Any advice on getting a sponsor

New to AA? Got questions? Here's the place to ask. Note that no one person speaks "officially" for AA. AA meetings in your local area are always the best source of information. Note that anyone may post and reply to messages in this forum.
Post Reply
LandCruiserFan
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:15 am

Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.

rjr34036
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.
ReAnneR

User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 4329
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5340
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

User avatar
Jojo2
Trusted Servant
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:25 am

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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

User avatar
Layne
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1827
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.
Last edited by Layne on Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

D'oh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:51 am

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.

MyNameIsBetsy
Trusted Servant
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:18 pm
Location: California

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."

tomsteve
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 584
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.

User avatar
PaigeB
Trusted Servant
Posts: 8977
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

D'oh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:51 am

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.

Indianapolis
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:42 am

Re: Any advice on getting a sponsor

Post 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.

Post Reply