Self Help Groups are Not About Conversion


She used to accept people as equals who were hell bent on keeping her in a one-down position.  A one-down position was here place in childhood.  

One such person was a “friend” from a support group.

They call them “sponsors,” and they are like “Conversion Christians.” Conversion is the most important thing to those who are hypocrites. Most people who sponsor prefer a one-down position because they believe they have a market on “The Way.” The sickest people go to support groups. Even sicker are the ones who never make it to a support group. That’s why one of the support group traditions is, “Principles before personalities.” If you go regularly, follow the steps and traditions and listen, you will eventually feel better.

 It seems so many people want to strip you of your ego, which is not helpful in the long run. The ego has a purpose, it just cannot lead the way.  It must ultimately be a passenger. This is what Conversion Christians cannot do and do not understand.

“Work is hard!” The woman said to her sponsor.  She had taken a job in which the hiring boss wanted her to work but her work mates wanted another “inside” person.  From the beginning, attempts to sabotage her and get her fired were front and center.  Her “sponsor” said, “that’s why they call it work, It’s not supposed to be fun!” This was the least helpful “advice” she had every received.

Work should fill your soul with joy.  You should be valued by your co-workers, otherwise you should leave. Follow your bliss. When she thinks back on this time, the lesson was that she had what it took to persevere in difficult a job situation for 15 years, get promoted twice and retire with a pension into which she paid.  She vowed never to put herself in that position again.

She was often so depressed she went to therapy twice a week.  This was the only place she had a voice. She would sit down on the chair and check in by saying, today is the day I am going to get fired.”  Her Therapist would say, “what is your evidence?”  She had none other than, “my co-workers hate me.  Everyone hates me.”  This is toxic shame.

Frequently, she came to a support group meeting with hundreds of people. She would sit in the back of the room and slink down to hide. One man, a doctor, who also came to the meeting would see her walk in and sometime during the meeting he would call on her to speak. She would say, “I am M, an alcoholic and I am hiding today.”   Then he would move on to another speaker. 

One night, after she said she was hiding, the doctor said, “there is a tradition at this meeting that people speak at the podium.” 

She swallowed hard, got up and went to the podium and spoke with a smile on her face talking about what it was like, what happened and what it is like now. She said what step she was working on and complimented her sponsor because that was what you did,  She felt invisible. No one saw her. She saw no one.

You see, this is ego out of control.  This doctor had enough love for her, he would not allow her to hide behind ego.  This kind of loving act from the very few in support groups are the only thing that heal a person.

The very few love unconditionally.

Fascinating that she would experience the exact same circumstance fifteen years after leaving that job. This time, she  did not stay long before she realized this boss did not support her.  It was not pretty. She left with no notice. Traumatized as she was she tried to clean up her mess but this was not destined to happen. She was already labeled difficult. She had already been defined as a scapegoat. Nothing she could do would help. She would only make it worse, she was sure.


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