But in time, these relationships blossom and grow - or change, or end.
I don't see it as a one-way street. In my relationship with my sponsor, we talk as old friends. There are times when I ask her for help or her opinion. Other times, she has asked me for mine. She has been my sponsor since I was sober 10 years, so it is now 17 years. She is now aging - as if I'm not! She is not quite the person she used to be. But she is my beloved sponsor, and always will be.
I sponsor women with whom I have these kinds of relationships. They are priceless.
And then there are others... the relationship never moves beyond the take and take. Or the give and give. The phone calls never move beyond" "hello?" "Hi, I'm miserable, he kicked me out, I don't have a job, my kids hate me, I hate my kids, someone looked at me funny at the meeting yesterday, so and so was chairing and he irritates me, the weather sucks, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum." And I hate to admit, I want to say "I'm fine thanks, I've had a wonderful day, thanks for asking!"
I can tolerate that for a while, but truly, it gets so old.
This is on my mind because I have a sponsee who is writing me long e-mails every day about how miserable she is. We will have to have a serious talk - as soon as I can nail her down to a time to meet. And I might just quote my old friend Ed, who once said to me "Do you want to know why you are so unhappy?" Of course, I wanted to know, so I said YES! He said, "it is because you think about yourself 25 hours a day." And of course, I could argue with that, because we all know there are only 24 hours in a day. But I knew he had me.
And it is a bad sign when you don't even pretend to ask how your sponsor is doing. Even if you don't care how the other person is, you can do lip-service and ask and maybe there will be divine intervention and you will find you DO care. Once you do care about someone else, your problems have just been decreased. Exponentially.
I know I have been blessed with some wonderful people in AA, but some of that has been work. These relationships don't grow themselves. You actually have to invest time and energy into them.
God has blessed us abundantly, but sometimes we just need to say "Thank you."