Sponsorship is two people with the same problem helping each other to work the program. It can provide a framework for a recovery plan, working the Twelve Steps, and bringing emotional support at difficult times. As part of the surrender process, we admit our weaknesses and we ask others for help. A sponsor is a recovering addict with more sobriety and program experience. Your sponsor should be someone with whom you can communicate. A sponsor is a person who gives us individual support and guidance in applying the S.L.A.A. Twelve Step Program of recovery to our lives. A sponsor is a person with whom we have no ulterior motive, whom we do not pay, and from whom we seek neither absolution nor judgment. Our sponsor is, in fact, a fellow addict. As such, a sponsor does not counsel from a pretense of higher moral ground. Sponsors are not “perfect” people working “perfect” programs. Sponsors are human, too, with struggles and confusion, just as anyone else in the Fellowship. Indeed, seeing the imperfections in our sponsors helps relieve us of our own compulsion to be perfect. A sponsor shares his or her own experience and feelings from having been in situations similar to ours, taking care not to give advice. We suggest that you find a sponsor quickly, even if they are only temporary. You can always change sponsors later if the relationship does not work out or you find someone that is better match for your mutual recovery.
Recovery partners (RP's), like sponsors, help us be accountable and stay on our recovery plan. Being accountable to someone is an important anchor for sobriety. Make an agreement with someone to check in — daily if at all possible. That person should have a list of questions — very specific questions — to ask you and that you have agreed to answer honestly. Your partner may be a member of your group, a friend in recovery, your therapist, or a good friend. A recovery partner must be someone you trust and with whom you feel safe. Shaming by a recovery partner is not acceptable. It is not recommended that you ask your life partner to be your recovery partner. This tool can be a valuable addition to your sponsor. It is beneficial to get a recovery partner or two quickly. A recovery partner might not be further ahead in their Step Work or even have much sobriety, but they still can help you be accountable.
Suggestions to look for in a sponsor (more below):
Suggestions to look for in a sponsor or recovery partner include:
Sponsors and recovery partners are valuable tools in recovery. Many members join a group and show up regularly for a while. Perhaps they even begin working the first three Steps and gain some sobriety. A sponsor will help you in doing the Step Work that will ultimately change your whole life. Many members choose their sponsor as the person with whom they do their 5th Step.
Finding a sponsor is easy, actually. Attend a number of meetings and listen to whom you feel “walks the walk” and shares some common ground. Then simply ask them. If they say “no,” do not take it personally (they may have other commitments or conflicts) and ask someone else. SLAA Fellowship Wide Services has a great pamphlet about sponsorship: http://store.slaafws.org/prod/PAM-005.html
If you have local F2F (face to face) meetings, getting a local sponsor that you see in person is highly recommended. If you do not have local meetings, you can get a“long distance”sponsor in the chat room. Ask members in our room that you feel would be a good match.
See our Links (Resources) page http://slaaonline.org/links for Telephone meetings, Skype meetings, and
email “lists” for sexual recovery, which are like a newsletter
that everyone can post to as often as they like. Email lists can
serve as a supplement to recovery partners and be another way of staying
accountable and breaking isolation. The shares/posts go to everyone
that belongs to the “list.” Some lists let you choose
if you want each email as it is sent or a daily “digest” of
the posts, and some even let you look at the posts online. While
there are many more, here are a few:
of our members shared this striking metaphor about sponsorship. “In
recovery, we are all a family; the steps and traditions are loving parents and
our fellow recovering addicts are our siblings. The sponsee is a younger
sibling, the recovery partner is a twin, and the sponsor is an older sibling.
Like any older sibling, sponsors are a few steps ahead of those they sponsor.
These individuals can offer their experience on the path to those who are following
behind. They can help others stay on the trail and avoid pitfalls.
In keeping with the family metaphor, sponsees must have control over the relationship
in the sense that he or she has final say about what he or she will and will not
do. The sponsor's role is make suggestions and observations. It is
not the sponsor's job to do the work for the sponsee; the sponsee must do the
work themselves. The sponsor is merely someone to walk with them —
to sponsor them — as they do that work. Ultimately, in seeking
a sponsor, seek someone with wisdom and more recovery. Then, the sponsor
suggests recovery work and, if the sponsee feels that it is right for them at
that point, the sponsee does it. Generally, the sponsee should do the work,
but the sponsee must have ownership over the relationship because it is their
own recovery. Checking in with the sponsor regularly is helpful.
Regular check-ins with the sponsor can help the sponsor see where the sponsee
is, and allow the sponsor to provide their experience, strength, and hope more
directly to timely situations in the sponsee's daily life.”