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Sponsors and Sponsees Help Forum This forum is to discuss any topics, questions or comments you have on sponsorship from How To Pick A Sponsor to When To Step Back and more.

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Old 10-18-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Default To the N.A. Sponsor

N.A. Sponsorship 11,for the sponsor


To the Sponsor

Sponsorship is at the heart of the Twelfth Step, and it is one of the primary ways we carry the NA message. Many addicts believe that sponsoring a fellow NA member is the best way to experience and express gratitude for the gift of recovery. As sponsors, we get to give back what was so freely given to us. It is a responsible relationship and part of how we can offer selfless service to others. While each of us might use different words to describe our role as a sponsor, it is quite simply the action of one addict helping another. We find that when we help others, we help ourselves as well.

A sponsor often offers support and encouragement to a sponsee. The personal experience a sponsor shares can help sponsees feel accepted, understood, and guided through the program. This sharing can bring a sense of real closeness to both the sponsor and sponsee, easing some of the emotional isolation many of us can feel, whether we are new in the program or we have been clean for some time.

In this one-on-one relationship, we are encouraged-and sometimes personally challenged-to look at ourselves as we try to provide suggestions to those we sponsor. When we take on the responsibility of sponsoring people, regardless of their clean time, we try to bring the best or ourselves into that relationship.

A sponsor can be a role model, providing sponsees with an example of how to live the spiritual principles found in Narcotics Anonymous. A sponsor can guide sponsees on a spiritual journey and teach them about the NA program.

When we sponsor others, we often learn about the principles of surrender and tolerance. We need to remember that we are just sharing, experience, strength, and hope with our sponsees, not dictating their every move. We try to focus on maintaining a balanced perspective about our life and our relationships with our sponsees. While we may want to prevent them from making the same mistakes we did, our sponsees' recovery is their responsibility, not ours.

Many addicts find that being a sponsor becomes a significant part of their recovery. Being a sponsor provides us with a spiritual avenue to sharing on a deeper, more intimate level and offers us the opportunity to share our recovery with those who want and need it. we each carry a wealth of experience, and as sponsors, we can share what worked and what did not work for us. As a sponsor, we can guide our sponsees through the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous and show them the NA way of life.

Sponsorship can help counteract self-centeredness and encourage a generosity of spirit within us. We can learn to nurture others-in many cases, people very different from ourselves. As sponsors, some of us achieve a new level of humility as we become aware of our limits and our strengths. This relationship can help us to put our own issues into perspective as we grow closer to other people, witness their struggles, and learn to love and accept them.

Being a sponsor can keep us focused on our own recovery. Sponsorship provides us with a means of remembering the challenges we faced in early recovery. When we are sponsoring someone new to the program, it is hard to forget where we came from. Becoming a sponsor is usually an affirmation of growth and can enrich our recovery. Many of us find it difficult to become complacent when we are actively sponsoring others.

Sharing our own experiences with our sponsees can be healing for both of us. Often our sponsees begin to trust us when we expose our weaknesses, recount our mistakes, and get honest about our fears. This kind of honest sharing also reminds us that we are mere mortals and not the Higher Power of our sponsee's understanding.

Over time, being a sponsor can help us learn how to listen without judgment, accept without conditions, and love without expectations. In many ways, sponsorship teaches us how to develop and maintain healthy relationships.

As a sponsor, we want to take time to examine our own value systems and ask ourselves whether we can sponsor with acceptance, compassion, and understanding. If we do have expectations of our sponsees and the relationship, we need to be as clear about those expectations as possible. Our personal recovery must come first. When we establish clear parameters about what we can and cannot give, we ensure that the relationship will have a good chance to succeed.

Before taking on a sponsee, we might want to consider how many sponsees we already have. Whether we have a sponsor ourselves, whether or not we are available, and whether our current life situation will allow us to spend adequate time with our sponsee.

If we have never sponsored anyone, we will no doubt have to ask ourselves whether or not we are ready to do so. We may want to consider whether or not we have worked all of the steps and are prepared to guide someone else through working them. Many of us look to our Higher Power for guidance and ask our own sponsor whether he or she thinks we are ready to sponsor someone.

