Sponsorship: Are you doing it right?

I had been feeling really confused about being a sponsor recently, not sure about whether I was doing enough, whether I was helping the fellows that I was working with in their recovery. I felt that the sponsees that I had didn’t stay in program; those that did, I wasn’t sure I was instilling ‘the message’ of recovery. In short, I was restless, irritated, and discontent regarding my ability to sponsor. I thought I should stop the service of sponsorship, because I wasn’t doing it right.

I needed help, but I didn’t know where to go. The people I talked to said I was doing a good job, but I didn’t want to believe them—I’m willful that way. And my sponsor told me to give it up to my higher power and let the response be my guide. I realize now that I had listened to her, but I didn’t hear her. So I kept on going in this funk, letting myself (and my program) suffer because of this self-doubt. One day, my sponsor’s words over the preceding weeks and months finally sunk in, and I decided to ask my Higher Power for help. Finally, I was willing to hear advice from my Sponsor, and when I was willing to do the next right thing, the answer came from my Higher Power.

I remembered the Sponsorship Kit I got when I was first asked to take on this service by my sponsor. Reading through the instructions and advice in the kit, I realized that I was indeed a sponsor; but there was more that I could do, with specific ideas and instructions to make sponsorship easier and more effective for all involved. It’s an amazing tool to use, and I recommend it.

If you are thinking of sponsoring, please give it a try after a good check-in with your sponsor and your higher power. If your meeting has a need for sponsors, remember that anyone can sponsor to the level of their ability… the Sponsorship Kit not only taught me that, but reminded me of that as well. Many fellows have different opinions about this, but I think that any member who has completed the fearless moral inventory of Step 4 to the best of their ability and is abstinent can sponsor newcomers in the program to help them understand the first three steps. I put myself up as a temporary sponsor for the first time before completing my first set of steps. No one asked me to be their sponsor, but I know that the change in me, in my willingness, helped my program.

~ Tim C.