Please suggest ways to help long time sponsors manage the daily task of supporting all their sponsees and still take on new ones. Sometimes there are just too many and the task feels overwhelming!
I understand this feeling of “overwhelm” in sponsoring. I have belonged to groups where there are many more people needing sponsors than there are people who are willing to sponsor.
If you have not already read it, A Guide for Sponsors is an excellent resource. Items 10 and 11 directly relate to your concern.
Item 10 says (in part):
“Although sponsoring supports your recovery, be realistic on how many individuals you can help. Ask yourself how available you can be to each person. Don’t neglect personal needs, family time, or job demands, etc. You are the best judge of these issues and can enlist your own sponsor for help.”
As much as we would like to say “Yes,” when sponsoring is overwhelming we may need to say “No.” Have you discussed your feelings of overwhelm with your own sponsor? You might discuss how much time you are realistically able to spend each day sponsoring others. You could look at how much time you are spending with each person you sponsor.
I enjoy talking with the people I sponsor and find that I need to set a timer to remind me when time is up. If there is something important that needs to be discussed, we set up another time when we can discuss the issue further. I have a list of standard questions that I ask at the beginning of each phone call so that we discuss the most important issues first.
Item 11 says (in part):
“If, however, you are already sponsoring your “limit,” you may be unable to give the new sponsee the time and attention needed. Introduce the person to other people in recovery. Often someone you sponsor would be ideal.”
I have found that this is a good way to get the people I sponsor into sponsoring. (Sometimes they need a ‛gentle nudge.’) I remind the people I sponsor that I am always available to them as a resource when needed.
With the permission of the people I recommend, I say, “I am sorry. I am at my limit at the moment, but I can give you the names of other people I know who are sponsoring. I am always available for outreach calls.”
— Members of the Board of Trustees provide answers to Ask-It Basket questions
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Click on the link below to see an archive of previous Ask-It Basket questions and answers. Remember that these answers are the opinions of individual members of the Board of Trustees and others may have different opinions. It’s a good idea to read other OA materials that address an issue and ask around in meetings for more opinions. Also keep in mind that circumstances change and opinions are refined over time. Ask-It Basket Archive