Self-Honesty in Sponsorship

by Amelia (Suzie)

When I first entered the rooms, I was struck by the level of honesty I experienced as my new fellows told story after story of their challenges with food. And I watched the group receive each person’s sharing with dignity, respect, and acceptance. Over time, I began to understand that being a part of this process could help me overcome some of my most deeply embedded and destructive habits and ways of thinking around food and eating.

Isolation is the hallmark of the compulsive eater. We all know how easy it has been to hide in shame and embarrassment because of our compulsion, or due to our weight and body image issues. And as we’ve hidden, we’ve created and encouraged the conditions that feed our disease.

When I begin a relationship with a sponsee I ask them to be honest with me. And I commit to being truthful with them. I’ve learned that I can only get better through telling my truth. Through sharing our personal stories, we enter into partnership with one another and begin to break free from the terrible chains of isolation. From this position we can begin to heal.

When I became a sponsee for the first time I was deeply moved by the presence and consistency of my sponsor. I couldn’t believe someone was willing to listen to me and be there for me on a daily basis to help me heal. My sponsor’s caring and trust gave me strength to tell some of my most difficult and shame-inducing tales. Miraculously, nothing bad happened. The miracle was that I began to get better. Now, three years later, I find sponsoring others is a privilege, a joy, and a huge asset to my continuing journey in OA. And I have come to rely to my current sponsor in ways I could never have imagined just a few years ago. The richness and insight she brings to my life and program is a tremendous gift.

OA is as much about growing in relationships as it is about healing our problems with food. And self-honesty is the first step toward both.

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