This question has come up a lot lately: “How do you help someone who’s new to sobriety and recovery?”
Another way to ask the same question might be: “How do I help someone who is just getting started in the recognition that their life is unmanageable?”
One scripture comes to mind:
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Giving these “babes” the meat before the milk may only do them a disservice.
After all, the “strong meat” belongs to “them that are of full age.”
What does “full age” mean when talking about sexual addiction? Is that synonymous with “rock bottom?”
Some Possible Answers
Is there just one way?
I’m not sure.
It does say in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that “Rarely has a person failed who has thoroughly followed our path.”
And that path, from my understanding, is working the 12 Steps with a sponsor.
But my initial answer to this question would be to possibly scare the person with the crap I’ve been through because of my choices.
I might give him a long list of things he needs to start (and stop) doing.
I may tell him about what will happen if he doesn’t “stop and stay stopped.”
I’d be tempted to remind him of the betrayal trauma he’s causing his wife or significant other. And if he doesn’t have a wife or significant other yet, I would let him know that eventually all the stuff will need to come out if he EVER wants to have a happy and healthy relationship.
But would any of this help?
I know when I first started coming to SAL, even with some real sobriety under my belt, I still wasn’t willing to admit that my life
was IS unmanageable. I’m actually discovering the unmanageability of my life more and more all the time (and that’s not a BAD thing).
But it also reminds me of the cliche:
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
In other words, you can make it easy for someone to do something, but you cannot force them to do it.
What’s Your Answer to This Question?
Many of you that are part of this discussion have been going to SAL meetings for a long time.
A lot of you have years of sobriety and recovery.
All of us have different (yet similar) experiences in how our lust addiction has manifest itself.
What are some of the things you’d share with a newcomer?
What would you warn against?
What would you encourage them to do?
What boundaries would you help them set?
How does this question even apply to how you work with sponsees?
I look forward to your answers to this important question:
How Do You Help Someone Who’s
New to Sobriety & Recovery?
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