What is Sponsorship

A sponsor is a person who gives us individual support and guidance in applying the SLAA Twelve Step program of recovery to our lives. A sponsor is neither a parent, a therapist nor a confessor. Accordingly, a sponsor is a person with whom we have no ulterior motive, whom we do not pay and from whom we seek neither absolution nor judgment.

Our sponsor is, in fact, a fellow addict. As such, a sponsor does not counsel from a pretence of higher moral ground. Sponsors are not “perfect” people working “perfect” programs. Sponsors are human too, with struggles and confusion just as anyone else in the Fellowship. Indeed, seeing the imperfections in our sponsors helps relieve us of our own compulsion to be perfect. 

Sponsorship – A Return from Isolation 

How do I find a Sponsor?

A good way to find a sponsor is to attend SLAA meetings, conferences and workshops …. Listen as people share… and see whom you relate to. A Sponsor and Sponsee work well together when they share a common history. Listen for people who have some time in the program and who have Sponsors of their own. Listen for someone who shares honestly, as honesty between a Sponsor and a Sponsee is critical.

…people don’t always raise their hand or announce at meetings that they’re available to sponsor — but if approached individually, that person may be able to help you with Sponsorship or at least be available for outreach calls. The prospective Sponsor may be someone with whom you feel comfortable. However this is not necessary for the sponsoring relationship to work. Comfort may not be present in the early stages of the relationship but may develop over time as the Sponsor and Sponsee get to know each other better.

How to find a sponsor – SLAA Fellowship World Services

Temporary Sponsor, Co-Sponsor or Recovery Partner

While you are looking for a sponsor, we would suggest you ask someone to be your Temporary Sponsor, Co-Sponsor or Recovery Partner. 

Co-Sponsors are two people who have worked the Steps in SLAA or another program.  Co-sponsors who have worked the Steps in another program may start co-sponsoring each other very early in their time in SLAA.

A Recovery Partner is someone with whom you check in on a regular basis. Being accountable to someone can be very beneficial to your recovery. It can also be helpful to make an agreement with someone in the program to check in often, even daily if possible. Share with that person what areas of recovery are important to you; willingness to be honest is key. Your Recovery Partner may be a member of SLAA or another friend in recovery. It is recommended that you do not ask a romantic partner or someone to whom you may be attracted to be your Recovery Partner.

These tools can be valuable additions to sponsorship or a great help while you are looking for a sponsor.

What is a Sponsor – SLAA Fellowship World Services

When to become a Sponsor?

Australian Members share…

I was hesitant to Sponsor but people needed help and I was sober. Im glad I made the effort. It taught me so much and strengthened my own recovery greatly” – Dan h

When I made the decision to sponsor my first sponsee, I felt that I was ready to begin the process, one day at a time with the help from my HP.  I felt, intuitively, that I was ready. Albeit somewhat nervous as to my ability to follow through. (An old pattern of not feeling worthy or good enough) But immediately recognised the dishonesty in my thinking, thanks to the tool of Step 10 that I’ve learnt to work with in this program. I was experiencing a centredness within myself, due in no small part to having worked the Steps myself a couple of times, with the help of sponsors, the fellowship of SLAA, and other fellowships. Because of this feeling of centered awareness I believed I had the experience, strength and hope to begin to support others on their journey through the steps. I now have 4 sponsees and continue to get so much back from this process. This experience of service is truly a privilege and God given. – Rick I

Shares from the SLAA Journal

I began sponsoring when I felt a perfect peace come over me and I knew I was finally done. Before that, I was relapsing over and over. When I finally got sober, I knew I wanted to carry the message instead of the mess. Anonymous

Just recently did I start sponsoring. Having worked with a new sponsor for awhile myself, seeing people in need, I asked my sponsor if he thought I was ready. Getting the affirmative I then proceeded to start working with my first sponsee. —Stephen F

I do more co-sponsoring which is based on equality and healthy relationship building, boundaries and reasonable expectations. —Nancy G

My sponsor and I made that decision together. I started sponsoring later in my recovery, when I was ready. — Anonymous

I began sponsoring after a few years in the program, when I had some experience working the steps. — Steve L

I started sponsoring after completing Step 7. My sponsor suggested I was ready after Step 5, but an inner voice said to wait a little longer. — Walter V

I began outreaching to newcomer males and offered guidance on the SLAA program. I was asked and I knew from working the steps that God thought I was ready. — Edward

Since I am in the HOW program, I started sponsoring after the 37 questions. I did so because a member mentioned that people were more likely to continue with the program if they started sponsoring. This made sense to me, though I had no doubt I would continue. I do have a sponsor and am glad that I decided to get one right away for two reasons. One, it does keep me connected to the program and two, because I learn so much from my sponsee and am reminded of the original questions for myself. — Ann

I knew I was ready to start sponsoring when I felt this incredible peace inside. All the struggling had ceased. All the sense of being in withdrawal had ceased. I was “on the beam” so to speak, and I had something that was worth passing on. — Anonymous

The Journal Issue #154 – Ready for Sponsorship

Sponsorship Methods

There are a few formal sponsorship methods commonly seen in SLAA.

Some sponsors offer only one method, other sponsors offer a mix of styles or have developed their own.

Further Reading