As a recovering alcoholic, you know that with the right help and guidance you can get clean and can help others. Serving as an AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) sponsor is not only beneficial to the person you are sponsoring but can also benefit you, the sponsor.
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You’ll grow, you’ll help a fellow addict trying to recover, and you’ll serve to teach them ways in which they can live an alcohol-free life happily.
You can share the experience you have, as well as what you have learned from AA, and help another person who is just joining in to get and stay clean.
So, what can you do to effectively sponsor another member?
There are several ways to go about sponsorship, and helping others as well as yourself along the journey.
Work with a Sponsor
By having a sponsor yourself, you’re showing a new person that you’re sponsoring in AA that it is a long road you’re going to go through together.
You can ask your sponsor how to talk to a new person you’re sponsoring. You can learn through their experience, and you can pass that wisdom on down to the new person you’re sponsoring.
This information is going to provide assistance to the person you’re sponsoring, and it is also going to provide you with the insight you need to get through your journey.
Work with a Same-Sex Relationship
Many people feel that it is difficult to work with a partner of a different gender. For some, it might be an issue with dominance or not having the power.
Others who are new and seek help from a sponsor might view it as a “relationship,” as opposed to a healthy team approach to getting clean.
Serving as a same-sex sponsor, you’re not only going to connect with your the person you sponsor, you’re going to find it easier to discuss openly with them your feelings, and ask them about theirs.
You can help each other through the long road and journey that lies ahead when you are trying to get clean.
The 12-Steps Work… So Work Them
Many sponsors are in a position where they themselves have not yet completed the 12 steps.
What better time to do so than with your sponsoree?
Not only can you guide them through the steps you have gone through, but you can also work together to complete the ones you have not yet completed as a sponsor.
It is going to serve as a teaching method for your sponsoree.
They will have more trust if they see you are going through the 12 steps with them and are actually working the programme.
Furthermore, you’re going to instil what you have already learned, and work through the phases you still need to get through together, which will make the transition and the journey far more enjoyable when you’re getting clean.
Be Honest and Enjoy Life
People who are grateful, enjoy life, and enjoy what is dealt with them, are typically the best sponsors. They can teach their sponsoree that not everything they go through is easy; but, it is possible to enjoy the journey and process, to getting clean.
As a sponsor, you also want to tell the truth at every phase. Do not try to hide a relapse you have had, nor should you conceal something difficult you have gone through.
You can build trust by being honest; and, by showing vulnerability in your struggles, you are going to humanize the relationship you are building with your sponsoree.
It will make the road to recovery much easier for both of you, and it will help you work through the 12 steps you are still trying to complete as a sponsor.
Don’t Take on Too Much
The purpose of being a sponsor is to help others, show them what recovery can do, and to get through the recovery process yourself. If you are trying to sponsor 20 people, you are not going to have the time, effort, energy, or dedication, to the people you are working with.
It is better, at least at first, to sponsor one or two individuals at a time. This is going to allow you to give them your full attention. It will allow you to instil confidence, and show them that you are there to help them.
It also allows you to stay on track, stay focused, and avoid becoming overwhelmed as a sponsor.
You want your sponsoree to trust you; how can they if you are never there to answer a question, or if you always tell them you have no time to work with them because you have to go work with another person.
You can’t overextend yourself as a sponsor.
Over time, and once you are fully recovered, it may be possible for you to do more.
But, early on, you want to work with a few people, and give them your everything.
It will help you, and it will help them open up and trust with you.
Don’t Control: Lead and Teach
If you are domineering and always require your sponsoree to tell you everything, at every moment of the day, they are going to push you away. You want to be a leader by example. Show them how far along the road to recovery you have had.
Show them your failures, be vulnerable, and let them see the struggles you have gone through.
The more you can connect with the person you are sponsoring, the more they are going to trust you. And, the more you lead by example, and by teaching, rather than by demanding, the more likely it is they are going to want to work with you and open up to you as a sponsor when you’re working through the program with them.
AA is difficult, but you have already made the tough decision of joining. Now, the time comes for you to help and learn. Being a sponsor is a great way to do both.
If you want to be an effective one, these are some simple tips to help you grow as a sponsor, help yourself, develop, and obviously, help your sponsoree along their journey as well.
Give us a call today on 0800 088 66 86 and let us help you in your journey to recovery. You may also contact us here via the online contact form.
Keith stopped using drugs and drinking alcohol more than 10 years ago. He now spends a lot of time writing and editing content for this website. His mission is to assist people who are also looking to embrace addiction recovery. Keith believes a key way to accomplish this goal is through his writing.