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Thoughts on Sponsorship

What Are The Qualities Of A Sponsor?

A sponsor or accountability partner is a key part of your recovery program. Without exception, the sponsor needs to be the same gender as the person sponsored. When selecting a sponsor look for the following qualities:
 
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Does his walk match his talk? Is he living the eight principles? Many people that have the 12-Step “lingo” down pat. They can quote the Big Book of AA and even give page number references. But their lifestyle doesn’t match their talk. Be certain that the person that you choose as a sponsor is someone whose life example is worthy of imitation.
 

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Does he have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you see the character of Christ developing in him?
 

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Does he express the desire to help others on the road to recovery? There is a difference between helping others and trying to fix others. We all need to be careful to guard the sponsorship relationship from becoming un-healthy and codependent.
 

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Does he show compassion, care, and hope but not pity? You don’t need someone to feel sorry for you, but you do need someone to be sensitive to your pain. People don’t care about how much you know until they know about how much you care!
 

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Is he a good listener? Do you sense that he honestly cares about what you have to say?
 

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Is he strong enough to confront your denial or procrastination? Does he care enough about you and your recovery to challenge you?
 

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Does he offer suggestions? Sometimes we need help in seeing options or alternatives that we are unable to find on our own. A good sponsor can take an objective view and offer suggestions. He should not give orders!
 

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Can he share his own current struggles with others? Is he willing to open up and be vulnerable and transparent? Ideally, a sponsor is living and working the principles every day!

Six Things That Your Sponsor Can Do:
 
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He can be there to discuss issues in detail that are too personal or would take too much time in a meeting. This is especially true with Step 4. You don’t share your complete inventory in a group setting.

“I’m the lowest form of life on the earth” is a phrase often repeated by those doing their inventory. Others deny, rationalize, and blame: “Okay, I admit I did such and such, but it’s not as if I killed anybody”; “Sure, I did a, b, and c, but my spouse did d through z; compared to my spouse, I’m a saint”; “All right, I admit it, but I never would have done it if my boss wasn’t such a jerk.”

The sponsor can be there to share his or her own experiences and to offer strength and hope: “You think you feel like a bum! Let me tell you how I felt when I did my inventory!” The sponsor’s role is to model Christ’s grace, forgiveness, and to give a sense of perspective.
 

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He is available in times of crisis or potential relapse. I have always told the newcomers that I have sponsored, “Call me before you take that first drink. You can still take it after we talk, if you decide to. But please call first!” Remember Ecclesiastes 4:12 (GNB): “Two men can resist an attack that would defeat one man alone.”
 

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He serves as a sounding board by providing an objective point of view. This is especially true in Principle 6. When you are dealing with the sensitive area of making amends and offering forgiveness, you need a good sounding board.
 

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He is there to encourage you to work the principles at your own speed. It is not his job to work the principles for you! He can coach your progress, confront you when you’re stuck, and slow you down when you’re working too fast.
 

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Most important, he attempts to model the lifestyle that results from working the program. It’s difficult to inspire others to accomplish what you haven’t been willing to try yourself.
 

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A sponsor can resign or be fired. Sponsorship is not a lifetime position.