How Do You Choose a 12-Step Sponsor?

One of the core components of 12-Step recovery is the idea that we must work with another addict or alcoholic to maintain sobriety. Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, realized early in his sobriety that his cravings for alcohol seemed to dissipate when he turned his attention to helping another person suffering from alcoholism. Alcoholics Anonymous, in their informational pamphlet “Questions & Answers on Sponsorship”, explains the process of sponsorship as when “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.”
Newcomers to the 12-Step program of recovery may be hesitant to ask someone to be their sponsor, but A.A. urges us not to delay, informing us that “alcoholics recovered in A.A. want to share what they have learned with other alcoholics.” How, then, do we go about choosing a sponsor? It’s important to find someone with whom we feel comfortable and trust. Through the process of working the 12-Steps, we may divulge information about ourselves that we never thought we would share with any other person, so trust is an important factor to consider. We also look toward people who “have what we want”, that is, they are living the kind of sober, happy life that we wish to attain in our own sobriety. We may meet someone in the recovery community that we feel would be a good sponsor, but they may say no. It’s important to remember that this is not personal. They may still be working on their own steps, or have not been given the “go ahead” by their sponsor to begin working with sponsees. These men and women may be able to point you toward someone who they feel would be a good fit for you as a sponsor, and will often maintain a relationship with you to support your journey in recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous recommends that we “stick with the winners”, and this adage should carry over into our choice of a sponsor. We want to find someone who has worked the 12-Steps of recovery as outlined by our fellowship and is enjoying their sobriety and success in the program. Choosing a sponsor is an important step on our journey toward permanent sobriety through a 12-Step program of recovery, but remember: “We are always free to select another sponsor with whom we feel more comfortable, particularly if we believe this member will be more helpful to our growth in A.A.”
 
 
 

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