A Sponsor is a more experienced member in the recovery program who guides the newcomer through the process of recovery.

In 12-Step circles, it is suggested that a sponsor should be of the same gender (unless gay or lesbian). The newcomer to the program is quite vulnerable; for some of us this is the first time we have expressed our true feelings, our secrets or our fears.  Experience has shown that this new relationship with a member of the opposite gender could be misinterpreted and if acted upon could reduce chances for sustained recovery for both parties.  It also will help to avoid gender based communication problems.

A Sponsor Helps an Alcoholic and,

  • Should have A working knowledge of the 12 steps and 12 traditions,
  • Personal experiences dealing with life in recovery,
  • A willingness to listen,
  • A willingness to help others by sharing their experiences, strengths and hopes,
  • To guide a newcomer through the 12 steps based on their own experiences,
  • To make suggestions and refrain from giving advice.

We should contact our sponsor when we need someone to talk to, or are unsure about decisions that have to be made.  A sponsor helps with problems and questions not only when times are tough, but in the good times too.  Or, when something triggers you to think about using again.   A sponsor provides a listening ear and can act as a sounding board for major decisions to be made, but the sponsor does not make that decision, only guides the newcomer into making a sound decision

Sponsors do not give advice, they only make suggestions and can share what their feelings are and how they handled similar situations using the tools of recovery.  If a sponsor cannot help in a particular area, a good sponsor will direct them to another person who can.   It is the newcomers choice whether to act upon that decision or not.

It is nice to share good news and victories with your sponsor.

Some principles both the sponsor and newcomer practice through developing this relationship are;

  • unconditional love,
  • selfless giving,
  • patience,
  • tolerance,
  • honesty and
  • trust.

A sponsor is an objective person on the outside looking in.  They are able to see problem areas and maybe point them out before a person gets into trouble.

Sponsors see how much a person has changed and gives encouragement along the way and a sponsor can help you stay focused on your recovery.

Sponsors are equals on the road to recovery

Sponsorship is a two-way street.

Sponsorship is like a Beacon in the Night, it is a vital tool to Recovery.

Sponsors are used in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Al-anon, Alateen, Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA), Naranon, and all 12-Step Fellowships.

Things My Sponsor Taught Me
by Paul H.
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Related Reading:

Dirty Cop
Emotions!: Making Sense of Your Feelings
The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotic Stories: 42 naughty, sexy adventures
The Sponsorship Handbook: Essential Tools, Tips and Techniques for Sponsors and Sponsorship Seekers