Today our managing editor, Rev. Dr. Cynthia Cavalcanti, writes about letting go of her sponsor of many years and approaching long-term sobriety with a beginner’s mind.
In gratitude, harmony and support,
Everything Old Is New Again
by Cynthia Cavalcanti
During the early years of my sobriety, I went through several sponsors before I found “The One.” It’s not that the others weren’t great people––each one was wonderful in his or her own way––but the first time I heard J. share at a meeting, I realized she had something I wanted.
That was 25 years ago, and working with her has been the mainstay of my sobriety. In my home group, we have a saying: “A sober woman is a class act.” J. is the embodiment of that phrase.
In recent months, J. has been dealing with a serious health challenge. As such, she has asked her sponsees to release her as their sponsor so she can focus her energy on healing her body.
At first, I was devastated. “What will I do without her?” was my lament.
The gift of unconditional love and acceptance J. has given has shaped the person I am today. I have sought to model her example in my relationships as a sponsor, a minister, a family member, and a friend. I’m not always perfect at it, but because of J., I have learned patience, compassion, and kindness.
Because J. has been reliable, I have learned to be reliable––unreliability having been one of the character defects I deeply desired to heal. She has helped me turn self-hatred into self-love and fear into faith. I know how to give instead of taking, and I know how to receive.
I could go on and on. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, there was a moment when I realized my gratitude for J. would fill volumes were I to write it all down, so I set out to do just that.
It began as a letter of acknowledgment, thanks, and praise. Inevitably, a few trips down memory lane crept in. For one of these, I needed to reference a note J. had written in my Big Book a long, long time ago.
As I flipped the pages to find the note, my Big Book fell apart. The Big Book I purchased at an OA meeting in 1987. The Big Book I took with me to rehab in 1988. The only Big Book I’ve ever owned––the one I’ve been repairing with duct tape and a glue stick for quite some time now.
I might have wept had I not been laughing so hard!
I called J. immediately, and this is what she said: “Things fall apart so that greater things can come together.”
So I begin anew. A new day. A new Big Book. A new sponsor.
I am ready to approach sobriety like a newcomer, again. I am willing. I am teachable.
I am a sober woman today. And I am grateful for all my sponsors: the handful of men and women who held my hand during the first few years, my beloved J. who has nurtured me for a quarter century, and my as-yet-unidentified new sponsor who will guide me through the next phase of the journey.
One day at a time in Divine right time. There is only now. There is only good. And so it is.