Since we briefly discussed how to sponsor, I thought I would post this on the blog from the handout that we read this past Sunday.
General Thoughts on Getting Newcomers Started
- Set a time to talk or meet. Honesty – daily scheduled calls –
- Set expectations in first conversation. Timelines – assignments – read/write – studying nature of problem
- Talk every day. Share your experience with getting honest with the food.
- Tell newcomers to view the Newcomer’s Orientation Video on http://oahelps.org (Westchester United Intergroup website) and read the pamphlets in the Newcomer’s Package.
- Begin the first call by carefully discussing the 15 questions with them.
- To help newcomers understand the nature of the disease and eventually to establish a plan of eating – or to assess their plan if they already have a plan – have the newcomer read and highlight the Plan of Eating pamphlet. Discuss it page by page with them. Then do the same thing with the Dignity of Choice pamphlet up to the section with examples of plans of eating. This will take several calls.
- After completing the study of the two pamphlets, have them do the 3 column A/B/C exercise and, with your help, establish a precise plan of eating they will now follow.
- After a week or two of committing their food to you and following the plan, start them on the steps. Continue daily calls and committing of food.
- Options for questions for writing on first three steps: – 30 questions in A Guide for Sponsors pamphlet (BB, 12&12, POE & Tools pamphlets) – Questions in OA Workbook – Questions in Sponsoring Through the Twelve Steps pamphlet
- Suggest they don’t deviate from their daily food plan once agreed on & committed
- Suggest they weigh and measure their food (for now).
- Suggest they weigh only once a month.
- Suggest they make daily telephone calls to three other members.
- Get them to go to as many meetings as possible.
- By your example, begin demonstrating OA program principles, such as: One Day At A Time, First Things First, Live and Let Live, Let Go And Let God, no gossiping, no taking other people’s inventories, and other principles. Lead them to feel and know that our program is one of love, concern and support. We are a fellowship of people who share a common problem and a common solution.
- Remember that slips are learning experiences. Don’t waste them! Have the sponsee do a slip inventory. Emphasize that immediately admitting a slip to you empowers him to get started again. Holding on to the secret usually leads to more eating. Slips do not need to become relapses.
- Sponsor your experience: bingers, anorexics, bulimics, restrictors, gender.
- Don’t expect success; and don’t fear failure. We do 12th step work to give what we have, so we can keep what we have been given. We’re not sponsoring or telling our story to newcomers to get them abstinent, nor to keep them in the program. We sponsor to keep what we have. This is the right motive. This motive will keep our pride out of the way, and prevent many heartaches and disappointments when some of our sponsees choose not to accept the gift of the program.
- Share your program. Keep the time on the phone program oriented. Don’t allow social conversations to override our need to carry the message. It’s important that the newcomer realize we’re where we are because of the program.
- Remember we are sharing our own experience. Don’t give professional advice. We’re not doctors, therapists, clergymen or family counselors. When people ask for such advice, guide them to the people who are competent to give it. Don’t in egotistical vanity, give it yourself. The only thing we have to give is our experience in the program.
- Don’t avoid, or apologize for God when we’re first explaining the program and our experience to newcomers. Remember the problem and the solution are physical, emotional and spiritual.
- Don’t make promises. The only thing we know for certain is that if someone follows the program sincerely, they will stay abstinent and find recovery. Initial abstinence from the numbing effect of compulsive overeating may mean feeling more pain. But as long as they are working the program completely, they can remain abstinent and serene in spite of problems.
- Share your struggle. Don’t allow yourself to be put on a pedestal. Let your sponsee know that you are only one bite away. Point out that you are only an instrument of a higher power.
- Don’t practice what you’re going to say before you talk. Practicing is what leads to making up what we’re going to say and selling rather than sharing the program. Tell them what happened to you. We all know our own story very well.
- Don’t burn yourself out twelve-stepping. We can overdo it by taking ourselves away from our family too often or wearing ourselves out…to the point of setting ourselves up to eat again. OA comes first, but that does not mean OA activities. It means the principles we learn in OA come first.
- Don’t sponsor too many people. One may be enough for some; three or four may be okay for others. We should sponsor only that number to whom we can give the full benefit of our sponsorship.
- If you give the program as it is written, you will be giving your newcomers a great gift, while at the same time holding on to the gift that the program has given you.
- Don’t predict who will make it, and who will not. It’s impossible to know. Anyone can make it that follows the program sincerely, no matter what their background, their program, or the circumstances of their life. All that’s needed is willingness…nothing else.
I hope this is helpful for everyone. Please go to the original site of this document. It is really terrific! I highly recommend it.
This is the original site where I got this information. They are located in Westchester NY
Here is another link to an excellent document on getting the Newcomer Started.
I hesitate to only post the link, due to the fluid nature of the internet. If the link no longer works, please let me know.