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Post Info TOPIC: Sposorship Family Meetings, Good or Bad? (need help)


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Sposorship Family Meetings, Good or Bad? (need help)


confuseI am part of a sponsorship family that goes on a camp out every year. I haven't been yet but hear it is a wonderful time. The guy who host it has 30+ years clean and there is around 300 people that go to this event. They consist of all the men that he sponsors and that they sponsor on down the line.

One of the guys he sponsors (my grand sponsor) hosts a meeting once a month at his home. My sponsor and I attend as well as a few others in the sponsorship family.

In this monthly meeting we eat, read a step, then go around the room and share on the reading as well as our own lives. 

The host has said, This is not an NA meeting.

It reminds me of Bible Studies I went to years ago (while I was still in active addiction) and sometimes it doesn't feel right because of the leader/host structure of the meeting.

My clean date is 9/30/2011, working step 7, and I have been attending this meeting over a year now, and just recently started having doubts about this meeting.

At the convention last year the speaker bashed "sponsorship families" as being a way to feed one "old timers" ego. I dismissed it at the time but recalled it the other night as I was sitting there listening to my great grand sponsor as he hosted the meeting.

I want to talk this over with my sponsor but thought I would reach out to others not so close to the issue first.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?    

 

**UPDATE**

Your comments are awesome guys! Thanks! Mike you confirmed my thoughts. I left out some other info out on purpose because I didn't want you guys telling me what I thought I wanted to hear. Here's some more info.

My Grand Sponsor, who started hosting this meeting little over a year ago, said from the get that it wasn't an NA meeting and that we could all take turns hosting it. At first it felt like we all were equal and could freely share. Over time though it's moved into a different model.

Now the host (my grand sponsor) has taken on the air of a leader since he has 19 + years and everyone there is under him in some way. He says great things and has a lot of wisdom. A couple months ago he made comments to me and another guy challenging what we had said and he did this in group. It made me feel very uncomfortable because we don't hang out or talk, and he doesn't know very much about my day to day life.

What he said made no sense to me because it wasn't true. I feel that if I were to "poke" back so-to-speak in group that it would be frowned upon. What started as a meeting of equals has somehow turned into a group with a leader. I told him the other day that we just don't know each other that well so he (my Grand Sponsor) is coming out to go to a meeting with me this week. He lives 26 miles away. I don't want to talk to my sponsor about it yet because this is his sponsor.

My sponsor is awesome. He never tells me what to do even though I sometimes want him to. Our relationship is all about recovery and service so he is not a friend in the traditional sense of hanging out or doing things together. He has his life and I am making a new one. He truly helps me in my recovery! The only thing we have in common is the disease and recovery and it's working great.

I really don't know a whole lot about his sponsor (my grand sponsor) except what I see and hear at this monthly meeting. I am wondering why he has taken an interest in me like this. I feel "stuck" because I feel like I can't bring this up without getting shot down. Your suggestions are helping me think through this and come up with a plan to deal with this in a loving manner! The last thing I want are resentments for any of us, these are the kinds of things I use over and I want to be careful!

Any more thoughts?

    



-- Edited by Bigmaky on Monday 17th of June 2013 12:07:52 PM



-- Edited by Bigmaky on Monday 17th of June 2013 12:14:44 PM

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HI and welcome to MIP
I wouldn't get hung up about the details of whether or not it's a sanctioned event.
If you think you would have a good time hanging out with this bunch of guys then go for it.
If not then don't.
The only places I would actively avoid are gatherings where there would be drugs/alcohol.
Thanks for posting and keep coming back.

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Bigmaky, what Avid said, stay away from negative thoughts. Our disease wants us to compare out, find fault, so we will leave and our disease can do us in. Sounds like a pretty cool thing. A lot of us didn't really have much family. I kind of look for it where I can find it.

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Dean


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I have mixed feelings about sponsorship families in NA.

On the positive side, they can provide a great means of fellowship and support.

On the negative, they can be like cliques. The only requirement for membership in NA is a desire to stop using. We all have an equal right to be in a meeting and recover.

It really just depends on how the people deal with the whole sponsorship family thing--whether they make it a good thing or not.

I can tell you this...Nowhere is the Basic Text does it talk about sponsorship families. This is something that addicts have created for their own purposes.



-- Edited by Dave R on Tuesday 18th of June 2013 06:20:06 AM

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My name's Mike, I'm grateful Recovering Addict. By the Grace of My Higher Power whom I choose to call God through the Power of NA working towards 33 years Clean come 11/27/13. As long as the ties that binds as together are stronger than those that would tear us apart all will be well.

I happen to be one of the founders of our Area Service Committee. I happen to be one of the founders of the oldest continuously running NA Area annual retreat. I happen to be the founder of our Area Hotline. My service resume in NA goes on and on. So what. It is not MY ASC, not MY retreat, not MY Hotline etc. etc. etc. And years ago I backed way off Area Service because to some I was being put too high on a pedestal, dangerous for me and for them.

