Recovering from alcoholism is a lifelong journey that you’re going to need support to do well in. One person that can help give you the support that you need as a recovering alcoholic is an AA sponsor. In fact, it’s strongly advised that recovering alcoholics get AA sponsors to help them stay on track in their recovery. 

You should make sure that the AA sponsor that you choose is well-equipped to take on the AA sponsor responsibilities. It’s also important that AA sponsors are confident in their ability to be AA sponsors. Thus, if someone asks you to be an AA sponsor, make sure that you’re ready to take on the role. Otherwise, you should deny the request for you to be an AA sponsor. 

Being an AA sponsor is an important job. That’s why we’re giving you a guide right here on how to find an AA sponsor. Here, you will also learn how to be a good AA sponsor. 

What’s an AA Sponsor?

An AA sponsor, or alcoholics anonymous sponsor, is a person that guides you through the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program. An AA sponsor is also a recovering alcoholic. AA sponsors are just so far in their addiction recovery journeys that they are stable in their sobriety. AA sponsors also have a large amount of knowledge on the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-step program. 

Essentially, a good alcoholics anonymous sponsor acts as a personal AA mentor. Thus, recovering alcoholics that want AA sponsors are responsible for getting their sponsors on their own. 

How to Find an AA Sponsor

AA members are expected to find their own AA sponsors. To do this, AA members must simply go up and ask someone to be their AA sponsor. Just make sure that the person that you ask to be your AA sponsor is a recovering alcoholic that is stable in sobriety and much further along in his or her addiction recovery journey than you are. Below are more tips for how to find an AA sponsor.

Regularly Attend AA 12-step Meetings

The best tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to regularly attend AA 12-step meetings. That’s because AA 12-step meetings are the best places to meet other recovering alcoholics. 

AA 12-step program meetings are also great places to find an AA sponsor because they’re open to new and old recovering alcoholics. Thus, you can easily find someone that’s far along in his or her addiction recovery journey and has already gone through most, if not all, of the 12-steps at an AA 12-step meeting. 

Listen to What Others Say At Your AA 12-step Meetings

Another tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to listen to others during your AA 12-step meetings. Listening to what others say about themselves during 12-step AA meetings can help you find an AA sponsor that you’re confident is stable in sobriety and far along in his or her addiction recovery journey. 

Listening to others at AA 12-step meetings can also help you find a person that has similarities to you. You might want to find someone with some physical, mental, emotional, or experiential similarities to you to be your AA sponsor so that he or she can better understand you and your needs. Just make sure to not find someone that is too similar to you. That’s because having some physical, mental, emotional, and experiential differences between you and your AA sponsor can help your AA sponsor provide you with different perspectives about your addiction journey

Pray and Meditate on Your Choice of an AA Sponsor Prior to Picking One

A third tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to pray and meditate on your AA sponsor pick. While choosing an AA sponsor is important, choosing the wrong AA sponsor can negatively affect you long-term. Thus, it’s important to pray and meditate on your decision. Even if you’re not religious, praying and meditating on your decision can help you confidently choose the right AA sponsor. 

Just Do It

Choosing an AA Sponsor

Our fourth and final tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to just do it. By “do it,” we mean, go up and ask someone to be your AA sponsor. While asking someone to be your AA sponsor may seem awkward at first, once you do it, you’ll be relieved. As long as you’ve taken the time to listen and pick a fellow recovering alcoholic that is stable in sobriety, thoroughly understands the 12-step process, and is far along in his or her addiction recovery journey, then you have nothing to lose by asking that person to be your AA sponsor. 

What You Should Consider When Choosing an AA Sponsor

There are many things that you should consider prior to choosing an AA sponsor. Some of these things are described below. 

How Far Along in Addiction Recovery the Prospective AA Sponsor Is

You should always consider how stable your prospective AA sponsor is in his or her sobriety and how far along your AA sponsor is in his or her addiction recovery journey prior to making that person your AA sponsor. To know how to be a good AA sponsor to you, a recovering alcoholic should be very stable in his or her sobriety and much further along in his or her addiction recovery journey than you are. 

You should also make sure that your prospective AA sponsor is very knowledgeable about the AA 12-step program. Otherwise, that person won’t be able to guide you through it. 

The Availability of Your Prospective AA Sponsor

alcoholics anonymous sponsor

Another thing that you should consider when choosing an AA sponsor is how much time that person has available. This is an important factor because AA sponsors must be available to their sponsees in some way at all times. Therefore, make sure that your prospective AA sponsor doesn’t have a ton of AA sponsees already. 

