Being Transparent With Your Sponsee

Being transparent with your sponsee

Today during my morning reading, I came across a chapter that was all about the spiritual importance of transparency. Being open and sharing your true self with others, it said, was essential in order to clear the blockages caused by ego and truly open yourself to spiritual growth. I reflected on how important transparency is for addicts and alcoholics in particular.

Being transparent with your sponsee: What is transparency?

Before we get into the importance of being transparent with your sponsee, it’s probably best if I clarify what I mean by “transparent.” Transparency can be used in a lot of different contexts- to describe business dealings, government operations, or even material. When I talk about transparency, I’m talking about spiritual transparency. To me, spiritual transparency means being open and honest with the people around you. It means practicing what you preach. Transparency goes further than just “letting things go.” It means not holding on to those things in the first place.

Lack of transparency blocks us off from spirituality and connecting with other people. It is based in fear and self-doubt. We become blocked from others and we become anxious, uncomfortable, self-conscious, and/or frightened. We try to control the things around us.

Being transparent with your sponsee: We are as sick as our secrets

Often in AA, I’ve heard the phrase “Our secrets keep us sick.” or “We are only as sick as our worst secret.” More often than not, when someone relapses and comes back, and I ask them why, they tell me it’s because there was something they left off their fourth step. Instead of being completely transparent, they held something back.

This is one of the biggest reasons it is so important to be transparent with my sponsees. If I am not transparent with them, how will they feel comfortable being completely transparent with me? If they are not transparent with me, what are their chances of staying sober?

Transparency makes accountability possible. You can only be accountable for where you’re going, what you’re doing and how you’re spending your money if you are 100% honest.  A sponsor or other sober friend can help you spend your money on right things rather than your addiction–but only if you don’t lie to him or her about it.

Being transparent with your sponsee: Primary purpose

Our primary purpose as active members of Alcoholics Anonymous is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. We cannot carry a true message if we are not transparent in all our affairs. Sure, I could go to a meeting and speak about the spiritual principles of AA, but if I’m not practicing these outside of AA, then what kind of message am I sending?

One of the great gifts of being transparent is it means that I can use everything that you have experienced to help another alcoholic achieve sobriety. If I can share my own experience with another member of AA, and make them feel less alone, then my experience wasn’t a waste.

Anywhere you give yourself room to hide your actions and your true self; you may also be giving the darkness of this addiction room to grow.  It can be much too easy to lose yourself in that darkness.  When I think of transparency, I think of the pane of a window.  It lets in the light and leaves darkness no room to hide.