The purpose of a Sponsor is to guide you through all 12 Steps. To find one, attend as many meetings as possible, whether in-person, online or over the phone. Use the MA Meeting Finder to find meetings. If you live within an MA District/Region contact them first about Sponsorship. It’s likely they can refer you to available Sponsors in your area.
Attending meetings consistently helps you get to know other MA members. You may hear from someone who is living a life of recovery that resonates with you. Step out of your comfort zone and ask if they are willing to Sponsor.
It is ideal if a potential Sponsor has been in recovery long enough to have worked all 12 Steps. Seek someone who has personal and recovery attributes that you admire, who is living life happy, joyous and free.
When working the 12 steps we reveal deep personal secrets that can awaken feelings that effect both the Sponsor and Sponsee. So while there are no set rules when selecting a Sponsor, if you feel that you may become romantically attracted to that person it may threaten the recovery of you both.
Temporary Sponsors and Accountability Partners
If you’d like to start the 12 Steps right away but aren’t finding the “perfect” Sponsor, you might consider asking someone to be your Temporary Sponsor. They can help guide you through the first three steps as you get to know each other better. At any time you are free to evaluate if you’d like to find another Sponsor or continue to work the steps with your Temporary Sponsor.
Perhaps you aren’t yet ready to begin the 12 Steps. We then suggest finding accountability partners. These are MA members who aren’t available to sponsor, they may not have gone through all 12 Steps, they may have been sober a little longer or have a similar sobriety time as you. If you’d both like to share contact information and check-in with each other regularly to share about on your recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
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How can I overcome shyness, procrastination, or the fear of imposing myself on another in selecting a Sponsor?
Getting a Sponsor is not like getting married; there is no long-term commitment. One can ask a person to be a temporary Sponsor, and see how the relationship develops. It is important to get beyond our fears of asking other people for help. It is indeed an honor for a person to be asked to be a Sponsor. We are not burdening others with our problems and fears of doing so should not be used as an excuse to avoid making a commitment.
Should a Sponsor be of the same gender?
The gender of a sponsor you select to guide you through the 12 Steps is at your discretion. We suggest avoiding sponsorship relationships that may lead to problematic attachments, including romantic and/or sexual relationships, which could detract from the primary purpose of recovery.
What if I want to change Sponsor?
Then do so. If you feel a different person can better enhance your recovery, then it is good form to gently let your current Sponsor know that you want to utilize the particular experience of another person and that you will be changing Sponsors. This is frequently done in 12-Step programs and many “long-timers” have had several different Sponsors.
How often should I contact my Sponsor?
This is up to you and your Sponsor. Many Sponsors ask newcomers to call them daily for the first month or two. If your Sponsor is away or can’t be reached, it is wise to call other members of the program. It is a good idea to call several people regularly in any case.
Must I do anything a Sponsor asks, or agree with whatever a Sponsor says?
No. If clarification is needed or disagreements emerge, then they should be discussed openly between the parties involved. Your recovery is your responsibility. You would be wise to heed your Sponsor or get another Sponsor with whom you can work. There is no rank in the program and the relationship between you and your Sponsor is one of trust and shared experiences.