We may often pass through twelfth step experiences where we will seem to be temporarily off the beam. These will appear as big setbacks at the time, but will be seen later as stepping-stones to better things. For example, we may set our hearts on getting a particular person sobered up, and after doing all we can for months, we see him relapse. Perhaps this will happen in a succession of cases, and we may be deeply discouraged as to our ability to carry A.A.’s message. Or we may encounter the reverse situation, in which we are highly elated because we seem to have been successful. Here the temptation is to become rather possessive of these newcomers. Perhaps we try to give them advice about their affairs which we really aren’t competent to give or ought not to give at all. Then we are hurt and confused when the advice is rejected, or when it is accepted and brings still greater confusion. By a great deal of ardent Twelfth Step work we sometimes carry the message to so many alcoholics that they place us in a position of trust. They make us, let us say, the group’s chairman. Here again we are presented with the temptation to overmanage things, and sometimes this results in rebuffs and other consequences which are hard to take.
But in the longer run we clearly realize that these are only the pains of growing up, and nothing but good can come from them is we turn more and more to the entire Twelve Steps for the answers.
I don’t have much to say about this. I often see things go awry, and like I’ve written before, I question the need and usefulness of a sponsor beyond the newcomer days, when someone needs to have the steps and the program explained to them.