We may have misgivings about sponsoring certain people. There are times when we do not feel "qualified" to help. Perhaps the person asking has more clean time than we do, or maybe our life situations are radically different. Whatever the reason, we should be honest about our feelings while remembering that we were asked for a reason. It may be that we need is faith.
Sometimes someone with whom we have a previous or primary relationship-such as a family member, coworker, cellmate, or friend-may ask us if we will sponsor him or her. These relationships can present particular challenges due to our different roles. In such a situation, we should think carefully about whether we can effectively sponsor the person who is asking us. We may want to talk with our own sponsor about the situation. Is is possible that our responsibilities in these different roles will conflict (as boss and sponsor, for example)? Will we be too affected by what we already know about the person to be helpful to them? Will we be able to "let go" and allow them to grow at their own pace? As with any sponsorship relationship, if we decide to accept, communication is the key to working well together.

Over the years, individual opinions, cultural differences, and other specific circumstances have given rise to a broad spectrum of opinions about sponsorship. Narcotics Anonymous has experienced incredible growth, both in members and in countries worldwide. NA communities around the world engage in a range of sponsorship practices. Many of these practices are adapted to the culture of that particular NA community. Definitive guidelines would most likely be too rigid to address the great diversity of NA today. The following topics my present us with particular challenges when we are deciding whether to sponsor some one.

Attending other fellowships

Many member believe that we can best sponsor those members who attend only NA meetings. Some members feel that what fellowship the sponsee attends is less important than how willing that sponsee is to follow suggestions and to practice the principles of the NA program. We should, however, consider how we, as sponsors, will be affected by our decision to sponsor someone who does attend more than NA.


Although we are all in recovery to reach the same goal, many members believe the internal process to reach that goal is different for men and women. They feel there can be a lack of understanding and empathy between members of the opposite sex. Therefore, these members are firm in their beliefs about same sex sponsorship.

Some members have had success with opposite sex sponsorship. Both members stay focused on their recovery, and the relationship works quite well without any complications. In some NA communities, there may not be a balanced ratio of men and women from which to choose a sponsor of the same sex. Here NA members exercise their creativity in doing their best to ensure that they are carrying the NA message.
ts: 8,000 If members of the opposite sex ask us to sponsor them, it is our responsibility to examine our motives as well as the motives of our sponsee. Romantic feelings or attractions on the part of eithe member may not be obvious.It is imperative, in opposite sex sponosrship, that we make every effort to distinguish between sexual or romantic attraction and the honest desire of our sponsee to seek knowledge from us about the NA program. If it appears that a sponsee has ulterior motives, then it is up to us, as sponsors, to be aware of the potential for sexual attraction. That potential applies to both members involved in the sponsorship relationship. We must be sure that we are carrying the message of NA and not harboring secret desires toward our sponsee. These types of feelings usually result in a risky relationship for both members.

I have plenty of good male friends who have time in this program who are willing to share experience, strength and hope with me.......but I will not ask them to sponsor me.

I was told the women will save your a$$ and the men will patt your a$$.

That was too very true in the beginning....

I have found some really sincere gentlemen since then that are precious to my recovery.

but I had to get my motives straight to finally realize....they are my brothers in recovery....not the next date.
Sponsoring members from different backgrounds

The disease of addiction does not discriminate. It pulls us in regardless of our background, ethnicity, social class, religion, or lack of religion. Just as the disease does not differentiate, neither does recovery. Any addict who is willing to work the NA program can find recovery. We try our best to sponsor without discrimination. Sponsoring members with different life experiences and backgrounds can often be challenging, but the steps and traditions are universal principles that we can share no matter where we come from.
Making the decision

We want to make the best decision we can, and sometimes that decision may include saying no when asked to sponsor someone. Hopefully, with what we have learned from NA and our own sponsor, we will understand that it is okay to say no.
On the other hand, we may feel that entering into a temporary or interim sponsorship relationship might be beneficial to us, as well as our potential sponsee. As a temporary sponsor, we can help a sponsee with his or her recovery for a short time until the sponsee finds someone with whom he or she feels more comfortable. Some sponsors will ask a current sponsee or another member if they would be willing to take on a new sponsee rather than just saying no. This way we can help the potential sponsee to obtain the guidance and support of a sponsor. No matter what the circumstances are, we do not want any addicts seeking recovery to feel alone or that they do not belong here.
Developing our role as a sponsor

