January 27

ACCEPTANCE MONTH: DAY 27: “Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”― Henri J.M. Nouwen

This, for me, is the greatest definition of sponsorship and acceptance…the kind we find in recovery when it is healthy.

We are offered hospitality in the space of that relationship, and we provide it to another as we receive it. For me, it is also the basis of therapeutic alliances, which is the foundation of all the work I have done over the course of the last 30+ years. We invite another into a safe space where we give them direction and guidance for the journey they get to determine.

Every person I have ever sponsored has approached me with the idea that they “want what I have;” but not all of them do. The reason I know this, is they immediately begin to balk at every suggestion they are given on any given day. I know how I got here. There is a tremendous amount of scary work in my recovery.

I do what I do because I like what I get from doing it. Most addicts, in my experience are far too lazy to put in that kind of work. They want to get it, I guess by osmosis, while sitting next to me in a meeting or whatever. They may respect my recovery, but they don’t want to do what I have done to get it.

That is our ending point, because I have had those who consistently crash and burn and want help to get out of hot water, but are not willing to do what it takes to stay out of it long-term.

I get it. It ain’t about me. It is about them. My hospitality has been taken advantage of on certain occasions, and I let it all go. I am not here to change others. Their approach to me was on the basis of their desire to make changes. Often, they decide against it, and that is entirely their business. I just get to open the door to the next person. What I know is how I have had various sponsors over the years who have taught me what I needed to know and then we moved on for whatever reasons. In some instances they have passed away. One got loaded, I missed her a lot. But I hear them when I am in some situation where their wisdom still resonates. They are all great teachers. I am grateful for the hospitality I have received and been privileged to offer. It is a great gift both ways!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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