A skype call today from a long-time A.A. old-timer and "Akronite" Mark G. of Canada allowed me to ask him his story, tell what he does when deciding to sponsor someone, how he approaches God, A.A.'s origins and history; Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, and the Bible; the Big Book and the Twelve Steps; what is expected of the sponsee in terms of serious work in the 12 Step realm; and how long it takes him to work with a sponsee and take him or her through the steps and see continuing long-term sobriety success.
Mark has spoken twice on our Christian Recovery Radio Show interviews. He attended the First Nationwide A.A. History Conference of Christian leader snd workers in A.A. And he will be bringing some of his Akronite folks with him to participate in The First International Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference in Portland, Maine when Ken and I will be speaking at the conference and staying in the area for a week to meet and talk with the leaders and workers attending. Mark brings his sponsees down to Dr. Bob's Home in Akron, Ohio; and they go through the surrender process that Dr. Bob used in early A.A.
All of which let me see how effective the several major topics at our Conference can really present more leaders, more subjects, and more helpful information. Thus, we were planning a segment on sponsorship--far different from ideas presented by Hazelden and by A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature. Too many folks come into the Fellowship, get a weak sponsor who lacks adequate knowledge of the origins and history of early A.A., who doesn't how that old school A.A. got its basic ideas--particularly from the Bible (as Dr. Bob said it did), who is not thoroughly familiar with the Big Book and how to take the Twelve Steps, and who hasn't a clue as to the present-day foundations for reliance on the Creator and utilizing the Bible as our pioneers did.
So it will be with sponsorship. Mark will be on a panel to tell his personal story as to how he sponsors men, gives them instruction, teaches them the Big Book, takes them through the Steps, and minces no words when it comes to A.A.'s very specific solution on page 25 of the 4th edition of its Big Book and shows that the central fact is recovery was and still is the fact that the Creator has entered into the hearts and lives of AAs in a way that is truly miraculous.
Bring your friends who have been or want to be sponsors or learn how some very experienced speakers like Mark will be speaking on a panel and sharing their top stories as to how to make sponsorship serve and glorify the Creator, and enable the suffering newcomer to get well and stay well by applying old school principles to the instructions in Bill W.'s new version of the program in the 12 Steps. And who will explain and receive questions, comments, and suggestions as to how the two recovery approaches can today fit together like a hand in a glove and put new life into the rapidly dwindling practice of Twelfth-stepping in A.A. and producing happy, joyous, and free results with those previously thought to be medically incurable, hopeless, and last-gasp cases.
This approach may well be the main one adopted and effectively used at the Portland, Maine event.