What might happen to others if it was identified as MY ASC, MY retreat etc. ? What might happen to others who might be part of this ficticous Family AND I the Head, the Leader, the Founder, the supposed Great Spiritual Guru got loaded? When I look a Retreat Flyer saying it is FOR "first name" "last name" and their line of sponsorship it makes my skin crawl, it goes against I all I know about the spirit of Anonymous Selfless service to the still suffering addict in NA, sounds more like an Amway Retreat.



-- Edited by Mike M on Monday 17th of June 2013 11:19:14 PM

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Dave makes a good point.
I have been at business meetings where a sponsorhip family voted as a unified bloc and routinely imposed the
sponsors will on the entire group. It became a 'personality over principles' group and as a result I withdrew from it.
But that was the exception rather than the rule. Most of the other sponsorship families I know of exist more for
mutual support and socialization than control. It really all depends on the character of the sponsor 'head' of the family

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I have been in a large sponsorship family for years , we have a retreat each year ,we rent a Boy Scout camp for a weekend . Now that I have changed sponsors ,they have a giant retreat in Michigan each year.I hope someday to attend one of them .When we make our flyer for the retreat we do not put NA symbols on it . It is called Circle of Arms.

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When I came into NA my first time in the 70's after a couple months I asked someone to be my sponsor. Dan replied I'd love to be your NA Spiritual Guru and lead you in recovery. He was hip, slick, cool and "clean" and talked a great talk! I didn't know about pedestals or self agrandizing back then. Some months later he went back out. Then I went back out. Dan eventually killed himself. A couple years later I crawled back into a meeting dying inside still loaded. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Clean since 11/27/80 and stay as far away as possible from any Recovery Pedestal scenario whether from above or below the pedestal. I've seen far too many die over the years who would not or could not fully surrender to the Spiritual Principles of NA.



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Kaz


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*** Beware the Bloodline Bullshit ***

The family groups are often called "Bloodlines".  They have a "Branded Recovery" that reflects the practices and opinions of the sponsor with the most clean-time.  They effectively exclude other members, especially newcomers, who are trying to get involved but have the "wrong" sponsor.  They will have functions that other NA members are not invited or allowed to attend.  As stated earlier, they are also very effective at group conscience, because they are ALWAYS the majority and voting goes the way of the sponsor's will.  These groups are usually led by knowledgeable people who have a lot of clean time and experience with the steps and traditions, but are controlling (I know one in particular that is the most angry person I've ever met in NA).  Newcomers who get a sponsor in these groups seem to be confrontation, closed-minded.  They learn about NA recovery ONLY from those in that family group, and they seem to attract the vulnerable "Social Chameleon" personalities easily who want to be a part of something bigger. 

Disclaimer:  The bloodlines I've seen are just a small sampling.  My experiences could be the exception.  I could be completely wrong. 



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Bloodlines.
Wow. Sounds creepy.
I have never heard it used in my area, so I don't think it's a term that has widespread use.
At least I hope not.


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Kaz


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I don't know how prevalent they are in other places, but in Texas they are pretty common.  I was recently at the Texas State Convention in San Antonio and one Sponsorship group has actually had T-Shirts made.  I've also seen them in Dallas, Tyler and up into north Texas like Texarakana.  It's kind of the thinking like  "My Sponsor Can Beat Up Your Sponsor".  They claim "sponorship lineage" from well known NA members and Circuit Speakers.   Some have an almost Cult like following.  evileye Maybe I'm just jealousdisbelief ;)



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The bloodline group has come to Tulsa. I must say I donāt believe this is what NA is supposed to be about. I know we are supposed to accept other addicts where they are at, but itās hard to watch a group so blatantly go against our traditions. Truly a sad time for Tulsa NA

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I'm in one. It makes no such claims about lineage, bloodlines, or any other 'we are better then you' BS. It's all about recovery, all the time. From my experience the more an addict can feel 'part of' the better.


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Dave


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Itās a really touchy subject in our town. Everybody canāt stand them here, but you are told not to speak about it. Many of our wiser members have told me it will eventually die off, but Iām still waiting. Iāve also heard itās an issue in Texas and Arkansas as well. Nowhere in our literature does it talk about sponsorship families and I believe that those who came before us would be quite disappointed. The worst part is they worship the literature while breaking damn near half the traditions. And itās really REALLY culty... Like branch davidian stuff Gah

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If you take a step back and observe you will notice that these types of groups are probably full of people whom you DONāT want what they have. Ego issues, relationship issues, no drivers license, bank account is negative, lives with parents, etc. It is usually the ones who talk about the principles the most who are unable to practice them. Just stay away from them, but donāt ever feel like you canāt talk about it.

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It does resemble corruption, you are correct. I guess my biggest frustration is the disunity it promotes to the fellowship as a whole. I wonder how many people have left our fellowship because they felt left out? People are dying it there, going against traditions may cost someone their life...

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