Q# 9:  Do we emphasize the importance of sponsorship?

How effectively?          How can we do better?


19 Responses

The forums have seen a curious "anti-sponsorship" message which could be detrimental to encouraging newcomers to seek out a quality sponsor.

That said, I welcome the debate, and would like to see a steer away from non-recovery messages about sponsorship.  I don't believe the fellowship as a whole does nearly enough to try and "suggest" who would or wouldn't be suitable to either sponsor or have as a sponsor.   AA has far too many alcoholics who have not recovered through the Steps trying to sponsor others, and it has far too many seemingly-non-alcoholics trying to sponsor others (clue: neither the BB or even the 12x12 make any mention about waiting a year before working any Steps).   This is a wide AA issue that affects attitudes and beliefs about sponsorship within the e-AA group.

We did offer temporary sponsorship, but this tends not to work well even with f2f AA let alone online.
Unless AA fellowship changes its overall attitudes about sponsorship, I'm not sure we as a group can improve on it.

All we can do is suggest it. Sponsorship is not always a positive and I do agree it should not be shown as the ONLY answer. There is more to AA than overemphasizing sponsorship.

The chat room is usually good about trying to get a newcomer to get a sponsor. I have not seen anything for or against in 12x12 email.

Assigning sponsors is what I have seen as the most effective, but the entire group was in on it.  I have found online as the most difficult to be a sponsor, I had to prepare what I do with a F2F sponsee in a format that lends itself to email and it takes more of my time than F2F.

I like the ides of having a willing sponsor list (not temporary - newcomers seem to automatically discount or ignore what is offered by a temp sponsor).   But the whole group needs to be behind it or it is of no use.

We have the Sponsorship Forum & we talk about sponsors in NB.   

We can't force anyone to get a sponsor if they choose otherwise.

i think we should add to the opening of our meetings that we have a sponsorship program (and start one if it isn't there) so that people can "raise their hands" if they are willing to be an interim sponsor.  I didn't know for a long-time that i could get a sponsor through e-aa as a new person.  we should also have a page that states that we have a list of willing sponsors & have a coordinator who keeps that list & can pass out names, etc.  We should make this an issue for the business meeting to take on. 

It would have been really great for me when I FIRST came in to get an e-aa sponsor until I found my f2f sponsor. or, to have both. Again, i only heard about e-aa sponsorship b/c a friend of mine just happened to mention it in passing conversation off of the boards at e-aa. i had no idea that on-line, e-aa sponsors were available. it would have helped me to have one.

In the few months that I have been around, it seems to me like there is emphasis on sponsorship and/or the importance of getting contact information to reach out to people one on one.  In our case, that would be e-mail, private messages in the forums, and private chats in the chatroom.

Could we do more?  I will listen to what those of you who have been around longer than I have to say. . .

from when I joined e AA the focus has been on sponsorship and combining f2f meetings with online. Womens talks constantly on sponsorship, the need, along with the chatroom and NB.

As many new comers are on more than one list this is covered, I believe in most venues

The women's email meeting offers temporary sponsors - a willing list of women who have worked the steps and are available to newer women on a temporary basis.  The degree of temporary is between them.  The ideal might be to provide support until the move is made away from the temporary online sponsorship to local AA community sponsorship.

Am not sure how much more we would want to do here. We seem to serve best when we use online to supplement, not take the place of, local meetings/sponsors.

An exception to this is for those in isolated parts of the world, when online AA might be the primary source of recovery. We have a couple of people in e-AA right now that must use online AA as a primary source.

We need a frank document explaining the pros and cons.  How to choose a sponsor?  What makes a good sponsor?  When to end the relationship?  How to start the relationship?  What are the ground rules? 


Sponsorship is a minefield, yet our pat answer is always, "get a sponsor." Sponsorship can be extremely helpful -- and also harmful.

I don't think we are much different than f2f, as far as "emphasizing" sponsorship.  Newcomers are getting the information about sponsorship. 


There is an excellent pamphlet produced by AA about sponsorship, and we have the links for people to read that, or our literature committee sends stuff out, when requested.


I find the "anti-sponsorship" trend disturbing, most notably within the forums.
I don't hear people saying that sponsorship is the ONLY way - quite the contrary in my experience. 

 I would however like to see sponsorship encouraged more. I took great care in choosing a sponsor, perhaps we could spend some time focusing on that.  I think womens & NB both do a good job of mentioning sponsorship.

Just an observation. Folks that attend face to face meetings regularly can make up their own minds on the matter.

We talk about sponsorship in a very general way in the email meetings and chat rooms - usually in an approving manner.

On the forums? There are an outspoken few who dominate any question or discussion on sponsorship.

The only "instruction" I give as an on line sponsor is to get a good face to face sponsor. I personally am very hesitant about this on line sponsorship thing.

I am not sure online sponsorship is a good thing.  I think as a temporary sponsor it's is ok, but perminent? ---No.

I am in the total belief that I have to be seen by my sponsor to be totally honest with her and I also believe my sponsor can tell a lot by how I look and how I act.   I do believe that to help someone get to a face to face meeting, temporary online sponsorship is invaluable.

I know that our women's meeting here has one of the best temporary sponsorship programs I have seen. It sounds like they have the right idea.

I have seen a positive emphasis on sponsorship in the group in general. I don't know much about the online sponsorship deal ... can't speak to that but I think we do a pretty good job of emphasizing f2f mtgs, and sponsors, and I believe someone already mentioned the literature on sponsorship. 

Again - the program doesn't come overnight. It takes time to get to all the various parts and that means sticking around a little while and learning the ropes.

We do emphasize the importance of sponsorship in the women's meeting and have a list of temp sponsors available. 

I haven't had that much exposure to other meetings here at e-aa.

Any new comer to e-aa is usually within the first six sentences asked if they have a sponsor.
The womens meeting has a temp sponsors list and is a very good way to start.

When I first joined these rooms I had an on line sponsor from e-aa that showed me the ropes and talked me through the steps. We had many a discussion on alcoholism.  She put up with a barrage of questions from me on a daily basis, often these were repeat questions as it took a while for my fear to dissipate.

Never once did this sponsor say anything against me having a f2f sponsor. Constantly she reminded me that she was there until I could get a f2f sponsor.

I have since had the privilege of having another e-aa women as a mentor allowing me to bounce things around until they become coherent enough to discuss with my f2f sponsor.

Perhaps e-aa could put a link on the yellow banner which could then go to the AA literature on sponsorship, both being a sponsee and being a sponsor

Absolutely yes.    100%  

I don't think we can. 

It's mentioned emphatically, and I think to harp on it any more would be like preaching.  Newcomers don't need that.

I feel as a group we do almost nothing in the area of sponsorship online, not that it doesn't happen,  just that it is quite low-key and I believe minimal and without any sense of group organization or promotion.  

Having said that, I don't come to my online home for sponsorship - I am an advocate of that f2f connection you get from a sponsor in person. 

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