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What is a Sponsor in AA?

by | Last updated Nov 30, 2020 at 4:17PM | Published on Dec 2, 2020 | Alcohol Addiction, Sober Living

What is a Sponsor in AA

Everyone slightly familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) knows about the figure of the sponsor. This role model that you could potentially call or tap into for support in the early days of recovery is perhaps one of the most influencing individuals in the addiction recovery journey. However, do you know precisely what is a sponsor in AA? Let’s explore the role of the sponsor and the relationship between sponsee and sponsors. 

What is Sponsorship?

Alcoholics Anonymous is based on the figure or a sponsor. It was Bill W. who, after a few months sober, felt that first urge to drink again realized the importance of having other recovering alcoholics to talk to. Bill eventually found Dr. Bob, who was on a similar path, trying to stop drinking. Their common need for companionship and fellowship was what initiated AA.

Sponsorship in AA means having someone who can vouch for you, a person who understands where you’ve been and knows where you’re going. The last of the 12 steps in AA is about sharing what you’ve learned with others. Usually, a sponsor is a recovering alcoholic who’s been through the 12-step program and understands the experience. Much like their sponsees, sponsors are also trying to stay sober by following the steps and practicing active relapse prevention tactics every day. 

How is it Different from Twelfth Step Calls?

While the 12-step call is the connection between someone in recovery to someone who has asked for help, it is usually known as the beginning of sponsorship. However, sponsorship is continuing interest in someone else, a long-term relationship that carries a continuing responsibility for helping a newcomer adjust to this new way of life without alcohol. 

How to Choose a Sponsor

The process of seeking a good sponsor and choosing the right one should not be taken for granted. A sponsor assures you that you can always turn to them without embarrassment, doubts, or restraints. Most of the time, you approach a potential sponsor and ask them for their support after AA meetings. Although there are no specific fast rules, it’s recommended that your sponsor has been at least one year sober. But most importantly, they must be enjoying and thriving in their sobriety.

The sponsee-sponsor relationship is almost like a mentoring relationship. Both are growing and feeding off each other’s struggles and advancements. Here are other things to consider:

  • Your sponsor doesn’t have to be like you or enjoy the same things
  • Don’t expect your sponsor to agree with everything you say or practice
  • Sometimes your sponsor might not be available, but an always unavailable sponsor isn’t living up to their responsibilities
  • Usually, you will have one sponsor, and they’ll be your go-to contact for emergencies
  • Even if you complete a rehab program, you might still need a sponsor
  • It is never too late to seek a sponsor. Even long after completing the twelve steps, a sponsor can be a great asset to have in your recovery journey

Things to Consider When Becoming a Sponsor

Those who want to sponsor someone can find great benefits and rewards from this role. Anyone can become a sponsor after completing the steps, and it’s almost encouraged by the AA program itself. Sponsorships offer a unique satisfaction, and in a genuine sense, it gives people a sense of purpose. 

There are no rules or steps that guarantee you’re ready to become a sponsor. However, it is usually AA members who have worked the steps of AA, are prepared to share their experience, understand the program, and are ready to take on the responsibility of sponsoring another addict. Just because someone completes the steps and has been sober for a year or so, does it mean they’re ready to become a sponsor. 

While the length of sobriety is an essential factor, it is not the only factor. Patience, understanding, and willingness to devote time and effort to new members are critical parts of the role. 

Finding Alcohol Rehab Programs Near Me

The sponsor-sponsee relationship is quite similar to the therapist-patient relationship. No matter what you’ve been through or what type of substance abuse you struggle with, recovery is possible. Lighthouse Recovery Institute offers several addiction treatment approaches and all different therapies to address the conditions’ real, underlying causes. Look no further for help than right here. We are ready to be with you every step of the way toward recovery.

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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