Methods of sponsorship differ from addict to addict. Some of us sponsor the way we have been sponsored, while some of us sponsor the way we wish were sponsored. Some of us believe there really are no rules for sponsorship other than to offer unconditional love and acceptance. Regardless, the spiritual principles in the traditions-anonymity, non-professionalism, and service, to name a few-provide a common touchstone for all sponsorship relationships. The spirit of sponsorship can be found in helping others and giving back what was given to us. Many of us know how trust, faith and honesty can provide the foundation needed for both the sponsor and sponsee to work on building our relationship.
Sponsoring someone for the first time can seem overwhelming. Many of us begin by following the example of our own sponsors. Over time, we get a sense of what works best for us and for each particular sponsorship relationship. As a result, our relationship with our own sponsor may grow and change. The experience gathered as we go through the Twelve Steps together teaches us how to be a sponsor.
Sometimes we learn painful lessons when we try to manage, fix, or control our sponsee's life and recovery. We may not even realize we engaging in this type of behavior. However, sponsees must learn how to make their decisions, not the decisions we want them to make.
We need to be vigilant with ourselves and allow our sponsees to grow at their own pace. While we want to offer guidance through love, it is also important to allow our sponsees to suffer the consequences of their actions. This does not mean we will ignore a particular action or abandon or turn our backs on them. rather, we leave the results in a Higher Power's hands and support our sponsees during whatever they may be going through.
Some of us will let our sponsees stumble and grow as they make their own decisions. Others may be more instructive in their approach. As we experience the reward of watching someone grow, we also are given a chance to learn about powerlessness over our sponsees and their disease. We practice the principle of surrender and try to remember that recovery is a process.
Some members believe that the sharing of experience, strength, and hope instead of theories helps to clarify the difference between sponsorship and counseling. Other members choose to share little of their own personal experience and rely more on NA literature to explain how to use the tools of the program. Sometimes our most important role as a sponsor is to listen. Some of our sponsees may need more than anything to feel heard.

As a sponsor, we need to be aware of what our own resources are and what we have to offer. We want to make sure that we are carrying the message of hope and not the despair of our disease.
While every relationship is different, some of the fundamentals that make for a healthy, productive relationship are constant. Sponsorship depends upon trust, and as sponsors, we must be able to keep the confidences of the people we sponsor. The may present challenges if, for example, we are confronted by family members or significant others of those we sponsor. If we are sponsoring a minor, we may need to forge a relationship of some kind with his or her parents. In any circumstances, we need to be vigilant upholding our responsibilities to those we sponsor. Our sponsee's trust is a priceless gift, and we need to honor it.

When we are asked to be a sponsor, we sometimes get overly zealous in our efforts to present our knowledge of the program, especially if several members ask us to be their sponsor. The more people look up to us, the easier it is for us to feel self-important. As hard as we may try to resist becoming over-confident and egotistical, we might find ourselves falling into the "super sponsor" trap-thinking that we know everything and are infallible.

Staying aware of our limitations and continuing to take a personal inventory can avert our stumbling into this "better than" mind-set. Sponsorship allows us to grow through experiencing our limitations. By admitting those limitations and being honest with our sponsees, we strengthen the bond between us.
There will be times when our own experience may not be applicable to a sponsee or he or she is struggling with something beyond our knowledge. We may have to say, "I don't know," or refer our sponsees to others who can help them we we cannot. We do not want to offer guidance on those things in which we do not have experience. We too can go to others for advice on how to handle things, providing our sponsee's anonymity and confidentiality will be protected. Offering suggestions to sponsees as to where they might find help does not mean we are a failure as a sponsor. It actually means the opposite. While we may not always know what is best for our sponsees, we can offer them a shoulder to lean on and assure them that they are not alone.
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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