“Each member, undertaking the sponsorship of a fellow alcoholic, must remember that he is offering what is frequently the last chance of rehabilitation, sanity or maybe life itself,” Clarence S. wrote in a 1944 pamphlet on AA sponsorship. “Happiness, Health, Security, Sanity and Life of human beings are the things we hold in balance when we sponsor an alcoholic”. Since 1944 the roles of the sponsor have changed. A sponsor used to reach out to alcoholics who weren’t quite sure they were alcoholics yet when AA was first forming. The men, and women, of Alcoholics Anonymous were visiting hospitals and reaching out to everyone they thought might need help. These active sponsors would go to prospectives houses and explain AA, the importance of “taking the steps” and why they would be spending ample amounts of time together.
Today, sponsorship looks a bit different. Typically, a sponsor is found in a meeting. A prospective sponsee approaches the sponsor most often, though sometimes, when a sponsor believes they can help, the approach is the other way around. Sponsorship is based on helping keep a newcomer accountable, listening to their story, and guiding them through the first 164 pages of “The Big Book”, or Alcoholics Anonymous, where the 12 steps live. This is the textbook for the AA group- which is also the book used in many sister 12-step organizations. Taking a newcomer through the steps is the primary purpose of a sponsor. Many other responsibilities may come into play depending on the nature of the sponsor and the nature of the relationship. For example, a sponsor might take their sponsees to meetings, court appointments, and doctor’s appointments. Sponsors and sponsees often spend time together getting coffee before or after meetings and frequently speak on the phone. Beyond just the 12-steps, a sponsor is a guide to their sponsees for living sober. Addiction and alcoholism affect every area of life. Learning to stay sober through all areas of life takes time and guidance. Turning to a sponsor means a sponsee recognizes that they do not know how to handle a situation but their sponsor will. A sponsor will continually guide their sponsee back to the spiritual principles of the 12-steps as a foundation for living.
Quick Tips For Choosing A Sponsor
- Has been sober for at least a year or more
- Has worked the 12 steps at least once
- Actively works with their own sponsor
- Isn’t afraid to give you the difficult truths
- Regularly attends meetings
- Lives a life that you want to live
Hired Power strives to empower your family to bring recovery home and focus on healing. Our dynamic team of experienced recovery professionals are here to serve your family through every step of the treatment and recovery process. Call us today for information on our recovery services including the Safe Passage Transport used by Dr. Phil: 800.910.9299.