A New Member Looking for Help finding a Sponsor

From AIMS May 2010AskFlac1

I am a new member and could use some help finding a sponsor. I hear so many people talk about so many ways in which they find and/or use their sponsors. Is there some Al­anon guide that helps?

First of all, bravo to this new member for thinking about taking the next step in his/her recovery. Going to meetings, reading the literature on a daily basis, and applying the slogans, steps, and traditions to our lives are all very important in the recovery process. However, they are not the whole picture. It’s only by working one­on­one with another member, a sponsor, that a member can truly reap the benefits of the program, regain trust, and come to a much deeper understanding of recovery.

Probably the best guide to sponsorship and related issues is SPONSORSHIP, WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT (publication P­31). According to this pamphlet, “A sponsor is someone with whom a member can discuss personal problems or questions; someone who willingly shares the experience, strength, and hope of the Al­anon/Alateen program.” While daily or weekly meetings provide members  with a voice and are a source of mutual support, a meeting is not always the proper forum for more personal problems. Meetings often have time constraints as all members are given an equal opportunity to share.

When a member needs additional, more personal guidance, especially between meetings, a sponsor can fill the  need. The pamphlet equates the need for sponsorship to being lost in the woods. A sponsor is someone who helps us out of the woods by taking our hand and showing us the way.

Ours is a program without rules—no “musts” or “shoulds”, so a sponsor will not be someone who tells us what to do. Instead, he/she will  gently help us find our own answers and discover our choices through applying the principles and tools of the program. As the pamphlet says, “Sponsors do not wave magic wands, resolve difficulties, make decisions, or become responsible for us. Sponsors may suggest available options for us, some of which we may not have thought of ourselves.” In  the  September, 2009 issue of Forum (page 3), Dianne V. shared her experience about NOT working with a  sponsor in “I Was Trying to Work the Program on My Own.” She admits, “I knew that I needed to stop trying to work the program on my own. I needed to reach out and ask others for help.” She goes on to say, “I have learned to call her (her sponsor) in the middle of a crisis instead of trying to survive on my own. She cares about me and gives me encouragement and support. With her help, I am finally starting to work the steps. My life is  becoming a good place to be.” Working with a sponsor can indeed open the door a new life in the program as opposed to living a lonely and unhealthy existence. We finally accept the idea that we need help and become willing to work with a sponsor. How does one go about finding a sponsor? Keep in mind the slogan “Listen.” Going to a variety of meetings and listening to what various members have to say can be very helpful when choosing someone to ask.

There is usually someone who stands out— someone who has what we want and someone we feel comfortable  with. Many of us have been unable to trust due to having misguided expectations of our qualifiers and have been unable to communicate our true feelings for fear of being put down. When we finally meet and ask the right  person to sponsor us, we can begin to feel validated and trust in our fellow human beings can be restored.  Because of anonymity, we know that whatever we say to our sponsor will be kept just between the two of us. To our new member, good luck in finding a sponsor and growing in the program!

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