Having an AA sponsor is a vital aspect of working a successful program of alcohol recovery. A sponsor is a member of the same sex, willing to work with another person with their recovery, usually for the same addiction. They agree to enter into a symbiotic relationship since it is to the benefit of both parties. The work includes guiding the new person on their 12-Step recovery path. It often addresses issues related to daily living. It always incorporates spiritual growth and enfoldment.
Sobriety is defined as being sober, abstaining from all mood-altering chemicals. Everyone is unique when it comes to staying clean and sober. There are some people who can just stop, and never need to go to rehab or join a support group. Others take up “moderation management” types programs where they can relearn how to control their drinking and or drug use.
This mentoring-type relationship helps the sponsee stay connected and learn how to participate in a healthy relationship. Some sponsors prefer not to be friends. This arrangement tends to keep things on a more mentoring level, so the sponsee understands they are more like a “student” rather than the sponsor’s friend. It is a boundary, so a clear line of separation and structure is well-established.
Napa Valley Alcoholics Anonymous defines an AA sponsor as “an alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through A.A.”
Read Hazelden’s 12-step, sponsorship guide .PDF
People can have more than one sponsor at a time. Often the two people work together, then one of them decides it is time to end the relationship for whatever reason. It is not a contractual arrangement. The sponsor may suggest they call them every day. They make suggestions like writing a gratitude list and praying every day.