed the steps, we drifted apart, and I stopped going to the one meeting that I always saw him at.
So now I’m looking for yet another sponsor. I want a guy who’s gay like me, and who’s been in a long-term relationship. I met with a possible choice last Friday for coffee. He’s been sober since 1987 and has been with the same partner since the late 1980s (I think). The thing that concerned me with our meeting is that he said I would be a low-maintenance sponsee, and that he would start me at step 8. Huh?! Then he said we could meet in two weeks.
So, I may call him and say that I don’t think it will work out.
Today I met with my friend Will. He’s has much less sober time than me, but he’s gay and in a long-term relationship, and we’ve got similar childhood trauma logs. He’s AA Michael’s sponsor, and Michael has been sober longer than me, and it seems to be working for him. He suggested Will to me as a possibility. Talking with Will at lunch today, I think we could co-sponsor each other, which is what he’s looking for since his sponsor isn’t calling him back much. By the way, his sponsor is that asshole who was the gossip that was my sponsor (three sponsors ago).
So I’ve got hope, but with my track record I’m going to keep my expectations low. I’ll trudge the road of happy destiny today knowing that I’m not alone no matter what happens.