The AA Sponsor: Sounding Board

The Danger of Unchecked Thinking in Sobriety

“In sobriety, I have never had a bad idea…until I ran it by someone else!”

Dick B.

While normal people might be able to independently brainstorm solutions to their problems, for those of us battling alcoholism, this approach can often lead to more significant issues. The AA’s Big Book considers alcoholism as a disease centered in the mind, often labeled in meetings as a “disease of perception.”

The Misguided Solutions of Unchecked Thinking

Left alone and fueled by fear and intense self-centeredness, an AA member can conjure up radical and impractical solutions to simple problems. Even worse, the original problem might be seriously misdiagnosed.

A bad day at work? Quit the job! Spouse had a rough day? Time for a divorce! Nothing planned for a Friday night? Consider relocating to another city!

The list of extreme solutions an AA member can develop independently is endless.

The Vital Role of a Sponsor

The general agreement in AA circles is that any major decision, like the examples above, should be thoroughly discussed with a sponsor before taking any action. Actions carry consequences, and a sponsor’s guidance can help see beyond the immediate horizon, offering a more balanced perspective.

This is why having a sponsor in AA is of such paramount importance. A sponsor who has listened to your 5th step can provide insights into your past behaviors. They can help identify recurring patterns linked to character defects or shortcomings.

Confirm Your Moment of Genius

The next time you believe you’ve had a moment of genius, validate it with your sponsor before making a drastic and potentially foolish decision. Checking in with your sponsor first will be your real moment of genius, as it will keep you grounded and focused on the path of sobriety.


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