How do you Sponsor?

I have been sponsoring members of the Fellowship of AA for over 17 years.
The reason I started this topic is not to teach sponsorship, I am no expert, but, to reach out to all Sponsors in this community to share their knowledge, positive and negative; so other members of our community can benefit from our experience, as they embark on what can seem a daunting journey sponsoring and supporting a new comer through the 12 steps.
Hopefully they will learn how to avoid the pit falls we have faced, and so be better equipped to help their sponsees to achieve lasting and fulfilling sobriety.

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I sponsor others in the way I was sponsored because I do not know any other way. I make myself available to men in need of a sponsor. I start at the beginning of the book. I do not force them to go to meetings or do anything. I explain that I got sober by doing those things and it worked for me. If they would like to get sober they can do the same things and I will be there every step of the way.

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Sometimes sponsorship can be just placing ideas and waiting patiently until they take root and flower, not forgetting to keep them spirituality and emotionally fed and watered.

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Well…i no longer Sponsor anyone in AA as I have transitioned to Recovery Dharma. How I sponsored the men I did depended on where they were at and what they needed. I required nothing out of them, as it was their program. Each one was different.

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I totally agree, each sponcee is different, you have to be lead as much as you lead, it’s generally a two way street; done well both parties benefit.

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@Lezourez thanks for this topic. I recently finished my 12 steps and am not ready just yet to sponsor but im interested in learning others methods so im ready in a few months

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My sponsor encouraged me to sponsor when I had a little past 9 months and had finished the steps. Our women’s home group is small with few sponsors but with a pretty steady stream of newcomers, some on court cards, not all ready to be “done”. My sponsor made it clear that she would be available to support me and guide me, and she is really old school AA lineage with more than 30 years. I do tell my sponsees that if I don’t know how to handle a situation, I will be talking to my sponsor. My first sponsee told me she was a chronic relapser, but she has really worked the steps. For me, the challenge is to stick to the BB, and be very clear if I offer information from another source. For example, yesterday one asked if she had to file taxes, and I showed her the page on the IRS website with the interactive form, and where she can get free in-person tax help, and noted that we were way out of the scope of sponsorship. We’re a pretty friendly group, so we sometimes go to downtown meetings together, which led to me being asked for money by a sponsee early on, and I had no idea what to say! (My sponsor said, "Absolutely not!) I’m kinda known as a BB-thumper and I don’t care anymore, as long as our meetings stay in the solution and not victimhood. :person_shrugging: I listen to and recommend a lot of online speakers and step studies, and I am glad to have access to www.164andmore.com as a quick concordance when I don’t remember what page something is on in the BB or 12&12. My three sponsees know that I am there for them. They know that I cannot do the work for them. They know that it gets so much better :v:

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very important.

That’s so awesome Bootz. What a tremendous commitment to service.

Some of my guys ive sponsored are over 25 years sober now so must be doing something right , when i get a newbie i give them a big book as gift and we go through it especially how it works and we go from there . today im retired and make time for newbies and if i cant sponsor ive got guys who will take up that work

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My first sponsor was from Seattle over in the UK with work. He really was ‘old school’, if it wasn’t in the first 164 Pages of the BB it wasn’t the core program, the rest of the book was added value.
The 12&12 came later to amplify and better explain the steps and traditions, but he insisted that the BB was the key to recovery and I’ve inherited the same ethos, although I’m more progressive, as there’s so much great material available, I encourage my sponsees to build a recovery ‘tool box’ using whats out there provided they run it by me first, there’s utter crap out there along with the good stuff.
My sponsor also told me that lifestyle changes had to be made so I could recover and said in general,
'if it works keep doing it, if it doesn’t work or stops working, stop doing it, pretty simple really; that’s the key to how I sponsor, keep it simple, there’s too much complication in life so I try to keep the recovery message as simple as possible.

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