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How to deal with quick growth

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Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

How to deal with quick growth

Post by ADH »

The meeting in Nijmegen, the Netherlands is currently at 5 members and growing, two of which are able to sponsor. Somebody in Amsterdam contacted us, wanting to start a meeting too. Now, we are able to help them with the format, but that's not the issue. What is at issue that we are facing a shortage of sponsors as the new meeting will probably start of with about 4 people.

Now, I have noticed that a lot of the local fellows are reluctant to attend online meetings because of various, but valid, reasons.

One of us, who is able to sponsor, is probably going to disappear for a while (10 weeks) in about 3 months, so we are temporarily left with just one fellow able to sponsor.

Are there any suggestions as to what we can do to remedy this situation?
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 pm

How to deal with quick growth

Post by Scott »

When the ideal solution isn't currently available, we just have to work with what we have. In AA, there's the story of a man long ago in a country where AA had not yet arrived who got a copy of their basic text, did the best he could with it, stayed sober, and founded AA in that country. Absolutely not ideal. But possible. My point is, all we can do is try to make the best of whatever is available to us.

There are very experienced sponsors in other fellowships, and a few of them are willing to help people work through the steps regardless of what flavor of addiction they suffer. I've done it both ways. I have a sponsor in NA and I've sponsored someone in a fellowship to which I do not belong. It can work fine to have recovery buddies to talk over the particulars of video gaming addiction and its withdrawals and all that, while working the steps with a sponsor who may not have experienced video gaming addiction firsthand.

Another possibility is to work with a sponsor over skype or smart phone, without attending many (or any) online meetings. There would have to be some match-making somehow, through a mutual friend or email or skype calls.

Another possibility for step work is to have a step workshop where two experienced sponsors, who don't want to take on more sponsees, help a group of CGAA members work through the steps together. Not ideal, but better than unguided step work and much better than no step work at all.
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Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

How to deal with quick growth

Post by MammaTam »


As I live in Australia, it has sometimes been a difficult task for me to connect with the CGAA Community. I connect with my Sponsor (who lives in the US) via Skype weekly and I have sponsored people in other countries the same way. I use literature from AA, NA and A woman's guide to the Big Book and I always encourage people to find an active AA, NA or GA face to face group that will make them feel welcome for direct human connections. For some people it is also useful for them to connect with their local LGBTQI Recovery community as well; they seem to really understand the "we may be different but we are the same too" factor.

It takes organisation to maintain a regular schedule and I have found it successful, but to varying degrees because often newcomers need immediate and direct contact with their sponsors. Time zone differences can make this challenging, but if the individual can get phone numbers from their local face to face group this really helps too.

Stay in contact with your local CGAA members and build unity; the literature helps educate us and this is fantastic but its really the relationships we develop that keeps our group and yours strong.

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Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

How to deal with quick growth

Post by MorganF »

I have heard it said in various of my AA meetings I have attended that anybody can sponsor someone else on any step that they have worked themselves. My gut tells me that that is true as I have been "raised" to think of 12th step work as being something that we can start doing at any point in our recovery and that sponsorship is no more special than simply one person sharing their experience with and giving some direction to another. Due to my own limitations and the short supply of sponsors for the OOMG meetings, I might yet end up passing a new comer on to one of my sponsees before they have formally reached Step 12, if it feels like a good fit.

The challenge I see with this is maturity. I had 3.5 years of Al-anon teaching me how to let go and let God when it comes to other folk's recovery; but even then my desire to control my sponsees could get the better of me at times (mostly showing up as frustration and impatience). So also not ideal; but an option nevertheless. Needless to say, someone who hasn't completed the steps probably shouldn't be trying to sponsor others unless they are, themselves, under the supervision of an experienced sponsor.

If I were going to hand a newcomer over to one of my sponsees, I would probably have my sponsee read the chapter on "Working with Others" in the Big Book, definitely have them read another fellowship's pamphlet on sponsorship and discuss it with them, and impress two important points on them:
1) Never tell the other person what to think or do or try to tell the sponsee who they are (e.g. take their inventory for them). We only offer suggestions (albeit very directly at times) and our experience, then let the other person follow their path/make their own decisions.
2) Only ever speak from your own experience because that's all we really have to teach with. If you don't know, then say so and encourage the sponsee to speak with others about the matter.

Hope this is helpful Xander! Its a good problem to have, if you ask me :)
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Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

How to deal with quick growth

Post by hirshthg »

My experience has been that if you start working with 4 people only 1 of them actually stays the course working the steps. That means that working with 4 people usually ends up being only one person. Take all 4 and see what happens.
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