Sponsorship has changed throughout the years since Alcoholics Anonymous was first introduced in 1939. At the time of the founding of AA, the world struggled to find a permanent solution to the problem of alcoholism. Alcoholics were considered insane and found help only in hospitals and mental wards. Then, a group of men started using spiritual experiences as their foundation for recovery. One such man in particular discovered that having a spiritual awakening, talking with other alcoholics, and helping those still drink come to sobriety helped him stay sober. That man was Bill Wilson, who became the founding father of Alcoholics Anonymous.
As Alcoholics Anonymous grew,the ratio between newcomers and old timers became imbalanced. After word of the step program that had been developed spread more were finding themselves inspired to admit their problem and seek support.
Sponsorship was born out of the need to help newcomers get through the twelve steps as immediately as possible. A sponsors solitary and primary role was to help the alcoholic get sober and complete the steps.
Today, sponsorship takes a much different role. Sponsors become mentors and lifelong friends. A sponsor is someone who not only takes us through the 12 steps but guides us in sobriety through all of our challenges. Sponsors keep us accountable, help us focus on our recovery, and support us in our lives.
Picking A Sponsor
Not every sponsor relationship has to serve this purpose. Again, the primary purpose of a sponsor is to take you through the 12 step program. Doing the steps includes looking deeply at yourself and trusting someone else to hold intimate space as well as give you honest and reflective feedback. Here are some tips for picking a sponsor
- Don’t pick someone who you would have liked to drink or use with
- Pick someone who has a lifestyle you admire
- Listen for someone whose recovery inspires you
- Find someone who works toward their recovery every day
- Avoid picking people with too much time on their hands
- Make sure you feel completely comfortable with that person and trust them entirely
- Look for someone who is respectful toward others and demonstrates recovery