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What is an AA Sponsor?


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a peer-led fellowship that helps its members overcome alcoholism through a spiritually-based, 12-step treatment program. An AA sponsor is a senior member who has stayed sober for at least a year and volunteers to serve as a mentor to a new member in early recovery. Sponsors help their sponsee (the person they are sponsoring) navigate AA membership, answer questions, work through the 12 steps, and provide accountability. 

How important is an AA sponsor?

An AA sponsor plays a crucial and often transformative role in the recovery process from substance abuse. An AA sponsor is important because they provide practical guidance, emotional support, accountability, and a personal connection that enhances the likelihood of successful alcohol addiction recovery. They embody the principles of AA and help their sponsee work the 12-step program and navigate the precarious path to long-term sobriety with greater confidence and resilience.

What are the benefits of having a sponsor in recovery?

Addiction is an isolating disease by nature, so having an abundance of support is vital to the recovery process.

Working with a sponsor can provide invaluable benefits, including:

  • Accountability
  • Confidentiality
  • Support
  • Guidance
  • Motivation
  • Resources
  • Mentorship

What should you look for in an AA sponsor?

Choosing a sponsor is a very important decision. The sponsor-sponsee relationship is one built on a foundation of trust, respect, and accountability.

Here are some questions to consider when finding a sponsor:

Does your sponsor continue to work with their own sponsor? 

Humility is an important tenet of recovery, and remaining teachable is key to the AA program.

Does your sponsor attend meetings and encourage you to go? 

Once an addiction to alcohol or drugs has occurred, maintaining sobriety is a life-long pursuit.  Your sponsor should be active in the AA program and attend meetings or support groups.

What gender of sponsor do you prefer?

AA advises that women should sponsor women and men should sponsor men. For many, it is more natural and comfortable to speak to someone of the same gender regarding the sensitive and sometimes private information that’s exchanged. 

Does your sponsor seem happy and content with sobriety?

Your sponsor has been through the throes of alcohol addiction and lived to tell the tale. A good sponsor practices what they preach and promotes a fulfilling alcohol-free lifestyle.

Do you feel valued by your sponsor? Do they have adequate time to support you?

Your sponsor should exhibit empathy and compassion and be available to lend an ear when you need support and encouragement.

How long should you wait to get a sponsor in AA?

There is no required timeline to choose an AA sponsor. Statistics indicate that 75% of new AA members choose a sponsor within the first 90 days of recovery. You should attend 90 meetings in your first 90 days as an AA member, allowing you to establish a home group. This allows you to get to know group members and meet potential sponsors.

Is it OK to switch sponsors in AA?

Yes, it’s acceptable to change AA sponsors. A mature sponsor will understand your decision. However, you may want to have another sponsor in mind before ending with your current sponsorship so you’re not left drifting without a lifeline of communication and support.

How often should you call your AA sponsor?

There are no formal rules on how often you should communicate with your AA sponsor. Some sponsors may communicate with their sponsees daily, while others may speak with them once or twice a week. When you select a sponsor, it’s important to coordinate acceptable times of day, frequency, and duration of contact.

Can you do the 12 steps without a sponsor?

Yes, you can complete the 12-step program without a sponsor. Every aspect of the AA program is voluntary, and you don’t need to feel any pressure to secure a sponsor. That being said, going without a sponsor for too long is not recommended. The recovery process from alcohol addiction is barbed with many challenges. An AA sponsor can be a powerful mentor, providing valuable insight, support, and guidance on your journey to sobriety.

12-Step Meetings at Into Action Recovery

We provide 12-Step Meetings at Into Action Recovery. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming addiction, we’re here to get you started on your journey to life-long sobriety and recovery. 

Call us today at 844-303-3969 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our programs.

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