The non abstinent people never failed to do just what this first woman did, which was say right out what they thought they were doing wrong, like not going to enough meetings, not doing the steps, not having a higher power, not being willing to give up flour and sugar. I listened to those types of statements very carefully. They did not steer me wrong at all.
Later, when I reworked the steps using some Adult Child materials, I started learning what had been missing. That does not mean that my Big Book process was invalid. It just means that I had to do further work. I am not one of these Primary Purpose people who think you should ONLY use the Big Book. What I think is that you have to start with the Big Book.
In fact, she was actually teaching me about step ten, continuing to take inventory, which was a useful thing. She had me looking for character defects in my ongoing behavior. I was making some living amends. Still, staying in steps six and seven for over a year is certainly not something I would recommend to sponsees.
When I called that one sponsor frequently during my extended steps 6-7, I felt like I was having an acid bath every time I spoke to her. This was because I had not thoroughly understood some aspects of my own inventory, in terms of making other people into higher powers. In fact, I made other people into evil higher powers, due to issues with my parents out of my childhood. It was not until AFTER I worked the steps, using adult child materials, in a multi-addiction step study group in a local church, that I could talk to someone regularly and not get that acid bath experience
I still think of that one woman who I met at the world service convention as my sponsor. I still write her a check in to be snail mailed almost every day, though I also email it to a fellow traveller. The only exception to this was when I was in world service convention in 2013, and actually saw my sponsor again. When I developed some discomfort about our differing political views, I did not say anything to her about it, only to my fellow traveller. I am pleased that I can enjoy my sponsor's company, even though she disagrees with me about some very fundamental issues of politics and religion. I like to keep in touch with her, because her program is impressive, and because she is very isolated in a rural area and needs contact. I feel like I am doing service keeping in touch with her. She is the only sponsor I have had who has lost weight while sponsoring me. I therefore think this relationship is working.
I see several ways in which sponsorship helps me, and why step 12 is critical.
She broke a hip at Christmas, end ended up with several weeks in rehab. While she was in the hospital, she did amazing step 11 work. In short, she was highly motivated and committed to the process.