If you are early in recovery and have started attending 12 step meetings, you are most likely hearing suggestions about finding a sponsor. For me, mainly because I didn’t ask, it took some time to find out what a sponsor was and also what he wasn’t.
At most meetings I’ve attended there are pamphlets available covering a wide variety of recovery related issues. One has to do with sponsorship. This pamphlet describes 12 step sponsorship in a very clear manner. You can also find much to say on sponsorship in Chapter 7 of the text of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book. The chapter, “Working With Others”, describes in detail what to and what not to expect from a sponsor and how to handle yourself as a sponsor.
Due mainly to fear and pride I was reluctant to approach another man and ask him to be my sponsor. In fact, looking back on this reluctance, was it any different than a man driving aimlessly in a strange town, due to his reluctance to ask for directions? The difference in the two being the potential consequences, based upon the deadly nature of alcoholism and addiction, of not seeking out a sponsor.
Pleased to say, I did put aside my fear and found a sponsor. There were a few things I needed to find out prior to asking this gentleman to be my sponsor. Did he have a sponsor? Had he worked the 12 steps? Had the steps led to a profound change in his life? The answers to these questions had to be yes. I wasn’t about to ask a person who was lost like me for directions.
There were some rules he needed to put forward also. In asking him to be my sponsor, I was not asking him to be my higher power. He was simply someone who had gone through the 12 steps, had the experience, and was there to offer practical advice based upon that experience. This concept of sponsorship is clearly stated on pg. 96 of the Big Book.
This gentleman has since become a dear friend who has helped me through some trying times. It turned out to be a good idea to finally ask for directions.
I hope this has been helpful.
Thank you and God bless, Kevin Eldridge