You’ve been sober for a while now. You’re traveling different roads than you used to. You’ve come a long way. Learned a lot. Now, you want to give back. You think, “My sponsor has been an incredible support in my recovery. I couldn’t have done it without him. I want to offer that kind of support to someone else.”
It’s a great thought. Sponsorship is a healthy cycle – to be poured into and pour into others. In fact, serving others is a major part of recovery for many people. But here’s the thing…being a sponsor should never be taken lightly. It’s not something you should jump into quickly, or without careful consideration. It’s an admirable role, but it’s not one everyone should try to fill.
If you’re thinking about becoming a sponsor, it’s important to know the answers to the following questions. Once you do, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you’re ready for this important role.
Q: What Does a Sponsor Look Like?
- Has been sober for a while (many recommend at least one year)
- Is committed to the 12 Steps (attends meetings regularly; has gone through the 12 steps)
- Has their own sponsor
- Is the same gender as their mentee
Q: What Does a Sponsor Do?
- Helps their mentee learn about AA
- Introduces their mentee to new members
- Encourages their mentee to participate in sober activities
- Is willing to speak with the mentee’s family about addiction and educate them about Al-Anon
- Is available whenever the mentee needs them (whenever temptation arises – middle of the night, holidays, weekends)
Q: What Are the Qualities of a Good Sponsor?
A good sponsor:
- Speaks the hard truths to their mentee
- Is active in service work
- Laughs a lot
- Enjoys life
- Isn’t a complainer
- Does not set themselves up as a doctor
- Can admit “I don’t know” and work with the mentee to find answers
- Will be able to cope if their mentee relapses
Get Your Sponsor’s Input
What do you think? Are you ready? “Does my sponsor think I’m ready?” They should know the intricacies of your recovery and where you are in your journey. Their input on this subject should be heavily weighed. Set aside some time to have an in-depth conversation with them on the topic before you decide.
Additional Reading: What Do AA Sponsors and Lawyers Have in Common?
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