What does a
If you are seeking a sponsor to assist you in your recovery program
please review the following information so you have a more clear understanding
of the importance of this position and how it can affect your recovery program.
A brief history of sponsorship:
The idea of sponsorship was born in A.A., the original 12 step fellowship. The book "Living Sober" an AA publication, describes how the term "sponsor" came about.
In the earliest days of A.A., the term "sponsor" was not in the A.A. jargon. Then a fewSponsorship has since become one of the foundations of the recovery programs for of all the 12 step fellowships and one of the greatest blessings of membership. With it we can help one another to succeed and arrest the disease called addiction one day at a time regardless of the nature.
hospitals in Akron, Ohio and New York began to accept alcoholics (under that diagnosis) as patients -- If a sober A.A. member would agree to "sponsor" the sick man or woman. The sponsor took the patient to the hospital, visited him or her regularly, was present when the patient was discharged, and took the patient home and then to the A.A. meeting. At the meeting, the sponsor introduced the newcomer to other happily non drinking alcoholics. All through the early months of recovery, the sponsor stood by, ready to answer questions, or to listen whenever needed.
Though there is no true references to the word sponsorship with in the first 164 page of the A.A. Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" it is mentioned in several of the personal stories that are contained later in the book. The early history of A.A. tells us that even Bill W. had a sponsor who's name was Edwin T. Thatcher who was born 1896, and died in 1966.
Bill Wilson was constantly amazed at the growth and apparent success that Cleveland was having in sobering up alcoholics. He visited there every time that he went to Ohio. Bill later wrote in A.A. Comes of Age:
Yes, Cleveland's results were of the best. Their results were in fact so good, and A.A.'s membership elsewhere was so small, that many a Clevelander really thought A.A.'s membership had started there in the first place. The Cleveland pioneers had proved three essential things: the value of personal sponsorship; the worth of the A.A.'s Big Book in indoctrinating newcomers, and finally the tremendous fact that A.A., when the word really got around, could now soundly grow to great size.
Clarence was a dynamo. He wanted the best for himself and "his boys" in A.A. He refined the art of A.A. sponsorship to the point that Nell Wing, Bill Wilson's secretary, commented to the author that Clarence was probably the "one man responsible for sponsorship as we know it today." For more info on this subject go here
So just What does a sponsor do?
In some ways, a sponsor is like a good friend, a teacher, a tutor, and an experienced guide. Some may even think of a sponsor as their older brother or sister that they never had. A sponsor is someone who has been where we want to go in our twelve step program and knows how we can best get there. Their primary responsibility is to help us work the 12 steps by applying the principles of the program to our lives. They lead us by example as we see how the program works in their lives through sharing their personal experiences and stories of where they were and where they are now. We start to learn how to become sober by listening and doing the footwork that our sponsor shows us on a daily basis. In time we make these new changes a habit which helps us to remain sober one day at a time.
A.A. defines a sponsorship in this way: "An alcoholic
who has made some progress in the recovery program who shares that experience
on a continuous, individual basis with another who is attempting to attain
or maintain sobriety through A.A." Every sponsor is different, just
as each sponsee is different, but certain activities, responsibilities,
and obligations are common in all sponsor/sponsee relationships.
They are all working to help one another remain sober for just one more
day by sharing themselves with one another.
FOR A MORE IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE ROLE OF A SPONSOR WE RECOMMEND YOU READ THE FOLLOWING BOOKS WHICH CAN BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR STORE. Click here and browse the books area and you should be able to find these titles.
"TWELVE STEP SPONSORSHIP" How it works
"LIVING SOBER" Some methods A.A. members have used for not drinking
"THINGS MY SPONSOR TAUGHT ME"
What to look for in a sponsor
Choosing a sponsor is like choosing your best friend. Sometimes it just happens and sometimes it's planned, but there is always something about the other person that attracts us to them. Picking a sponsor can seem scary and intimidating at first. It is our hope that these suggestions may ease this process a bit for you.
Some recovery groups have a list of available members who have volunteered to help the newcomer as "Temporary Sponsors". Temporary Sponsors can ease our transition in a number of ways, they can answer questions, explain the concepts of the program and terms, saying and other essential items in such a way that helps us to understand. Some "temp sponsors" become primary sponsors, but many are replaced by someone else in time.
The best advice that was shared to us when we were looking for a sponsor was to attend 90 meeting in 90 days. This has a two fold affect, the first is it will show you are serious about the program, the second it will allow you 90 days to meet and greet those in the group with you. While attending the meetings listen to the person sharing. Hear and see what they have to offer.
As you make friends in the group, ask them who they
think would be best for you often times we can't see ourselves clearly
but those whom we meet can and can best guide us to the best sponsors.
Another list that has been widely published and passed around is the following:
Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship
We hope that this has in some small way helped you to understand the importance of sponsorship and we look forward to helping you grow now in your program.
Please take a look now at our growing list of available
MEN helping MEN WOMEN helping WOMEN
DO YOU THINK YOU'RE UP TO THE TASK OF BEING A SPONSOR?
If so click here and add your name to our list now.