The official AA literature defines a sponsor as “an alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA.” Sponsors serve an identical role in other 12-step fellowships.
The official definition significantly underrates the role of the sponsor. If you choose correctly, they will be an integral part of recovery. They will help keep you on the straight and narrow and avoid relapse. It is deeply inadvisable to attempt to work the steps without the guidance and advice of your sponsor on every single step. At first, you can select a temporary sponsor and begin work with them. But ultimately, finding the right permanent sponsor will be a crucial element in determining the success of your recovery. Therefore, it is very important to make the right choice in this regard.
Remember that performing service for the fellowship and its members is an important part of recovery. Therefore, in a very real way, you and your sponsor are helping each other through recovery. The sponsor and sponsee relationship are one of the best examples of the kind of mutual fellowship which helps 12-step participants remain sober in the long-term.
When looking for a sponsor, do not settle for the first member you make a connection with. Look for these important attributes: