My sponsor is coming to visit me for my AA birthday. I have not seen her for a couple of years, though I speak with her by phone at least weekly. I had contemplated having a big birthday party, and inviting her, but decided against it. But, like family, which she is, she has invited herself to come and spend the weekend here. And I need to be like family and not scrub every surface of my house and go out and buy new sheets and towels, etc. before she comes. She was wounded last night when I told her my house is not in the shape I would like it to be in. She said “But Mary, we’re family.” We are.
She has been my sponsor since just before my 11th AA birthday. I had a sponsor, a woman I dearly loved. But my whole base of operations had moved to the other side of town when I took the job at the hospital. One morning, at the 6:30 meeting, my pal Charlie, may he rest in peace, asked me who my sponsor was. I told him. He, who never learned how to mind his own business, told me I should ask Maureen to be my sponsor. I smiled and let it go, while wanting to tell him to mind his own damn business. A moment later, Maureen walked in the door. She NEVER went to that meeting! I mulled it over during the meeting, decided this might be divine intervention, and after the meeting ended I asked her if she would be my sponsor.
Others sponsors when asked would say “I’d LOVE to!” or “In a New York minute!” or other expressions of glee. When I asked Maureen, she said she would sponsor me, “if you are ready to work the program.” I was sober 10 years! What the hell was THAT supposed to mean? I couldn’t sleep that night I was so upset by that response. I was always ready to “work the program!” And as she got to know me, she learned that.
She moved away maybe 7 or 8 years ago. She and her husband retired and moved to the western slope of the state. We visited several times a year, until the last couple of years. Her health is not what it was. They despise coming to the big city. It is a big ordeal for me to get over there. yadda yadda yadda.
She has been my sponsor for 19 years. She is extremely important in my life. She is now sober 41 years, and I will be sober 30 on the 24th of July. We often marvel at these years, and always end up thanking God, because the “best of our ability” could have never gotten us here. We call each other “sisters of choice.”
Her red hair is now grey. Her sparkling blue eyes are now throwing off less sparks. Her quick, sharp wit has lost its edge. Her heart though is as true as ever. I am more grateful for these 19 years with her than I can begin to express. She knows. She is as grateful for me. It is a wonderful gift from God. Thank God I had the ability to set my pride aside that day and listen to Charlie (which I found painful) and ask for help when I didn’t think I needed any.
I’ll get to see my sponsor and her husband in a couple of weeks! It won’t hurt me to clean the house after all, right?
p.s., for anyone reading who knows me and my sponsor in “real life,” please read this in the spirit of anonymity. Please.