Recovering alcoholics may receive many benefits by joining organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and serving as an AA sponsor. AA members obtain support, guidance, help throughout their recovery, and so much more. Sponsorship is more than just what new AA members receive. By sharing their experiences and knowledge with people who need them, sponsors also receive benefits. If you want to learn how to be an effective sponsor to assist others and yourself, here are some tips that may help.
Serve as a Same-Sex Sponsor
To be an effective sponsor to a new AA member, make sure you sponsor people of the same gender or people who have different sexual orientations than you. Sponsorship is about helping the people you sponsor, your sponsees, get better. Some people who are in Alcoholics Anonymous may not able to separate the sexual component from their relationships if they have sponsors of the opposite sex or sponsors with the same sexual orientation.
Work the 12 Steps Yourself
A major goal of sponsors is to coach people through the 12 Steps. This may be difficult to accomplish if sponsors have not worked through the 12 steps themselves. Have you ever heard the expression that you need to play a game before you can teach it? This is especially true if you are instructing someone how to live a recovering lifestyle. You need to have lived it yourself or at the very least worked the 12 Steps before teaching someone else how to progress through them.
Have your Own Sponsor
If you want to be a strong AA sponsor for someone else, you need to have your own sponsor. This way, you experience all ends of the spectrum. You know what it is like to have a sponsor, so you have a better idea of how your sponsee feels and what he or she is experiencing. You will also learn how a sponsor provides assistance and guides people. You may use this information to provide information and guide others yourself.
Always Tell the Truth
Recovery may be difficult and your sponsees may not want to hear the truth. They may not want to hear that they should avoid going to the bar with their friends, at least early in their recovery. They may not want to hear that they should do certain things if they want to stay sober. But you must tell them the truth, even if it is difficult to discuss or they do not want to hear it.
Enjoy Life More
People who constantly complain and have negative approaches to life may not be the best sponsors for people who are trying to recover from addictions. For your own recovery and your sponsee’s benefit, try to enjoy life, complain less, and participate in positive activities. If you can laugh and approach insignificant things less seriously, you may be a great sponsor. Many recovering alcoholics need someone positive in their lives. They need someone who is happy and will support them through tough times.
Do Not Sponsor too Many people at Once
Veterans of AA say that sponsors should not mentor several sponsees at once and that sponsees should not have more than one sponsor at the same time. Instead, sponsors should consider sponsoring one or two people at a time so they can focus their attention on those people. Recovering alcoholics need to know that their sponsors are there for them. If you have a lot of people relying on you to help them through their recovery, you may become overwhelmed and not be the most effective AA sponsor you can be.
Lead Without Being Controlling
Sponsors are not responsible for the lives of the people they sponsor. They cannot control everything they do and should not try. Sponsors are not responsible for their sponsees’ sobriety.
As a sponsor, though, you can and should lead people through their recovery and the 12 steps without controlling them. You are not their boss, but their lead and guidance person. You can stand by them through good and bad times and help them through their recovery. This does not mean you should let them do whatever they want. If they say they want to go to a party, for instance, you can have them discuss the reasons why that would be a bad idea.
If you want to be the best AA sponsor to someone, consider following these tips. There are many ways you can find sponsees. At meetings, let people know you are available to be a sponsor. Just make sure you do not say yes to more than one or two people. You want to make sure you are helping people effectively. It is about them and their sobriety. While you may receive benefits from being a sponsor, you want to make sure the focus is on them and their recovery.