A sponsor is a closed-mouth friend who will take you through the 12 Step program. They are not someone who will loan you money, give you a place to stay, solve your job issues, or otherwise babysit you. The people best equipped to sponsor someone are people who have some substantial time in the program. They have taken all 12 Steps and have applied them in their lives. They have a working knowledge of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Choosing someone to play this role in our sobriety is not an easy matter. Being newly sober our judgment may be a bit clouded. We may select someone who is not fully grounded in the Steps and the program. And it is of utmost importance that this closed-mouth sponsor not share your business with others. So, we may choose several people to sponsor us until we finally find the person that is the right fit for us. It’s ok to change sponsors. In doing so most ex-sponsors will wish you well in your journey through the 12 Steps.
Why do you need a sponsor? Well, the Steps are written in a “we” format. Most people find that going it alone in spiritual matters can be a daunting proposition. We need help in deciphering all this new information that is coming at us. A good sponsor can help break down passages in the Big Book into understandable terms. They may also be able to direct us in reading the literature and applying this new way of life to ourselves. Once again willingness is the key to getting sober and staying sober. We must be able to trust this person implicitly.
Step 5 states that we “Admitted to God, ourselves and ANOTHER human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” This is where the closed-mouth person comes into play. In sitting down and having a long talk as we go over Step 5, we need someone who has insight into the Step. They are to be able to point out to us things we may not realize are really in essence liabilities for us. On the other hand, they can assist us in seeing our assets and how these may be put to good use in our newly sober life. These are some of the things that a good sponsor will be able to do for you. And remember that you don’t want your business to become the topic of conversation with others.
It took me a while to find the person that was the right fit for me. Through trial and error, I chose people based on emotion and not reason. I won’t say that I had bad experiences with sponsors; it just took a while to find the right person. Once I had found this person that I could freely and easily talk to without judgment on their part, the Steps made much more sense to me. I was able to gain an understanding of how the principles in the Steps could be incorporated into my daily life. I now had a close friend as well as a sponsor. We enjoyed many tears together until he passed away with over 40 years of sobriety. I miss him dearly.
So, taking the Steps, applying them in your life, and staying sober continuously are goals of the sponsor/sponsee relationship. If the first person you select as your sponsor does not seem to be the right fit, move on. However, thank this first person for their time and effort. You will eventually find the fit you need and be able to progress in the work of the program.