Sponsor

Articles discussing what a sponsor is in 12 step programs.

Helping Interlocking Hands

How to Take a Sponsee Through the 12 Steps – A Guide

Being a sponsor is one of the most significant responsibilities for any recovering addict or alcoholic. However, it is worth remembering that aside from providing a service to others, acting as a sponsor is also part of your recovery. As the 12th Step tells us: “we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” There is no better way to put this into practice than sponsoring an ailing addict and aiding their recovery.

By definition, the heart of a twelve-step program is the steps in question. The twelve steps are an incredibly difficult challenge to overcome, and they require the guidance and support of a sponsor. Therefore, the responsibility of a sponsor to help their sponsee through the steps is the most critical and challenging part of the sponsorship role.

12 Step Sponsorship Helping Hand

A Sponsor’s Role in 12 Step Programs

To work through any 12-step program, you will need a sponsor. It’s common for beginners to start with a temporary sponsor. That person or another individual will later become your permanent sponsor. They will become an essential part in walking you through the recovery process.

The AA literature defines the 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 A.A.” The principle is very similar in the other 12-step programs, as they all adopted this role from the mother program.

While the sponsor does not have to be to an individual who has completed all 12-steps, they should be significantly ahead of the sponsee so that they possess the wisdom of experience to help traverse the earlier stages of recovery.

Hand reaching out helping other person

What is a Sponsor and What to Look for in a 12-Step Sponsor

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:

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