Who Answers?


It can be nerve wracking enough asking another fellow in sobriety to be your sponsor (I compare it to asking a beautiful girl out for the first time). Your palms start sweating, your eyes twitch hoping to avoid making contact, your tongue ties up into a garbled mess, and you might shuffle your feet a bit. You completely lose site of the fact that this person is there to help you, all judgments aside.  However, once the “asking” part is over with, an immense sense of relief washes over. You are finally ready to embark on a journey; conquering the 12 steps!

At least, that is what you are to made to believe – while you may be willing and able, a good amount of your quest depends on your sponsor; therein lies the possible concern.  Just because you secured a sponsor it does not mean he or she is the right person for the job. Many times those that are asked do not have the time to meet up as often as desired. This commonly occurs when sponsors take on too many sponsees. The sponsor takes on far too much responsibility and simply cannot be as available as needed; others may have work related issues, therefore becoming difficult to schedule time to rendezvous. Worst case scenario – your sponsor just doesn’t take their job seriously. You could be entirely prepared to dive in the vast ocean of recovery, yet your sponsor is just splashing about in the kiddie pool.

Now even though you have the ability to change sponsors at any point in time, that does not necessarily mean you should switch on a whim – I have a friend who has gone through about six sponsors in two months and is still on the first step! He uses “incompatibility” as an excuse in order to distract from the work at hand; the important process that it takes to maintain a healthy sobriety (you will never complete the steps if you cannot even choose a sponsor to guide you through the process!).

Understand this; a sponsor is not there to be your friend, their only true goal is to get you through the 12 steps so that one day you can do the same for another fellow. If a friendship does form during this procedure, so be it! Just do not look for a new sponsor on the notion that you need to be “pals”.

If you’re serious about switching sponsors, talk to a friend in the program about it. Discuss the details of why it is you want to change in the first place, even meditate on it!  It is extremely important to “pause before reacting”; asking for help and allowing others the ability to help you evaluate the situation can only benefit you in the end.

I know how tough it is to “ask out” someone who has already been through the Steps, but if it has to be done again (and again) then so be it. This is your well-being on the line here. If recovery does not take a front seat, you run a serious risk of relapse. Find a sponsor whom you can relate to; someone who can devote ample time and energy. If you can show the same dedication back in kind – then the two of you will get along just fine.

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Filed under: Featured, Recovery · Tags: 12-steps, AA, AA program, Recovery, sponsor

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