Being a sponsor to someone in Alcoholic Anonymous is about helping someone new to A.A. who needs guidance and encouragement to get them through the program. If you have been in sobriety for more than a year and feel confident that you can impart your wisdom to someone else, you are ready to become a sponsor to someone. It is important that to be a good sponsor, you need to have the patience and sympathy with that person that you wanted someone to have with you when you first entered recovery.
Before there was such a thing as Alcoholics Anonymous, co-founder Bill Wilson was struggling with being sober and he wished that there was another alcoholic that he could talk to. He found Dr. Bob who was unsuccessfully attempting to be sober from his own drinking troubles. He carried a message to Dr. Bob about the importance of sobriety and him, in turn, sponsored other recovering alcoholics as well. By being a sponsor, you can come guide someone struggling with their alcoholism through Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps. It would be your role in their life to help them towards difficult times and to educate them on the program. You should be setting an example for the person you are sponsoring so that you can pass along the message that sobriety will save their life.
Being a sponsor requires a number of responsibilities like encouraging that person to attend AA meetings. You can either give them reminders each week about when the next meeting is or call them if they are late. You can even offer to drive them to the meetings since you will both be going together. When you are at the meetings, you can introduce that person to other new members who are just as scared and confused as that person. You can explain to that person the emphasis of the first step in how alcohol can make you powerless and make your life unmanageable. That together, you can do what is hard for to you to do alone which is to stay away from that first drink. That Alcoholics Anonymous has helped more than two million men and women.
You can call that person every day and give specific homework to them that comes from The Big Book. Others are more relaxed where they will wait for that person to call them if they need any advice or have any questions. It is best that if you are straight that you make sure the person you are sponsoring is of the same sex. You do not want to be in a position where there can be any hope for a romantic attachment as that can make your recovery complicated for the both of you. While a sponsor can be a friend to you, they first need to be a sponsor first because if things are too relaxed and casual, you will both forget that what brought the two of you together is the need to stay away from alcohol. You do not want things to be too close between you that you end up getting a drink together.
It is important to always be patient with the person you are sponsoring. There will always be a chance that that person will relapse. If they have relapsed or told you that they think about relapsing, do not judge them or make them feel terrible for it. Instead, offer them advice on what you have done in the past whenever you have felt like relapsing. Think back to when you were struggling and confused about how to achieve sobriety. That is exactly how this person is feeling and needs you to be their guide. Always be honest with that person. If that person did something wrong that deviates from the program, do not brush it off. Call them out on what they did wrong even if it is what they do not want to here. These people are asking for your help because they need it, not so you can bring them back to where they were before seeking you. Love that person even if they make mistakes or drive you crazy.
Make sure that you are available to talk to that person whenever they need you. To make sure that there are no misunderstandings, speak to that person about the best time that person can call you and whether you prefer calling, texting, or meeting in person. If you do not have a flexible availability, then that person will want to find another sponsor if they feel they cannot reach out to you. Feel free to share the struggles that you have had to endure to get to where you are now and the victories you have had. That will inspire the one you are sponsoring that sobriety will get easier one day at a time and that if you were able to achieve sobriety, so will that other person.
Remember that you are not a counselor or a therapist and that you are in no position to give any legal advice. You can, however, point someone in the direction of where they can get those services. You can even speak to that person’s family about the program, being familiar with the literature, and inviting them to meetings. Remind who you are sponsoring that you are on this journey with them and are not alone.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888 570 7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.