Sponsorship question

Most of us who recovered with AA's program did so with the help of a "sponsor". But what is sponsorship? How do I get one? Who can be a sponsor? What makes a good sponsor?
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Sponsorship question

Post by Soberguy27 »

I was asked a question the other day and was wondering how some of you would answer it.
Could you sponsor someone who is an atheist if you were a religious person and could you keep yourself from pushing those religious views on the sponcee?
Also, if you were are atheist, could you sponsor a person who was religious and could you keep yourself from pushing your atheist views on your sponcee.

I've been sober now just short of 30 years now and am an atheist. I have sponsored many men who were religious( mostly Christians) and have never had an issue with it. Some stayed sober and others haven't. I don't have an agenda when sponsoring men other than helping them stay sober. My personal beliefs on religion never comes up.
What do you all say?
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Re: Sponsorship qjestion

Post by Layne »

I agree with you wholeheartedly.
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Re: Sponsorship qjestion

Post by DaveP1951 »

Good question sobeguy27. I signed on to this forum for the purpose of getting some food for thought regarding my sobriety. I get up every morning at 7 am and spend 3 or so hours studying AA and related literature asking myself “What does that mean and how does it pertain to me in terms of my sobriety?” I find that at thirty nine years of sobriety a lot of those questions have not been answered yet. So once again thanks for giving me something to think about.
“Religion says the existence of God can be proved; the agnostic says it can’t be proved; and the atheist claims proof of the nonexistence of God. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 28).
Using this quote as a guideline for your question, and to give you an understanding of my belief system in regards to it, I can safely say I am neither a religious person (as I have not had the existence of a God proven to myself) nor am I an atheist (as I have not had the non-existence of a god proven to me) so I suppose I am an agnostic. Being an agnostic I don’t think I would face the same problems of sponsoring one of the others as one of them would face trying to sponsor each other.
Therefore to answer the “Could I”, quite likely, but as to whether I would have any problems sponsoring either I don’t think I would have a problem sponsoring an atheist. They seem to be more reality based which fits more into my personality type. Thanks for posting the question. DaveP
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Re: Sponsorship qjestion

Post by PaigeB »

Soberguy27 wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:27 am Also, if you were are atheist, could you sponsor a person who was religious and could you keep yourself from pushing your atheist views on your sponcee.
Yes - most certainly! One of my first to make it through the Steps with me was a Catholic lady. She got me a book about the Saints that was perfect for an atheist! We helped each other! There have been other - like the daughter of a Lutheran Minister. Funny that an atheist to tell them something they didn't already know? LOL

A few others moved onto sponsors that offered a more spiritual aspect of the Big Book, but they stayed sober until they got one!

If they ask me I say yes. If they wish to move on I encourage it. If they keep me forever, I am just fine with that! O do what has been put in front of me to do!
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
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Re: Sponsorship question

Post by Indianapolis »

I don't have nearly the sobriety or experience you do, but I'll offer my thoughts for discussion purposes.

I'm an agnostic. If you've got god, great! I'm slightly jealous because it makes reading the 12 steps a whole lot easier, but otherwise it doesn't really affect me. I can happily hear about people's religious experiences in the program, I'm glad it works for them!

That said, I've had to find a way to reconcile agnosticism with the religiosity of many in AA and the "spirituality" of AA itself. Finding "higher powers" that are non-theistic, finding approaches to 6th and 7th step work that go beyond "Drop the Rock", and generally having solutions more humanistic than "talk to your higher power about it", have taken real effort.

My sponsor is generally ok with my agnosticism, and shares the trait somewhat. He is very spiritual, prays daily to a vague god-like figure he doesn't claim to understand, but doesn't follow any organized religion. BUT, given that he does have some non-agnostic tendencies (prayer, etc), his ability to help with the structure of an agnostic-based AA program has been limited. I've had to read other literature to learn how fully agnostic members stay sober and reconcile the steps. He has told me directly that he would not sponsor a true atheist.

Likewise, for those who have God in their lives, I can imagine that another religious person could be a huge help. If I were religious and someone could give me concrete experience on how building a relationship with God aided their spirituality and recovery, I'd bet that would be very valuable. Not critical, maybe, but certainly helpful.

So I don't know if the issue is whether a sponsor would "push their views" on a sponsee, as you ask in the original post. I don't imagine that's a huge risk, as most people's religious views are fairly entrenched. I worry, though, about whether a sponsor with a different religious perspective would be able to maximize their guidance of the sponsee through their very-different spiritual awakening.
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Re: Sponsorship question

Post by MyNameIsBetsy »

Could you sponsor someone who is an atheist if you were a religious person and could you keep yourself from pushing those religious views on the sponcee?
Yes to both parts of that question. But, so far, no atheist has asked me to be their sponsor.

When someone does ask me to sponsor her, typically I suggest we get together and discuss what sponsorship means. What does it mean to her, and what does it mean to me. One of the questions I ask is, "Who is God to you?" That helps me understand where she is on a spiritual basis. I will answer the same question and tell her who God is to me.

We in AA believe in a power greater than ourselves. For an atheist, that power might be the group, nature, AA as a whole. But, it has to be SOMETHING! We in AA should not dumb this down.

Betsy, an alcoholic
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
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Re: Sponsorship question

Post by Akroyd »

My religious leaning or any other opinion has no place in my sponsorship or AA. If you ask I’ll share in a general way. If on the other side of the steps you ask for more we’ll talk but it is an outside thing separate from aa and a sponsor/Sponsee relationship. I’m no guru, just a ex drunk with a some books. :lol:

It’s about them having an experience with a power not me shoving one down their throat.
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