WHAT IS SPONSORSHIP?
A A began with sponsorship. When Bill W. was only a few months sober, he was stricken with a powerful urge to drink. This thought came to him: “You need another alcoholic just as much as he needs you.” Bill W. found Dr Bob, who had been trying desperately and unsuccessfully to stop drinking, and out of their common need, A.A. was born. Dr Bob in turn safeguarded his own sobriety by sponsoring countless other alcoholics. In AA the sponsor and sponsored meet as equals, just as Bill & Bob did. The process of sponsoring is this: An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares his experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA. We need constant & close support as we begin to “live sober” lives.
HOW IS A SPONSOR CHOSEN?
We select an AA member with whom we feel comfortable about sharing our struggles and ask him to be our sponsor. This is generally someone further along in recovery and willing to help others. A good sponsor probably should be at least 6 months away from his last drink – & should be enjoying their sobriety. Our sobriety is greatly strengthened when we give it away. Men should choose men as sponsors & women should choose women.
WHAT DOES A SPONSOR DO?
The main activity of a sponsor is to help the newcomer to stay sober. They do this by sharing their own personal experience. They are not doctors or professionals. The sponsor will often suggest that the newcomer begin to work on the 12 steps of AA beginning with seeing that they are “powerless over alcohol” and that their lives are unmanageable. They can not stop drinking by their “own willpower”. The sponsor encourages and helps the newcomer to attend many AA meetings and introduces them to other recovering alcoholics. They do not impose their personal views on the alcoholic. They may help the alcoholic understand triggers for their slips.
WHO CAN BE A SPONSOR?
An alcoholic that has remained sober for at least 6 months and has a desire to spend time and help a newcomer get started in AA and recovery. Generally it is someone who has worked through at least the first 5 steps of AA. They are volunteers who are not paid.
HOW DOES A SPONSOR HELP THE ALCOHOLIC?
They get together at least once a week, often before or after an AA meeting for tea and whenever there is a special need. The sponsor shares parts of their own story that will help the newcomer. The sponsor does not demand or control the newcomer. The single purpose is to help alcoholics with their drinking. It is not to develop social friendships and to do social things together. The sponsor does not lend money nor need to help the alcoholic to get a job. The sponsor does not impose their beliefs on the alcoholic.