You will hear it at every meeting, over and over again, “Go to meetings, Get a 12 step sponsor, work your steps.” This isn’t a suggestion. This is a program of action. A call to arms for anyone who wants to be free of the obsession over drugs and alcohol. Getting a 12 step sponsor is the turning point for your new life.
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What is a 12 Step Sponsor
To put it simply, your sponsor is someone who will take you through the 12 steps of your program.
This person is qualified under the conditions that they have already been through the steps themselves, with their own sponsor.
If someone offers to sponsor you but hasn’t worked any steps, I beg of you, politely decline, and run away quickly.
In my experience, a sponsor becomes not only someone who takes me through the steps, but also becomes somewhat of a life coach. Let’s be honest, I still don’t know how in the hell to live a sober life, and left to my own devices, I would be acting out on self-will left and right. Without my sponsor, I probably would have spontaneously combusted or joined a Kool-Aid cult by now.
How Do I Pick a 12 Step Sponsor
Good question! I’m glad you asked. Here are some pretty good starting points to look for when you choose a sponsor (or if you’re lucky, if your sponsor chooses you!)
- First, you’ll need to go to a meeting of your fellowship. Okay that’s step one.
- Step two, pay attention to what people are saying in the meeting. If you hear something you relate to, followed by a solution, approach this person.
- Step three, are they your gender? Yes? Good! No? Move on.
- Step four, ask if they are sponsoring. Ask if they have been through the steps.
**Side note, if your person says they aren’t sponsoring or don’t have time, don’t be discouraged. Ask if they can refer you to someone they trust who CAN. $100 says they say yes, and give you a phone number to call.
What’s the Point of Having a Sponsor
Well, to put it bluntly, we have no idea how to live a healthy life. We could try to do the steps on our own, but I’m pretty sure if I tried to read my fellowship’s Anonymous book on my own, I would have given up a long time ago.
Sponsors guide the way. They share with us their experience, they take our hand as we navigate through this crazy transition into our new life. They break down the steps. They show us how and why it works.
If you are still debating if it even DOES work, ask your sponsor for some examples from their own past. I guarantee that you will hear some similarities between their story and yours. If your sponsor isn’t proof enough that 12 step programs work, keep going to meetings.
It’s YOUR Recovery, so Don’t Settle
One thing I wish I had learned sooner, after having a few shaky first months, is that it is always okay to change your sponsor if you are not happy. For example, in the beginning, I thought I needed a hard-ass drill sergeant type of sponsor. Someone who would YELL at me if I was acting crazy, and make me feel like crap if I wasn’t exactly where I thought I should be. I don’t know where I got this idea, probably due to my childhood in a military family.
It turned out, I recoiled from this poor woman.
I never called her out of fear that she would scold me for missing a meeting that day. I never met her to do my step work, and I relapsed shortly after.
(Honestly, she was actually a very sweet lady, I was just a sick kid who wanted to create mountains out of molehills, so I made up excuses to wallow in self-pity, but that’s neither here nor there).
When I came back from my relapse, I was pointed in the direction of another 12 step sponsor. This one was literally an angel. Sweet as can be, gentle, and patient. Turns out, all I needed was love the whole time! I soaked in every word of the book, she praised me when I was working my program, and she gently guided me back on track when I wasn’t.
After we finished my steps, we became friends. She helped me find my Higher Power, and she taught me how to lovingly give my will back to Him. Most importantly, she taught me how to utilize the steps in my everyday life.
Since then, I have gotten a new sponsor and have reworked my steps again. This one too, is loving, patient, and kind, but she never hesitates to put my butt back on track when I fall off course.
The Beauty of Sponsorship, Getting to be One
The most important foundation for sponsorship, is giving back to the fellowship, the same way it was done for us. Our sponsor took time from their lives to read us a book. The reason being, because it keeps both parties sober. They are being of service to God by helping us.
The greatest blessing? Is when we finish our steps and get to become the sponsor. Never have I felt such joy and comfort as I do when I take newcomers through the book. I get to watch life come back into the eyes of these women.
If you are new and you need a 12 step sponsor, I 110% guarantee to you, that if you raise your hand in a meeting, someone will come up to you afterward. If I’m wrong and you aren’t approached, stick around for the next meeting and do it again. I know it might feel weird to ask for help in a room full of strangers, but if you do, you won’t be a stranger for long.
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