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What Is an AA Sponsor?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step program to help people stop drinking. The program is based on group meetings and a sponsor-based support system. An AA member and their sponsor have an easy and open relationship with the same goal of achieving and maintaining sobriety.

What Does a Sponsor Do?

A sponsor is a recovering alcoholic who has successfully made some personal progress in the AA recovery program. He or she is asked by another AA member to take on the individual responsibility of sponsorship. A sponsor shares their experiences on an individual and personal basis with another alcoholic who is trying to achieve or maintain their own sobriety through the AA program. They help the person focus and navigate through the stages of the program

Benefits of Sponsorship

It is important to note that sponsors and the sponsored are equals in AA. There are benefits on both sides of being involved in AA sponsorship. The new AA member benefits by developing a strong bond with another person in the program. They get unlimited support throughout their AA journey. A newcomer can feel free to talk, share and ask questions without embarrassment. The sponsor benefits in the recovery process, just at a different point in their recovery. They achieve a sense of helping others and assume responsibility for someone other than himself or herself.

Finding a Sponsor

The interested AA member needs to ask another person to be their sponsor. They choose someone with whom they are comfortable in confiding. The most common sponsor connection is male-to-male and female-to-female but there are no hard and fast rules. Most new and established working sponsor relationships have similar backgrounds and interests. An AA member can choose a sponsor at anytime during their recovery, whether they are a newcomer or have been around for a while.

Finding a sponsor means that a newcomer has someone to whom they can turn with questions, for support and for non-judgmental advice. A sponsor does not take another’s inventory nor do they impose their own personal opinions. The sponsor is support in getting the newcomer to rely upon the AA program, not directly upon the sponsor.

Sponsors Helping in Recovery

Sponsors share their own sobriety stories. This helps them strengthen their own sobriety. AA believes that an alcoholic’s sobriety is strengthened when they give it away to others through sharing their own journey. Sponsors encourage newcomers to attend a variety of meetings to get different perspectives on the program. When asked, they can offer information about the program to the alcoholic’s family, including family support groups through Al-Anon and Alateen.

Sponsors are an invaluable piece of the Alcoholic Anonymous journey and success for millions of members. Finding the right sponsor is an important part of the recovery process. AA is a life-long healing program. You are not cured of alcoholism after completing the 12th step. To this end, sponsorship is a long-term relationship that is hopefully beneficial to both parties.


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