Who is a Sponsor?
A sponsor is a senior member of AA or NA who has been in recovery for usually at least a year. Sponsors help you navigate membership, answer questions, work on the 12-steps, and offer accountability.
A sponsor is also a confidant who understand where you have been. You can confide in your sponsor what you may not be comfortable sharing at meetings. Or, further discuss, things you have brought up in meetings but that you feel like you need to unpack more outside of the limited time frame.
Both AA and NA outline the sponsor relationship in their literature. Although slightly different, the core of the sponsor relationship remains the same for every 12-Step program.
Sponsors Guide Others Through the 12 Steps
Though no two sponsors will have the same dynamic with their sponsees, one central responsibility remains consistent: to help the sponsee through the 12-step program. This responsibility includes talking to the sponsee about what is required in each step, teaching them the rules of the program and familiarizing them with the basics of meetings, such as the ideas, language and customs associated with the program.
Sponsors Care About More Than a Sponsee’s Sobriety
As veterans of 12-step programs, sponsors know that recovery is about more than just sobriety. Many sponsors regularly talk to sponsees about other aspects of life. They know that emotional and physical health are key parts of their sponsee’s journey. Sponsors offer both practical and emotional guidance for those they mentor. However, effective sponsors are also typically good at setting some boundaries, so that their sponsee doesn’t become overly dependent on them.
What is the 12-Step Program
The 12-step program is a fellowship of men and woman who have the desire to manage their addiction to drugs or/and alcohol. It is a spiritual, not religious program. The 12-steps were founded by an amazing man named Bill Wilson in 1938. His research showed that there were positive effects when people with addictions work together in practicing recovery. Since then, the 12-step model is utilized by treatment centers world-wide.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMSHA, in its National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services from 2013, the 12-Step models are used by approximately 74 percent of treatment centers around the world leading to the most successful rates in lifetime recovery.
History of the 12-Step Program
Wilson continued to do research and was destined to help others suffering from addiction and alcoholism. He wrote a book known as, “The Big Book,” in the hopes to help people even after he’s gone, and it has. Bill got the idea from a Christian group known as the Oxford Group. However, its program was religious and Wilson soon found out many people do not welcome the idea of religion like he hoped. This gave him the idea to create the spiritual program. In the 12-step program you create your own concept of a higher power and as long as you believe in something greater than yourself with the potential to restore your sanity, you will be well on your way to a successful recovery from any addiction.
The 12-step Program and its Practice
The uncomplicated principle of the 12-Step program is that individuals can help each other reach and maintain recovery from drugs and alcohol. They do this by sharing their experience, strength and hope with one another and support all other individuals who are trying to achieve recovery. For the 12-step program to work and in order to have a mental and emotional transformation, you must:
- Surrender to a Higher power. When you surrender to something greater than yourself it will allow you to have something or someone to lean on when all fails. You will pray to this Higher Power and it will help you learn to love yourself.
- Have the ability to admit you have a problem with addiction. It is only when you admit to having a problem you can do something about it and change your life for the better.
- Be aware. You must be aware of your behaviors. When you are living a clean and sober lifestyle you should be honest, open-minded and willing. Not selfish, dishonest and unwilling.
This process does not have a graduation and it is not a cure. You need to constantly work on yourself just like Jay has in the video above. He was sick and tired of being sick a tired. He knew nothing else was going to work so he gave the 12-step program another shot and has been clean and sober since. He is clean and sober because he works these steps daily and knows there is something out there that is greater than him that has got him to where he is today.
The 12-Steps that Lead from Addiction to Recovery
Here are the 12 steps:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol or drugs – that our lives have become unmanageable.
2. Believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
3. Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our higher power or God as we understand him.
4. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitting to our higher power or God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Become entirely ready to have our higher power, or God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked our higher power, or God to remove our shortcomings.
8. Make a list of persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.
9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admitting it.
11. Through prayer and meditation improve our conscious contact with our higher power, or God, praying only for knowledge of the will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we carry this message to alcoholics and drug addicts to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The 12-Steps Can Help You
The 12-steps have helped people for years. It is a very effective way to get and stay clean and sober. It has worked for Jay and it can work for you. The only thing you have to do is follow the guidelines the 12-step program has set out for you. If you are struggling and want to find a 12-step meeting, now’s a better time than ever. Give us a call and we can help you live the life you deserve.