Chapter Five - Make A Path; Leave A Trail

Jake knew Jesus as his Savior but didn’t make Jesus his Lord until he got into recovery for the alcoholism that was gripping his life. Drawn by a calling from God to help the utterly helpless, Jake literally saves the lives of men who are dying in the streets from chemical abuse.

As a sponsor for other recovering alcoholics, Jake daily sees the fruit of sponsorship in the men he mentors. Sponsorship is mentoring in recovery. In certain recovery meetings, there are monthly workshops designed to help people just coming off the street. They’ve stopped drugging and drinking, but their chemical equilibrium is still off balance. They’re looking for something to replace the drugs and alcohol.

In the first week of the workshop, one half of the room is people who are “clean” and in recovery. The other half is people just off the streets. Jake and the other leaders ask, “If you are here to do the 12 steps of recovery, to be taken through the steps, please stand up.” The street people stand and one by one, each one will be paired with a sober, recovered person. The leaders will look at the group, “We need a man.” And then a man who has experience and who has been through the workshop will say, “I’ll take him.” They make eye contact, pair up, and after the session they exchange phone numbers and go through the monthly workshop together.

Jake explained, “Sponsorship in this setting is mentoring with a conscious commitment. You know who the mentor is, and the mentored is someone who recognizes their need and is willing to walk through whatever they need to with another person who shares the life inside of them. The sponsors pass their lives on to the person in need. Typically people who are coming to the workshop are struggling. They’re hurting. They’re cognizant that alcoholism is causing problems in their lives, so they’re more open-minded and willing to listen and learn at that point.

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