I am preparing to send an email to my first sponsee, Andrew, today to let him know that I can no longer be his sponsor: he hasn’t sent me his journal entries at all and the step work hasn’t been completed early.
Part of me feels like a bit of a hypocrite because I wasn’t always right on top of the work in the morning, I at times missed my journal entries, and I didn’t go to two support meetings as required.
I want to help Andrew, but I also want to follow the rules of the program.
Mark had sent me this email when Andrew had emailed saying he would get his work done as early as he’d thought:
Nate, it doesn’t sound like he’s in a very good position to do the 90 day program. His work needs to be done FIRST thing and LAST thing EVERY day. If you allow them to do otherwise, you are hurting them, not helping them. He needs to be available to follow through on his commitment with exactness, as he agreed to, or he will need to postpone the program until he is. I made it clear that these things were not negotiable and they’re not. Addiction does not care about any of our “extenuating circumstances” and so we must be diligent, or else. Feel free to forward this to him, if need be.
I just sent this email to Andrew:
Thanks for submitting your work yesterday.
I sent you this email the other day:
Thanks for submitting your step work early in the day.
I just wanted to give you a heads up about the seriousness of doing your best to get the step work done at the first of your day and submitting a journal at the end of the day. I really want to help you but one of the criteria I have to follow as a sponsor is to hold my sponsees accountable. I remember when I first started the sponsorship program – I wasn’t really accustom to working a step each day, doing the work first thing in the morning, or writing in my journal consistently. Then my sponsor gave me an ultimatum that I would need to comply, or he would have to drop me and I would have to re-apply when I was ready to fully commit. This definitely woke me up and helped me realize that what I had signed up for was the real deal.
I look forward to working with you.
I need you to make sure you are ready for this commitment as well.
A couple reminders:
1. Use the word document I sent you and keep all your answers on that word document – then save it and send it to me as an attachment each day. By the end of the week, you will have all your answers in one document that we can read over together. If you have questions about this, let me know.
2. Make sure you send me a journal entry at the end of the day that summarizes how your day went.
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen your journal entries since we started, and it seems the step work isn’t getting done at the first of the day (I haven’t received your work today and it’s 12:25 pm). I realize we all have different circumstances, but, this sponsorship program requires complete commitment to the outline that Mark had you sign and agree to when you started.
At this point, I’ll need to discontinue working with you as a sponsor. When you are ready to re-commit, you’ll need to go to arpsupport.org and re-submit your information.
I wish you the best in your recovery and encourage you to submit your life and will to God – He will be there for you.
This experience makes me think of justice and mercy. I don’t know that I’ve ever really studied these topics in detail.
I read this article about Justice & Mercy titled “The Justice and Mercy of God” by Elder Holland. It’s one I want to study more: there are quite a few scripture references and I’m studying out in the living room and it’s pretty loud.
But the overall feeling I got was that justice and mercy have to co-exist. There have to be rules and consequences for our actions, but there also has to be mercy – a means of forgiveness based on penitence and repentance.
Another word that stood out was penitent.
- feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong; repentant.
“a penitent expression”
synonyms: repentant, contrite, remorseful, sorry, apologetic, regretful, conscience-stricken, rueful, ashamed, shamefaced, abject,in sackcloth and ashes”she stood there looking like a penitent child”
noun: penitent; plural noun: penitents
- a person who repents their sins or wrongdoings and (in the Christian Church) seeks forgiveness from God.
- (in the Roman Catholic Church) a person who confesses their sins to a priest and submits to the penance that he imposes.
Middle English: from Old French, from Latin paenitent- ‘repenting,’ from the verb paenitere.
I like what this means. It reminds me of the quote in Indiana Jones where it says, “Only the penitent man shall pass…”
I’m hopeful that I’m handling things the correct way with Andrew. I don’t want to be too just, but I don’t want to be so merciful that it doesn’t help in his recovery.
The whole chapter of Alma 42 is about justice and mercy. This is one section that stands out:
4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.
5 For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.
Because of Adam and Eve’s transgression, they were part of the justice of God. But they were also taught and given the information and guidance they needed in order to repent and exercise the mercy of the Atonement.
7 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.
In other words, they were given AGENCY – the freedom to act and do whatever they wanted to do. However, as they chose certain things, that freedom and liberty could be taken away due to the demands of justice.
12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;
Or, man had chosen to do his own will as opposed to God’s will, and thus, he was suffering the consequences…
13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
I’m grateful for this study so far. I hope to continue to study about this topic and learn more about how I can apply it to my life and also to my experience as a sponsor.