Sponsorship is a crucial part of the 12-step programs and in keeping the addict or alcoholic achieve long-term sobriety.
The twelfth step of the program states, “having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
The key part of this step is that we carry this message to alcoholics, which is done through service work and sponsorship as outlined in the Big Book and Basic Text. Sponsorship is strongly suggested as a continuum of recovery after completing the steps. There are many different opinions that you hear in the rooms as to when someone is deemed ready to sponsor. A big role the Sober Community Podcast plays is to bring some of these difficult topics that need to be talked about, debated freely, and have no other forum to be spoken in, to light so that those that are listening can then also continue such discussions and feel free to contribute to ours. This is your channel!
Sober Community Podcast host Rocky, speaks with newcomer T, about her experience so far with sponsorship.
Do you have to sponsor? How do you know if you are ready to take that big step? Rocky, being a seasoned member of the recovery community opens a discussion with T about the importance of her being willing to sponsor other women.
T makes substantial arguments as to why although she is willing, she is not ready yet according to her “timeline.” Her main point is that she, as a sponsor, will be responsible for her sponsees recovery, a responsibility she does not think she is ready to take on yet.
Rocky breaks down her timeline and her notions about sponsorship, common to many newcomers in the rooms, and why they are rather superfluous conceptions about sponsorship. The most important part about sponsorship is that even though we don’t know it all, we know more than the newcomer who needs to be taken through the steps.
T questions – what if she doesn’t know how too?! Why would she allow someone to depend on her to take them through the steps if she can’t do a thorough job?
Referencing pages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, this episode is a much-needed conversation about the actual purpose of a sponsor and what “sponsorship” as a concept does for both the sponsee and sponsor.
The greatest way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Rocky mentions to T that she can continue to expand her learnings while she is taking a newcomer through the book and steps.
T then goes into sharing some of her personal experience with what her sponsor has done for in her own recovery. She talks further about how she was stuck in an endless cycle of treatment centers, relapse, and not convinced of the program.
She experienced feelings of guilt and shame when she returned from a relapse, and it was her sponsor who was there to greet her with a warm smile and open arms and it was exactly what she needed to feel comfortable with coming back to the rooms.
“Whether you have a week or two weeks, you can always welcome someone back and be that smiling face for them. You can always do that” T shares.