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If we are to clear away the wreckage of our past and build a new life, we must have a vision – an articulated pathway down which we can navigate.

“Steps Eight and Nine are concerned with personal relations. First, we take a look backward and try to discover where we have been at fault; next we make a vigorous attempt to repair the damage we have done; and third, having thus cleaned away the debris of the past, we consider how, with our new-found knowledge of ourselves, we may develop the best possible relations with every human being we know.” (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step 8, paragraph 1)

I must therefore ask God for this vision and pathway, for help and guidance in the roles I play, for the sane and sound ideal for my conduct in all areas of my life. These lists are by no means finite and they do overlap. I’ve not done this exercise before but can immediately see how beneficial it will be to consult/ retain in my awareness.

AA member 

  • Be a leader by example only
  • Oppose no one – stand for, not against
  • Share my experience and the result – do not insist on the ‘right’ way
  • Be discreet about what I share with whom
  • Be kind about those not present

Sponsor

  • Be a leader by example – share stories of my experience, don’t tell my sponsees what to do
  • Offer what I have and let it go
  • Humility – remember they are in God’s hands, not mine
  • Create a safe environment for them to go through their processes; avoid criticism and rigidity
  • Talk in terms of what works and what doesn’t, not right and wrong
  • Don’t take anything they do or say personally
  • Always give credit to AA – the glory is not mine
  • Encourage
  • Be available – return calls on the same day, meet up face-to-face
  • Ask for God’s guidance
  • Don’t take their side in arguments or side against them
  • Don’t have a plan for their recovery
  • Patience – remember they are not well, and will get better in God’s time, not mine. Don’t expect or demand a change immediately
  • Don’t ram home suggestions that aren’t welcome
  • Don’t run after them
  • Be honest – don’t withhold useful truth because they may not like it
  • Be kind at all times
  • When they disagree with me, let it go – arguing won’t help
  • Be impartial and detached

Sponsee

  • Be open-minded – allow my thinking to be challenged
  • Be honest – I can’t recover otherwise, and dishonesty obstructs my sponsor’s ability to help me
  • Be willing – be compliant, follow suggestions without delay, regardless of how I feel about them (this is easier when I absolutely trust my sponsor and the process)
  • Don’t procrastinate in doing the work or asking for help
  • Ask questions/ ask for help
  • Don’t argue – accept with grace the wisdom that is being imparted and if I don’t agree, think about it/ allow it to digest/ discuss with another member I trust
  • Be grateful and say thank you

Friend/ Sister

  • Be interested in them – demonstrate this by asking questions, listening
  • Focus on what I can give/ offer… not what I can take
  • Be loyal – avoid gossip and judgement. Watch for jealousy, envy, bitterness
  • Be positive – fun, laughter
  • Appreciate differences and accept disagreements. Don’t focus on their ‘faults’ – we all have them! “Whoever seeks a friend without a fault remains without one.”~ Turkish proverb
  • Do not use past misdeeds to punish or manipulate
  • Be open, honest, real
  • Be kind – don’t criticize
  • Celebrate their joys with them and support them in their losses/ sorrow
  • Support the person even if I disagree with the situation
  • Be reliable – show up!

Daughter

  • Regular contact with thoughtful, kind messages/ send them things/articles they might like
  • Be emotionally open – stop hiding who I am
  • Be helpful – chores and financially, where possible
  • Concentrate on my own affairs – be an example
  • Be grateful and demonstrate this
  • Don’t criticize – be polite and kind
  • Be attentive, non-judgmental, listen
  • See the good they intend – know they want the best for me

Girlfriend/ Partner 

  • Prioritise my relationship with myself and my Higher Power – I cannot be dependent on my partner for my worth and my happiness. I must cultivate an internal experience of love-consciousness and find stability within myself.
  • Watch my behaviour and actions – am I responding out of love or out of fear?
  • “Avoid fault-finding and argument like the plague” – if I am dissatisfied, turn the spotlight on myself
  • Take responsibility for my feelings, experiences and actions. No blaming.
  • Practise integrity at all times – eg. speaking when frightened and don’t want to speak; not speaking when I feel compelled to speak/ lash out
  • Be present when they are speaking – not preparing replies or judging
  • Release attachment to the outcome and trust the universe
  • Enlist the help and guidance of my sponsor and utilise the twelve steps. Romances and finances fall under the category of “practising these principles in all our affairs”.
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