The purpose of AA is to help other members stay sober. It’s easier to live without drugs or alcohol when you have someone you trust. Sometimes it’s more comfortable to share feelings and fears with one person rather than an entire group. Sponsorship is a type of service that is mutually beneficial to both parties.
A sponsor usually has more time and experience in the program than the sponsee, so they can guide the sponsee through the steps of AA. He will offer support, praise, and honesty. He is a good role model for the sponsee, and can spot warning signs of relapse. In an emergency, the sponsor will be there either on the phone or in person to help out. A sponsor is usually of the same sex.
Having a sponsor is one of the most rewarding relationships if it’s healthy. If the sponsor becomes overbearing, it may be time to change sponsors. He should be supportive, not critical or judgemental of the sponsee. The sponsor should be honest, but not negative. It’s important to realise that a sponsor is a human being, so if you feel like their advice isn’t safe, you’re not obligated to follow it.
Most sponsors will not maliciously lead you down the wrong path. They’re there because they have the same goals as you, to stay sober. Use your instinct and see how their relationships are with other AA members. Are they helpful? Do they share stories in meetings that you relate to? Do other members trust them? These are some things to think about when choosing a sponsor.
Many drug and alcohol treatment centers reinforce the principles of the 12 Steps and teach you how to make confident and wise decisions. Passport to Recovery offers a list of renowned drug and alcohol treatment facilities that can guide you to the right path.