The Religious Recovery program does not encourage or discourage a sponsor program. Some of the 12-step programs do support this concept and it has proven to be effective. One definition for the word sponsor includes the idea of resuming responsibility for someone, and in the case of spiritual growth, this could assume taking responsibility for someone’s spiritual path. We are opposed in principle to the idea of giving away our power.
The concept of a mentor instead of a sponsor is more in line with the concepts of Religious Recovery. Over the years, I have had at least six writing mentors. Usually these individuals come into my life for a period of time, and then for one reason or another, they—or I—move on. Probably the main reasons are distance, change of philosophy, absorption of lessons, or the lack of understanding of what is trying to be taught. The reasons are usually not important. I have always remained friends with those who have guided me, and I have tried to repay that debt by also helping others. Religious Recovery is not opposed to sponsors as long as the individuals understand that each one, according to Stone One, is responsible for their own spiritual path.
I am grateful for every writing mentor that has helped me hone my craft. Some took me so far, but could not take me any further. One mentor was especially skilled in non-fiction writing but not quite as talented when it came to fiction writing. Each mentor has different skills. Some are better at sentence structure. Some at storyline. Others excel in word images. Each taught me something different.
I’ve also had spiritual mentors throughout my life, and I plan on having them for as long as possible. Many of those mentors I have never met, but their written words have guided my spiritual path. Others have been a part of my life in the form of holy men and women, official or unofficial. Most of those spiritual mentors have come and gone. I have become close enough friends with some of them to see their faults. Just as with the writing mentors who excelled in one area but were weak in others, these spiritual mentors have shown me they make mistakes from time to time.
Each mentor that comes into our lives has a purpose for being in our lives, both for them and for us. As we teach, so we learn. And, in order to learn, we must teach. Do not be surprised to find your mentors make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to let a mentor go. You will know when the time is right, and when we are meant to have another mentor in our lives, he or she will appear.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.