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Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:21 am
by LandCruiserFan
Any advice for the newcomer getting a sponsor?

I have just started going to meetings (about a month now).

I had a couple guys approach me and say they could sponsor me. They seemed nice enough. But I don't know if there's something I should look for in a sponsor like how well I relate to them, have things in common, etc?

Also, not sure what etiquette is if I could/should turn somebody down for offering or if they'd be offended if I say I want to talk to people..

Thanks for any ideas.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:55 pm
by rjr34036
Hi! Welcome!
Some of The advice that the big book gives on what a sponsor should be can be found on page 18 (bottom of the page). To sum it up, the person whose sponsoring you should have worked the program, and carry humility with them. It sounds like the men who’ve approached you are active in the program if they’ve offered you help. In my experience, I’d say don’t think too hard about it. I’ve sat and worked with a couple sponsors in early sobriety who I ended up having to move on from just because it wasn’t working out. They deviated from the program as it’s laid out in the book and that’s not what I wanted. As long as they’re taking you through the process as described in the book, you should be just fine. The process works all on its own. As far as etiquette, I don’t know that there’s any. Just say yes or no thank you or let me think about it. Lol no big deal. I’m relatively new though so I can’t claim to know it all. I’m sure others will come on soon to give u further advice if I’ve missed anything. Basically, just start lol with somebody who’s worked/working their own program. Trust the process and trust God and it’ll work out.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:36 pm
by Brock
Welcome, and thanks for the question.

I think ReAnne summed it up pretty well, it’s not cast in stone if you accept help from someone, then for whatever reason choose to change sponsors. In fact if a sponsor should get upset that you asked someone else, it shows that they were not fit to sponsor in the first place.

Maybe it’s easier to say what not to look for, and someone who seems to be struggling in sobriety, the type who use meetings to complain about life, I would stay away from such folks. The program promises a certain serenity, and if someone looks at ease in their sobriety, they probably know the program well. Lastly, remember it’s a privilege to sponsor someone, and the person should be happy to do it, the fact that these two volunteered it seems to me you are in luck, sometimes we get new members here having trouble finding someone, so a pick from one of these two seems fine.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:59 pm
by avaneesh912
I agree to what has already been said. There is a talk that one could help another if they are just a day sober than the other. Thats totally bull crap. The person who is sponsoring you has a responsibility of guiding you through the process so you have a thorough understanding of the whole 12 steps. They may not have all the answers but atleast point you in the right direction. People say step one is a vital step, yes indeed. Make sure you too read the big book and get your questions clarified. Dont assume that the sponsor knows all. Wrong understanding of step one could be disastrous.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:11 pm
by Jojo2
LandCruiserFan wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:21 am
Any advice for the newcomer getting a sponsor?

I have just started going to meetings (about a month now).

I had a couple guys approach me and say they could sponsor me. They seemed nice enough. But I don't know if there's something I should look for in a sponsor like how well I relate to them, have things in common, etc?

Also, not sure what etiquette is if I could/should turn somebody down for offering or if they'd be offended if I say I want to talk to people..

Thanks for any ideas.
Welcome.
I think you will find the pamphlet I recommend below, helpful in clarifying your expectations of sponsorship.
It is not usual for one to be approached where I am. The emphasis is very much on listening carefully until you identify someone who has what you want and to whom you can relate and then approaching them. It is unheard of for someone to stand up at meetings here and offer themselves as a sponsor, but I understand that happens in some parts of the world.
It can take a while and the willingness to travel to different meetings to find the right person. Ideally, they will have worked the Steps and have a sponsor themselves.
A face to face sponsor is recommended as preferable, but until newcomers can secure one, we offer a temporary sponsor facility here at e-AA.

To request a temporary sponsor to get you started with the AA programme, please complete our form here:

http://www.e-aa.org/form_sponsors.php

A temporary sponsor is a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous who is willing to share their experience, strength, and hope with another alcoholic as a way of service to help insure their own sobriety.

