The “Black Widow Sponsee.”


spider silhouette

I attended an interesting and quite lively AA meeting this morning. A visitor from Houston who said he was a singer/songwriter specializing in recovery music regaled us with the tale of his GPS-addled journey to find the meeting place. He was such a hoot, I suspect he might have been a recovering stand-up comedian.

Also in attendance were a newcomer with a day of sobriety under his belt, a guy who got kicked out of Vanderbilt, an old-timer of 30 years, and the self-anointed “Black Widow Sponsee.” Apparently six (count ’em SIX!) of his AA sponsors, over the span of his 19 years of sobriety, have kicked the bucket while acting as his guide through the Alcoholics Anonymous program. He said he was currently sponsor-less and reluctant to place that burden on anyone anytime soon.

Once again, here was yet another example of what I love about AA. The people and their stories never fail to amaze me. The fact that my fellow AA’s  (many if not most of whom have been to hell and back and then some) are able to share their flaws and foibles and find humor in it all — that’s so damn cool to me…


10 Responses to “The “Black Widow Sponsee.””

  1. I feel bad for finding the “Black Widow Sponsee” thing so funny. But that really is kind of hilarious.

  2. 2 C

    I wouldn’t have found it funny if he hadn’t given himself that name and joked about it himself. The whole group was cracking up. So I think it’s okay.

    I feel like there’s a short story just waiting to be written about it…..

  3. 3 Sally Kellis

    Have been reading for a while and
    Am taken with your joy of new recovery. Twenty five years ago next week I began my journey and am happy to report that none of that joy has ceased. Freedom from the bondage of alcohol is a Godsend.

  4. 4 C


    Thanks for your comments and congrats (a few days early) on 25 years. So good to hear that after such a long time, you’re still getting as much out of the program as this newbie.

  5. 5 Chaz

    AA is a pretty amazing well of strength and diverse experiences to draw on eh?

    I think one of the things that makes our program so powerful is that we connect deeply and frequently with such a variety of people that we can benefit from their experiences (good and bad) without having to live them ourselves.

    We get so much more out of life by being able to live experiences by proxy in this way. While it is never the same as having lived the experiences first hand, it is a broadening experience none the less hearing the stories and experiences of others.



  6. 6 C

    True, all true, Chaz. And it never fails to amaze me that at each AA meeting, no matter how seemingly different the attendees are from me, I always find something in someone’s shared experience that sparks an insight or an inspiration in me. Pretty cool.

  7. 7 Chaz

    I had posted a while back entitled “people I don’t like”. This was actually done with situations in mind where I learn from people whom I have a distaste for or disagreement with. I find AA provides much opportunity for this as well. Instead of just writing them off… I feel we actually have opportunity gain from our experience with people we find difficult.



  8. 8 Susan

    Dear C,

    I like your blog and think it can only help
    others, as well as yourself.

    If you are interested in more online service,
    you might like to join the 12 Step Committee
    of online AA. There you could reply
    directly to the many emails that come
    in every day, asking for help. Those emails are
    averaging 350 per month and they
    come from all over the world.

    While it’s interesting to hear about the
    people in your meetings, the confidentiality of recovery rooms
    is honored when we remember that “What you hear here stays here.”
    This is not stressed at every meeting now as it was when I got
    sober here in NYC 21 years ago. But confidentiality is an
    important part of our Traditions.

    Best wishes to you on your sober journey!


  9. 9 Sharon

    I think that confidentiality in AA rooms is similar to the confidentiality a doctor holds with the information about a patient. HIPPA is a federal law ensuring this. Physicians can share things about their patients… stories… as long as the patient’s name is not revealed… ” I had a patient show up in the Emergency room this week with appendicitis and their white count was normal”. The dude who is the Black Widow Sponsee remains in the confidence of the meeting in my humble opinion… I sure wouldn’t recognize him at my AA meeting nor at Starbucks.

  10. 10 C

    Well, I hope I didn’t betray his anonymity. I would feel bad if I did, as I try to keep things as anonymous as possible here, never revealing names or too many details. It’s a fine line, I suppose. I actually have been thinking a lot about the whole anonymity thing recently. I have a friend in the program who often will identify people as being in the program, even when we’re not within the confines of an AA meeting. I’m struggling with how I feel about that. I’m not sure that’s properly keeping their anonymity, if the people aren’t revealing their AA status to me themselves. And now I wonder if my friend is revealing my participation in AA to people without my knowledge…And if so, not sure how I feel about that.

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