It’s common for people working through a 12-step program to need additional help and encouragement between meetings, especially in the vulnerable early stages of recovery. An AA sponsor can be invaluable in helping a newly sober person prevent a relapse and continue making progress toward their goals, but how can you tell whether you’re ready to take on the responsibility?
Are You Ready to Be a Sponsor?
The idea of sponsorship wasn’t initially part of the 12-step model, but as the program evolved over time, people working through it started reaching out to others and choosing to be of service as part of reaching the 12th step.
After you complete a 12-step recovery program, you may eventually reach a point where you feel confident in the progress you’ve made and want to pay it forward by taking an AA newcomer under your wing. Before doing so, it’s crucial to honestly assess whether you’re stable enough to mentor and support someone else. Ideally, your relationship with this person should be mutually beneficial, non-judgmental and not overly stressful for either of you.
Remember, your commitment to recovery isn’t the only determining factor in helping you decide whether you’re ready to become a sponsor. If you think you might be ready to shoulder the responsibility, start by asking your sponsor for their advice. If they think you could benefit from helping others, you can feel more confident about doing so. However, you should also ensure you have the time and patience to help another person walk the path to wellness.
How to Become a Sponsor
There isn’t any specialized training or education you must complete to become a sponsor. The only requirement is a heartfelt desire to lead by example and help people celebrate their successes, one day at a time.
Embarking on an AA sponsorship does not mean you are pronouncing yourself an authority about recovery, or that your experience and guidance can be a suitable replacement for group or individual therapy. In serving as a sponsor, you can draw on the wisdom you’ve learned in recovery and encourage your sponsee to rely on 12-step teachings. If they seek advice from other AA members or decide to switch sponsors, don’t take it as an insult. Trust that they know what’s best for them.
Why Choose 12-Step Recovery?
Since the 1930s, 12-step programs have been helping people overcome addiction and learn to lead fulfilling, substance-free lives. Evidence suggests that by developing robust connections within the 12-step community, you can significantly increase your chances of achieving lifelong recovery.
Still Waters is a unique addiction treatment facility in Tennessee that provides an immersive experience based entirely on the 12 steps of AA. We believe the 12 steps provide spirituality, connection and faith in yourself – three things that are often sadly lacking during active addiction. When you become part of our family, you’ll never be alone on your recovery journey. If you have not found success with traditional treatment programs and want to explore the 12 steps in depth, reach out to learn more about how we can help you.