BEING A SPONSOR
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to heroin addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Step Twelve suggests we are in a position to sponsor others once we have completed all 12 Steps. Here, many questions arise. Am I qualified to be a sponsor? How do I go about being a sponsor? What is expected of me as a sponsor? How will I know if I’m being an effective sponsor? The main objective of this pamphlet is to answer such questions. Am I qualified to be a sponsor? If we have completed all Twelve Steps, we are in a position to guide others through the Steps. It does not matter how long we have been sober. As stated in Step Twelve, if we have completed the previous Eleven Steps, we are in a position to carry a message of hope. Now we have an experience we can share with others. How do I go about being a sponsor? Once we have completed the Steps, it is our responsibility to reach out to the newcomer. It is not the newcomer’s responsibility to reach out to us. Making ourselves available to others enables us to maintain our sobriety and reduces our selfishness. By simply approaching the newcomer at meetings, we ask if they have a sponsor. If they do not have a sponsor, we can offer help, keeping in mind that the newcomer can choose to work with another sponsor. If we sit back in meetings waiting for the newcomer to come to us, we are not taking responsibility for our sobriety and we come to rely on others’ actions to maintain our fellowship. Many of us recall what it was like to consider asking someone to sponsor us and face the risk of rejection. When the sponsor reached out to us, we had a sense of belonging and we felt wanted. By reaching out to the newcomer, we are taking responsibility for our recovery and we give the newcomer the message that they are an important part of this fellowship. What is expected of me as a sponsor? Our experience shows that our main responsibility to the newcomer is to take the person through the Twelve Steps. It is suggested that we reach out to the newcomer on a regular basis to check on how they are doing and to offer encouragement. Our experience shows us that it is essential that we allow the person to have his or her own struggles in recovery. Though it is important to offer emotional support, the sponsor does not have all the answers. It is not the sponsor’s responsibility to determine where the person should work, where they should live, or whom they should or should not date or marry. As a sponsor, our main responsibility is to share our own experiences on various recovery situations and to refrain from giving advice. We are like mailmen, we deliver the mail. What someone decides to do with it is not up to us. How will I know if I’m being an effective sponsor? As sponsors, there are several questions we can ask ourselves in order to answer this question. Am I making myself available on a regular basis to take others through the Steps? Do I return their phone calls? Am I treating others with respect or am I treating others in a degrading manner? Am I telling others the truth when I see them doing something that could jeopardize their sobriety? Am I allowing others to struggle, to find their way through recovery as a result of their experiences or am 1 rescuing, enabling, or being controlling? Am I carrying a message of hope or am 1 preaching to them? Do I have a sponsor? If I have a sponsor, am I maintaining contact on a regular basis? I cannot transmit something I don’t have. As a sponsor 1 must be sure I am following through on the disciplines I am suggesting to others. If I am taking others through the Steps, making myself available on a regular basis, being honest, treating others with respect, allowing others to grow at their own pace, and I am staying sober, I am an effective sponsor.