Picking a 12 Step Sponsor

In the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous, the first 12 step group, the idea of sponsorship didn’t quite look as it did today. Before millions of people all over the globe began following the 12 steps, only a few dozen in midwest America were using the spiritual program to get sober. When a new man, or woman, was found to be in need of alcoholic recovery, a recently recovered man or woman was sent to them at home or in the hospital. There, they would tell their stories to the alcoholic still suffering, so that they may know their experience is not so terminally unique. More importantly, one alcoholic reached out to another to share that there is, indeed, a solution.

As the group began to grow and evolve, seeing an increasing amount of members, the need for individual attention became greater than what the meetings being held in personal homes could provide. Twenty years or so down the line, sponsorship evolved into a person who has completed the 12 steps guiding another person through the 12 steps. In its essence, that is the core component of the sponsorship relationship.

Today, a sponsor is seen as more than just a 12 step guide. Sponsors can be life long friends, peers of recovery, mentors in life, and alcoholic guides. A sponsor is like a most special member of a family, and often becomes an iconic part of a sponsee’s life. To be called upon in times of despair as well as times of celebration, a sponsor is there to guide their sponsee through the ups and downs of life, all according to the spiritual program of progress laid out in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Of course, each 12 step program has their own text and special means of sponsorship.

When looking for a sponsor there are a few critical things not to look for. Choosing someone that would have been part of the old crowd who used and abused substances is not the best choice. True, a sponsor will become a friend, but they are not meant to be such a buddy. Instead, look for someone with genuine experience in the program. Some key qualifications for a good sponsor includes: multiple years of uninterrupted sobriety, has completed the 12 steps at least one time, regularly attends meetings, has knowledge of the big book and the program. There will be a connection almost immediately with the right sponsor. Feel that they can be trusted with innermost confessions and looked to for guidance in good and difficult times.

Choosing the right person to guide you is critical to recovery. So is choosing the right treatment center. The Villa Treatment Center offers comprehensive programs built to help you achieve life-long recovery. Find out if we are the right program for you by calling (855) 591-6116 today.

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