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How to Choose a Sponsor?

Old 11-02-2009, 11:59 PM
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How to Choose a Sponsor?

I'm 35 days into my sobriety. This is my first and only attempt at sobriety. I've attended 33 meetings at five different locations. I now feel I'm ready to get a sponsor and begin working the steps. I have no idea how to select a sponsor. I'd appreciate some suggestions as to how some of you selected your sponsor. What are some of the pitfalls I should be aware of? Do you casually interview one another to see if there's a mutual personality fit? Do you try and find sponsors who are similar to you (i.e., working mom)? Do I just announce at a meeting sometime that I need a sponsor and see who raises their hand? I guess I'm a bit unsure of the AA protocol as it relates to securing a sponsor. I have not worked any of the steps though and I need to take my recovery up a notch.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:54 AM
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Excellent questions!

What are some of the pitfalls I should be aware of?
A sponsors primary purpose is to help you take the steps, not run your life! Beware of the sponsor who expects you to do every single thing they say with out question or discussion.

Any one that you hear gossiping should be avoided at all cost.

Avoid a sponsor that you feel you can easily manipulate or you feel can manipulate you.

Do you casually interview one another to see if there's a mutual personality fit?
Absolutely!!! When I have some one ask me to sponsor them after I have qualified them, I ask them what they are seeking in a sponsor and let them know what I would like of them.

One thing though, do not be seeking a friend, seek some one that you feel you can trust and has what you want. Many times a sponsor will become your friend, but not all the time, they do need to be some one that you feel eventually you will be able to discuss anything with and know that it will remain just between the 2 of you.

Do you try and find sponsors who are similar to you (i.e., working mom)?
That depends upon your needs, I would say yes, I did, but depending upon ones age some folks seek a parental type person, not like they are looking for a new parent, but just some one older and more mature then them.

Do I just announce at a meeting sometime that I need a sponsor and see who raises their hand?
You could, if you do I would suggest asking for a temporary sponsor to start with, I really would suggest asking some one who has what you want though for a regular sponsor. There are those that seek domination or the like when they sponsor folks, look for some one that is humble, not full of them selfs.

I guess I'm a bit unsure of the AA protocol as it relates to securing a sponsor
The protocol varies from area to area, some times meeting to meeting.

Here is the best suggestion I can think of to find out the protocol in your area. Show up early at a few meetings and ask some one who is setting up the meeting or making coffee. People with service positions 99% of the time have a sponsor so they will know how things work where you are at.

BTW grab the AA pamphlet on sponsorship, it will give you the basics of what a sponsor is for, which is mainly to take you through the steps.

Now here is another suggestion, next discussion meeting you go to why not bring up sponsorship & how to get one as a topic?
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:26 AM
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BTW grab the AA pamphlet on sponsorship, it will give you the basics of what a sponsor is for, which is mainly to take you through the steps.
You usually can find this on the literature rack
"Questions and Answers on Sponorship"

Well done on your sober days....
Good to know you are moving forward
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:31 AM
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You are asking some good questions and i believe that if you follow up on each of them, you will find a sponsor who can help you make progress. i one of two phone numbers someone told me would be a good sponsor for me and asked if he would. Knew nothing about him and had not met him in a meeting. Just took action with a suggestion from someone who was helping me stay clean & sober who cared enough about me to help me make a decision in regards to getting a sponsor.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:34 AM
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I'll just second everything Taz said.

I wanted and got a sponsor at the group that I decided to call my home group, the meeting I would make come hell or high water. I "sat with the winners"... the people "who have what I want"... got to the meeting early, those people are there early too!!... and stayed after....

I've done step work with people that are not my sponsor... people who had a message I could relate to, and more importantly, people that I knew wouldn't just tell me what I wanted too...

Maybe go the temporary sponsor route first... Get to know everyone at your home group...

My two cents

Mark
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:47 AM
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I just got a temp sponsor last night. I found it hard to pick someone after listening to 2 minute shares, so when a woman introduced herself to me I just told her I was hoping to find a sponsor soon, and she volunteered to try it out.

She looks like my granny, who was as sweet a soul as you could ever meet, so I'm not real comfortable with idea of regurgitating my ills with her, but we are meeting wednesday for coffee, and I'll just see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:12 AM
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Here it is:

http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf

Questions and answers on sponsorship

In a nutshell, a sponsor's only task is to assist you in working the steps of AA. Read Chapter 7 of the Big Book, that will give you insight as to what a sponsor should do.

Good luck!
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:35 AM
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She looks like my granny, who was as sweet a soul as you could ever meet, so I'm not real comfortable with idea of regurgitating my ills with her,
Gypsy I had to laugh when I read that, we have a lady who is 85, she has about 33 years sobriety, she is absolutely the sweetest, most gentle woman I think I have ever met...... I have heard her share small parts of her story!!!!!!! OMG!!!!! This lady was not a lady in her day when she was out there!!!! She has done some things that shock me and I am far from being an innocent of any type!

It never ceases to amaze me to hear some folks stories, some one knowing them today would never dream that some one could change like they have. One of my favorite people in the rooms spent 9 years in and out of prison with jail mixed in between, to meet this man you could not imagine him even getting angry or doing anything to wind up in jail, little lone prison.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:39 AM
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Firstly: Getting a sponsor isn't like getting married - it's not a lifelong committment. Don't sweat it too much.

If things don't work out, find another. Switching sponsors isn't an insult to anyone.

Other than the above, here's my criteria:
1. Someone who has what I want.
2. Same sex.
3. 2 or more years of continuous sobriety.
4. Actively works the 12 steps.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:41 AM
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Just wanted to thank you for your post. I attended my first AA meeting on Saturday and have many questions such as this. Thank you everyone for your insight and suggetions.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:53 AM
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txar some of the best suggestions I have been given are the following:

1. Spend as much time in early recovery working on my recovery as I did drinking.

2. Keep coming back, it works IF you WORK it!

3. Get a sponsor and take the steps.

4. Pray.

5. Call people in the program daily.

6. Read the Big Book, the 12 X 12, and other recovery related material.

7. Work on steps 10, 11, & 12 the best you can even if you have not taken them with your sponsor.

8. Do not drink in between meetings.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:39 AM
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Thank you all for the excellent suggestions on how to find a sponsor. Truly appreciate it.
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:31 AM
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I had smart sponsors, dumb sponsors, rich sponsors, poor sponsors, tough sponsors, kind sponsors, ect...

The only one that ever helped me was the one I actually listened to enough to follow directions. It was the "following directions" that made the difference.
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