Abuse by Sponsors
January 1st, 2006
I have seen many abuses perpetrated by "old-timers," acting as sponsors for new members:
- Sexual harassment is not unknown, although spoken of in whispers.
- Sponsors often "encourage" newcomers to sever all ties with those who still drink—whether they are alcoholics or not; of course, the sponsors find a myriad of reasons to "prove" that these contacts are alcoholic, or at least co-dependent. This can lead to isolation (from all except the members of the group); severance of ties with family; sometimes to divorce on the grounds that the spouse is not "a healthy person."
- Sponsors, with absolutely no medical training, often insist that the new member stop all treatment by means of psychotropic medication (or as they put it, "mood-changing drugs")—even when this medication is prescribed by the most reputable psychiatrists. I have seen this lead to depression, acute anxiety, hospitalizations, return to drinking or substance abuse—in one case, suicide. Here, the "old-timers" are not just playing doctor; they are playing God!