Addiction Treatment

Understanding the Role of Your AA Sponsor

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Last updated: 04/30/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When it comes to AA and other 12 step meetings, it seems pretty simple. Go to meetings. Get a sponsor. Work the steps. And you’re good right? Sound reasonable enough…

Yet when you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, even the simplest of things can become overwhelming. That’s why it’s necessary to understand the importance of AA and the role of your sponsor in your recovery.

What Is an AA Sponsor?

When it comes to the 12 steps community, having a sponsor is a necessary step to long-term sobriety. Your sponsor is someone of the same sex who has over a year in recovery, has their own sponsor, and is active in the recovery community.

The sponsor’s role is to assist you through the program. Sponsors have experience in the Rooms, know the challenges of early and long term sobriety, and are able to give you guidance both in your recovery and in working the program.

And while anyone in the Rooms has the support of the whole 12 step community, the support you get from your sponsor is different. It’s one-on-one and gives you a specific person to turn to when you have questions or struggles.

What Does an AA Sponsor Do?

The role of the AA sponsor is vast. Here are just some of the things you can expect from a good sponsor.

  • Guidance and support: The primary role of the AA sponsor is guide you through the Rooms and to give you the recovery support you need.
  • A sympathetic ear: When you just need to vent, your sponsor is there to lend an ear.
  • Encouragement and praise: When you’re addicted, so much is focused on what you don’t do right. That’s why it’s so important to find a sponsor who gives you encouragement and praise when it’s due.
  • Emergency contact: When you need someone to talk you out of picking up at 3 AM, it’s your sponsor you call.
  • Honest feedback: The road to recovery is not black and white, nor is it straight, and honest feedback is important to make sure you stay on the right track.
  • Spot warning signs: Often times, others recognize the signs of pending relapse before you notice it yourself, and since your sponsor’s already been through it, he or she can spot those warning signs.
  • Role model behavior: When you’re new to recovery, you can have no idea what it looks like or how you should behave. If you have a good sponsor, you can look towards him or her as a role model.
  • Help you with step work: One of the primary roles of the AA sponsor is to guide you through the step work and ensure you’re gaining the most from the process.
  • Call you on your crap: Finally, you need a sponsor who isn’t afraid to call you on your crap, especially since part of their role is help you remain sober.

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