In the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous each member is encouraged to get a sponsor.
This is a program of support.
A sponsor is someone who shares their “experience, strength and hope” in the program. The sponsor will guide the sponsee through applying the 12 steps to their life.
A sponsor keeps one accountable for their sobriety. A sponsee reaches out to their sponsor when they have cravings to use and when life stressors come up. They also celebrate recovery milestones together; getting a job, new relationships and sober birthdays.
The sponsors primary purpose it to help the sponsee apply the 12 steps to their life. They share their own experience, strength and hope for acting on life rather than reacting to it. Through working the steps many have kept their sobriety and gone on to live productive, successful lives.
What are the Guidelines for a Sponsor
It is suggested that a sponsor should meet the following:
Has worked the 12 Steps
Continuously attends meetings
Has more recovery than the sponsee
Is the same sex as the sponsee
How to Find A Sponsor
Just ask. We have found that obtaining a sponsor is a barrier to many potentially recovering people and this is a tragedy. Men in particular seem to have a harder time connecting with other men and asking for the help. I cannot think of a single instance of someone who has recovered and thrived in the alcoholics anonymous program without sponsorship.
When attending a 12 step meeting there is often a time in the meeting where available sponsors will raise their hands. This is a golden opportunity. But beyond this opportunity, the best approach is to pay attention to people sharing during AA meetings and ask yourself, “does this person have what I want?” Meaning when you hear them share do you admire their spirituality? The way they handle their relationships? Their career achievements? Their dedication to self-care?
Alcoholics Anonymous Central Office: if you contact your local central office, they will put you in touch with a sponsor. You can perform this inquiry entire anonymously via a phone call, so there’s no pressure.
Employees of your local AA club: Before or after the 12-step meeting you are attending, approach anyone who is working at the AA club (or even setting up or breaking down the meeting). Do not be shy. I guarantee you this person will lead you in the right direction
When you find someone who can essentially be your recovery role model, you have quite possibly found a sponsor. Go up to the person and ask them if they are available for sponsorship, grab coffee and talk recovery!