In the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous sponsorship was conducted most thoroughly.
Perhaps as a natural result of growing bigger the picture has changed. At any rate the old style of sponsoring, with the sponsor utterly devoted to his prospect is seen infrequently.
A revival of interest is needed. The following are a few suggestions:
1. Responsibility is the first principle of good sponsorship; the sponsor is the one who assumes responsibility for the person seeking help. If one is unable to devote the time and attention essential to good sponsorship, one should not undertake it. The Big Book of AA says. “Practical experience shows us that nothing will so insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.”
2. Sponsorship ought to be approached with the most serious attitude AA is a life or death matter to the alcoholic seeking help. Prepare yourself for the first call on a prospect by re-reading the chapter in the Big Book, “Working with Others”.
3. Visit the new prospect as soon as possible after he calls for help. Presenting the Recovery Program to him at the psychological moment he reaches for it may be the factor that saves his life.
4. On your first visit, tell the prospective AA frankly and simply, some of your own story — with enough pauses that he may chime in with some of his own experiences and reactions. Let him ask questions. Explain how AA works but keep your presentation brief and simple. Do not wear out your welcome when he becomes restless take your leave, making an appointment to see him again as soon as possible.
5. Don’t thrust your personal views upon him about the AA Program. Present it as it is presented in the Big Book and let him do his own interpreting, especially in regard to the spiritual aspects. He will get the views of many AA in addition to yours, at meetings and in conversations. Out of all that with what guidance you can give him, he will find a way to apply AA principles to his own life and problems.
6. Be prepared to sacrifice much of your time for a considerable period to give the prospect the greatest possible chance. Make yourself available to him for counsel and companionship. Do not take on, in your enthusiasm more prospects than you can properly handle. One new member a year well-sponsored gives better results than 50 given the once-over lightly.
7. Emphasize the importance of regular attendance at meetings as a golden rule and by example. See that your prospect gets a copy of the Big Book. See that he becomes acquainted with many other AA’s so he will get a broad picture of AA.
Courtesy The Silent Rostrum.