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Posted on February 5, 2017 at 5:15 AM

Today's message is about sponsorship, AA sponsorship.  The sponsoring of another person's recovery is a very complex and serious responsibility.

AA SPONSORSHIP from the meeting format.


AA began with sponsorship. When Bill W. was only a few months sober, he was stricken with a powerful urge to drink. This thought came to him: "You need another alcoholic just as much as he needs you." Bill W. found Dr Bob, who had been trying desperately and unsuccessfully to stop drinking, and out of their common need, A.A. was born. Dr Bob in turn safeguarded his own sobriety by sponsoring countless other alcoholics. In AA the sponsor and sponsored meet as equals, just as Bill & Bob did. The process of sponsoring is this: An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares his experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA. We need constant & close support as we begin to "live sober" lives.


We select an AA member with whom we feel comfortable about sharing our struggles and ask him to be our sponsor. This is generally someone further along in recovery and willing to help others. A good sponsor probably should be at least 6 months away from his last drink - & should be enjoying their sobriety. Our sobriety is greatly strengthened when we give it away. Men should choose men as sponsors & women should choose women.

WHAT DOES A SPONSOR DO? The main activity of a sponsor is to help the newcomer to stay sober. They do this by sharing their own personal experience. They are not doctors or professionals. The sponsor will often suggest that the newcomer begin to work on the 12 steps of AA beginning with seeing that they are "powerless over alcohol" and that their lives are unmanageable. They can not stop drinking by their "own willpower". The sponsor encourages and helps the newcomer to attend many AA meetings and introduces them to other recovering alcoholics. They do not impose their personal views on the alcoholic. They may help the alcoholic understand triggers for their slips.


An alcoholic that has remained sober for at least 6 months and has a desire to spend time and help a newcomer get started in AA and recovery. Generally it is someone who has worked through at least the first 5 steps of AA. They are volunteers who are not paid.


They get together at least once a week, often before or after an AA meeting for tea and whenever there is a special need. The sponsor shares parts of their own story that will help the newcomer. The sponsor does not demand or control the newcomer. The single purpose is to help alcoholics with their drinking. It is not to develop social friendships and to do social things together. The sponsor does not lend money nor need to help the alcoholic to get a job. The sponsor does not impose their beliefs on the alcoholic.      


I read this excerpt in the e-aa discussion forum:

by Whadahay » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:26 pm

I cannot remember where I got this from, but it has come in handy for those new sponcees that mistake me for someone that they can whine to about anything and everything. I tell them that if they want emotional sobriety, to work the Steps and I will be happy to work along with them, but I cannot DO them for them.

 Twelve Qualities of Sponsorship

 1. I will not help you to stay and wallow in limbo.

 2. I will help you to grow, to become more productive, by your definition.

 3. I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more excited, less sensitive, more free to become the authority for your own living.

 4. I cannot give you dreams or "fix you up" simply because I cannot.

 5. I cannot give you growth, or grow for you. You must grow for yourself by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.

 6. I cannot take away your loneliness or your pain.

 7. I cannot sense your world for you, evaluate your goals for you, tell you what is best for your world; because you have your own world in which you must live.

 8. I cannot convince you of the necessity to make the vital decision of choosing the frightening uncertainty of growing over the safe misery of remaining static.

 9. I want to be with you and know you as a rich and growing friend; yet I cannot get close to you when you choose not to grow.

10. When I begin to care for you out of pity or when I begin to lose faith in you, then I am inhibiting both for you and for me.

11. You must know and understand my help is conditional. I will be with you and "hang in there" with you so long as I continue to get even the slightest hint that you are still trying to grow.

12. If you can accept this, then perhaps we can help each other to become what God meant us to be, mature adults, leaving childishness forever to the little children of the world

Here it is:  http://12-steps-recovery.com/resources/sponsors/

The Big Book suggests:

"If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within. If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us. But point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you would like, in any case, to be friendly. Let it go at that."

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS(The Big Book) The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism - Third Edition - New York, 1976. Chapter 7, WORKING WITH OTHERS, Page 95.


For continuity and completion of the process in one day, there is a way of sponsoring the steps in four one hour sessions using this guide:


Let's be grateful to our AA sponsor for taking us into the 12 steps.  Thank you sponsor.

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