Also, make sure that your prospective AA sponsor doesn’t have a busy life schedule. That way he or she can be your AA sponsor.

If The Person Wants to Be an AA Sponsor

It’s important to also consider if your prospective AA sponsor even wants to be an AA sponsor. Not everyone that’s far along in addiction recovery and the AA 12-steps like to mentor others. Thus, before choosing an official AA sponsor, make sure that being an AA sponsor is something that that person wants. 

Possible Romantic Attraction Between You and Your AA Sponsor

You should also make sure that you’re not sexually attracted to your prospective AA sponsor. This is important because a romantic relationship between an AA sponsor and an AA sponsee complicates things. 

The best AA sponsor and sponsee relationships are the ones where the biggest things that they have in common are AA and addiction recovery. That way AA and addiction recovery are always the focus of the conversation. 

Many people choose AA sponsors that are of the same sex as them. That way, they will not develop a sexual attraction to their AA sponsors. Alcoholics that are in the LGBT-Q community may want to choose AA sponsors that are a different sex to them. 

Similarities and Differences Between You and Your Prospective AA Sponsor

How to Find an AA Sponsor

You should also consider the level of similarities and differences that you have with your prospective AA sponsor. You should have enough similarities between your AA sponsor and you to make it easy for your AA sponsor to understand you. On the flip side, you should have enough differences between your AA sponsor and you so that your AA sponsor can provide you with different perspectives about your addiction. 

How Much You Trust Your Prospective AA Sponsor

Another thing that you should consider when choosing an AA sponsor is how much you can trust him or her. If your gut allows you to trust someone with all the other qualities of a good AA sponsor, then he or she is likely a good choice of an AA sponsor for you. 

How to Be a Good AA Sponsor

If someone is asking you to be his or her AA sponsor, before saying yes, you should make sure that you have what it takes to be a good AA sponsor. Below are some ways that you can be a good AA sponsor.

Be Even Tempered

To learn how to be a good AA sponsor, you must first learn how to be even-tempered. Being even-tempered is important as an AA sponsor because you will be the listening ears to a vulnerable recovering alcoholic. 

Have At Least One Year of Sobriety Under Your Belt

To be a good AA sponsor, you must be stable in your own sobriety. Thus, you should have at least one year of sobriety under your belt.

Really Know Your 12-Steps

Good AA sponsors have also been attending 12-step AA meetings for quite some time and fully understand the 12-step program. By having such extensive knowledge of the AA 12-step program, you will be able to guide someone else through the program. 

Have a Desire to Sponsor Someone

If you’re not somewhat passionate about something, you’re not going to dedicate the time and effort to be good at it. Thus, prior to learning how to be a good AA sponsor, you must have a genuine desire to do so.

Don’t Sponsor People That You’re Attracted To

AA sponsors should never enter romantic relationships with their sponsees. Thus, to avoid this from happening, good AA sponsors should not allow themselves to be AA sponsors to people that they’re sexually attracted to. 

Be Available

Good AA sponsors are always available to communicate with their sponsees. Therefore, if you don’t have much time on your hands, you shouldn’t be an AA sponsor.

Be a Good Listener

Much of what an AA sponsor does is listen to their sponsees. Thus, good AA sponsors are good listeners.

Push Your Sponsees

Good AA sponsors are invested in the progress that their sponsees are making in their addiction recovery. As a result, good AA sponsors often push their sponsees to gain more perspectives about their journeys with addiction so that they can better understand their triggers and learn more ways to manage their addiction. Some ways that good AA sponsors push their sponsees are by giving them AA literature to read or making them attend different AA group meetings. 

Do Not Impose Personal Views on Your Sponsees

While the AA 12-step program is based on some holistic spiritual values, good AA sponsors know not to take it any further and push their religious beliefs or personal views on life onto their sponsees. Therefore, if you want to learn how to be a good AA sponsor, don’t force your personal beliefs onto others.

Discovery Institute Is Here to Serve Your Addiction Treatment Needs

Here at Discovery Institute, we know the value of AA sponsors. That’s why we encourage the recovering alcoholics that attend our alcohol detox and addiction treatment programs to get one. We also encourage the recovering addicts of our other drug detox and addiction treatment programs to find a sponsor or someone that they can lean on for support while in recovery. 

Here at Discovery Institute, we provide the highest quality clinical care through evidence-based practices. Through such care, we help alcohol and drug addicts overcome their addictions. 

To learn more about Discovery Institute and the detox and addiction treatment programs that we offer, contact us today. Our compassionate treatment specialists are available 24 hours a day to take your call.  

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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