Their main function is to help guide the new person towards the 12 Steps, and also, where appropriate, to help guide the new person to face to face meetings and a f2f sponsor in their local AA community.

We assign women for women and men for men.

An excellent introduction on sponsorship, permanent or temporary, with questions and answers, is this pamphlet
from GSO :

Questions and Answers on Sponsorship:
http://aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:05 pm
by Layne
At this point in my recovery, I don't have a sponsor but I still do look for role models/mentors/etc. I find it more productive to look for people who have sobriety and character traits that I respect and wish to emulate as I continue on my recovery journey. Looking at the other end of the spectrum of personalities merely seems to reinforce my character traits that I wish to move away from and not be a good use of my time.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:42 pm
by D'oh
Quite Simply. Find a Member, who Has what You want. Ask them "How they got it?"

Man, women, Newbie, Ole Timer, Rich, Broke, Young, Old.

The only thing I can carry, is what I have received. Of myself, I am nothing. And, for the Sponsor, To keep what they have Received, they Must be willing to give it away.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:25 pm
by MyNameIsBetsy
Looks for someone who shares in such a way that you relate to him and to his recovery. You should want to be as sober as he is, and believe he is sincere in working the AA program.

A sponsor should have a sponsor. A sponsor should have worked the steps and be able to help you with the steps, as they are laid out in the Big Book.

A sponsor/sponsee relationship does NOT have to be a life long commitment. If it is not working out, move on and find another.

You could talk to potential sponsors before or after the meetings. Get to know a few folks on a closer basis. Maybe ask one to meet you for coffee, or ask if you might call and talk later.

If you are a man, get a man to sponsor you. If you are a woman, get a woman to sponsor you.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:47 pm
by tomsteve
LandCruiserFan wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:21 am
Any advice for the newcomer getting a sponsor?
before going to meetings, ask your HP for guidance.
when youre at meetings, close your eyes and listen.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:42 pm
by PaigeB
D'oh wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:42 pm
Quite Simply. Find a Member, who Has what You want. Ask them "How they got it?"
Then ask their sponsor to sponsor you!

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:52 pm
by D'oh
PaigeB wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:42 pm
D'oh wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:42 pm
Quite Simply. Find a Member, who Has what You want. Ask them "How they got it?"
Then ask their sponsor to sponsor you!
Great Point.

However, sometimes, losing something in the translation, is a Good Thing.

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:37 am
by Indianapolis
Personally, when I decided to really attack this program, I knew I'd need a sponsor asap after detox. So, while sitting in detox (always the best place for clear thinking, I know -- lol) I made a list of the attributes I'd want in an ideal sponsor. Personally, mine were:

1. A guy. I'm a man, and I know the rules... ha.
2. An older guy. I always vibe better with men older than me. Maybe it's a leftover from a good relationship with my dad and grandpas, I dunno.
3. Someone with some professional background. Maybe ego speaking here, but I wanted someone who could relate to the stress quirks of a professional life.
4. Someone with some agnostic tendencies, or at very least, open to mine.
5. Someone with a good number of years of sobriety.

Taking that list, I found a sponsor very quickly who met those criteria, asked him to be my temporary sponsor, and it became permanent shortly after that. What I didn't know was that he had three attributes that have been maybe more valuable than several of those above --

(a) he has a "keep it simple" mentality, which counterbalances my usual tendencies of over-analyzing.
(b) he has an old-school "check in every day" mentality. I like it. Particularly during the early days, it was nice for accountability. Now, its nice because we continue building our friendship and mutual trust.
(c) he knows the boundaries. He is my sponsor, not my therapist, my marriage counselor, or my best friend. When I'm asking questions or expressing stresses that go beyond character defects, beyond sobriety, and beyond the program, he's happy to smile and point me back to qualified guidance.

For whatever my limited experience is worth, that's it with regard to picking a sponsor. I enjoy my sponsor. He's done a great job with me so far, and I'm happy to call him my friend.