Written By: Katie Schipper
What is Sponsorship?
In twelve-step recovery programs, sponsorship is vital. A sponsor has a singular purpose – to take another alcoholic or addict through the twelve-steps so that that woman may in turn take others through the steps. Sponsorship began in AA before it even had a name. Sponsorship began when Bill W. wanted to drink and found a solution through sharing what he knew with another alcoholic who couldn’t stay sober on his own. That alcoholic was Dr. Bob.
Who Can Be a Sponsor?
Today, particularly in Delray Beach and the surrounding areas, the options for finding a sponsor are endless. There are different fellowships and different types of recovering addicts and alcoholics in each one. Finding a sponsor only seems intimidating until you actually do it. A sponsor is someone who knows how to help an addict when all other attempts have failed. A sponsor is someone who knows how to help an addict when family, friends, and significant others can’t. Sponsorship is a vital part of recovery.
How to Choose a Sponsor
So, how does someone go about finding a sponsor? You might have heard the phrase “find someone who has what you want” at meetings. This is a good starting point, but you might not know how to identify that person. You might not be totally sure what it is that you want. As a newly sober woman, you might have concerns about trusting another female. It’s in a newcomer’s best interest to set aside these fears and take the first leap of faith in recovery, choosing a sponsor in spite of fear.
Suggestions on Sponsorship
While choosing a sponsor is as informal as anything else in AA, there are a few simple suggestions offered by those familiar with twelve-step fellowship.
The first is to find someone with experience. For some, this might mean someone who has at least a year between herself and her last drink or drug. However, that’s not a requirement. It’s simply a guideline. After all, Bill W. started sponsoring Dr. Bob when he had six months.
You might want someone with multiple years or double digits.
A very basic rule of thumb is to find someone who has completed all twelve of her steps, with a sponsor of her own.
Another basic suggestion is to find a sponsor who herself has a sponsor, someone who’s an active member of the fellowship. Those active in recovery seem to have an idea of how to help addicts and alcoholics.
Another suggestion for finding a sponsor is to simply ask someone with whom you feel compatible.
It’s also suggested that newcomers look for someone who seems to be enjoying her sobriety.
Don’t just pick someone who looks good or sounds good in a meeting. Ask yourself, does your sponsor practice what she preaches? In recovery, action always speaks louder than words.
No two people sponsor in exactly the same way. What might be ideal for one woman could be disastrous for another. The willingness to believe that someone may be able to help is an incredible first step in recovery. Besides, the relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee is unlike any other. Don’t believe me? Go find out for yourself!