This post is written for the new member of Alcoholics Anonymous who would like to find his or her way through the program and on his/her way towards recovery.
Even though there is no information about sponsorship in the Big Book, ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’, sponsorship started rather early on. Sponsorship is basically a new candidate availing him or herself of guidance through the steps of recovery. We would like to tell you a little about what to expect and what not to expect from your sponsor. Also give you some tips on finding the right sponsor for you.
A sponsor is there to help you understand the program of A.A. and its 12 steps. Its advised to look for someone who has done the steps, has at least a year of sobriety and is practicing the principles of AA in their daily lives. Under no condition will a sponsor give medical advise or ask a person to stop using any medication prescribed by their physician. These topics are to be discussed only with your medical professional. Sponsors know much about alcoholism and should be asked questions pertaining to alcoholism.
We recommend to choose a sponsor of the same sex, to avoid becoming romantically involved and the emotional problems that may arise from such a relationship which will only complicate matters. It may not be always possible to find a sponsor of the same sex. It is perfectly fine to find a sponsor of the opposite sex as long as both sponsor and sponsee (the candidate) are aware of the very get-go of the pitfalls mentioned.
Some A.A. groups have a sponsor list to choose from, most don’t. Sponsors are also available online from Online A.A. groups. A listing of all online groups can be found using this link of the ‘Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous. Many of the groups are also able to help you through email. In most cases online groups will select a sponsor for you.
Please be cautious of anyone offering to sponsor you from within a chatroom. Unfortunately an online chatroom can be a breeding ground for predators. Be especially cautious of middle aged men who spend a great part of their day in a chatroom who only make contact with female newcomers, often in private chat conversations.
Bottom line is that you will have to be comfortable with your sponsor. A good sponsor will try to encourage the sponsee to be themselves. Each of us are independent and therefore, should apply the principles of the program to our own lives. The sponsor will give advice based on his or her own experience and will bring you in contact with other members who can also enlighten you with their individual experience. No two recoveries are alike. Like fingerprints, we each have our own story to tell of our experience and soon you will be able to tell yours as well. If you walk away from sponsorship sounding like a copy of your sponsor in most cases the sponsorship has failed.
You will be discussing very personal issues with your sponsor. A good sponsor will observe and respect your confidence and will not discuss these topics with nobody. Here, again, we suggest to get to know your sponsor enough to have the confidence to discuss anything and that you are convinced there is no need to hold anything back.
Please remember that it is the AA program, and not the sponsor, which is of importance. You will eventually learn to lean on the program and not on the sponsor. Sooner or later you will lose contact with your sponsor or you will not have frequent contact with your sponsor as in the beginning. Sponsorship is complete when you have to your availability enough tools which will make sure that you can stand on your own two feet in recovery.
A sponsor will also assign you with certain tasks within the group. Simple tasks, such as arranging the chairs at the beginning of a meeting or setting the coffee are very popular. This is done in order to engage you in being of service to other alcoholics. Before you know it you may even go out on 12th step calls with your sponsor. Eventually you will be able to be a sponsor yourself and help others find their recovery and heal the suffering.
AAWS has a pamphlet about sponsorship. Please take time to go through it should you need any more information by clicking on the image below.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
― Gautama Buddha