Nathan Molina Souls Harbor The Importance of Sponsorship in Recovery In recovery, having a sponsor is a key stone to obtaining a successfully arrested state of addiction. Sponsorship is a quintessential aspect of AA/NA and goes hand in hand with the 12 steps, service work, and fellowship. It is the sponsor who guides an individual through the 12 step process. Often times, the individual who seeks the gift of sobriety utilizes the sponsor not only for guidance but also for understanding, time, and energy. An example is made out of the sponsorship process which illustrates the true nature of our fellowship. One addict helping another. In this relationship, we get to see the miracle happen. In the literature, the 12&12 goes in depth about the role of the sponsor throughout the 12 steps and even provides scenarios that we can relate to. “The sponsor probably points out that the newcomer has some assets which can be noted along with his liabilities.” (12&12 Step Four, p.46) This particular quote speaks volumes to me; not only is the sponsor designed to point out or character defects but also our assets and what we can become if we maintain sobriety, do away with out past, ask God to rid of us our flaws, work on ourselves every day, and focus on the positive. The core of sponsorship is the truth. Through a sponsors own experience and testimony, and knowledge of how this simple but elusive process works, they can give the gift of sobriety while simultaneously keeping it themselves. The altruistic nature of this AA/NA is unparalleled with any self-help program I have come into contact. Since sponsorship is such a key factor in AA/NA it is mentioned often throughout meetings and the literature. For instance, this quote, “This the sponsor promptly proves by talking freely and easily, and without exhibitionism, about his own defects, past and present.” (12&12 Step Four, p.46) provides us yet another example of how the sponsor takes his own examined life and presents it to the addict in Nathan Molina Souls Harbor order to help. A lot of the times we glorify our past as being the worst of the worse or sometimes not as bad as the addict sitting next to us. These ideas only detract us from the simple truth and complicates our understanding of what work really needs to be done. Also, we run the risk of isolating our self from identification with the program which is exactly how our slippery disease manifests. It is worth noting that it takes a lot of courage to speak freely and easily about one’s self to often times, a complete stranger. I give credit to the fellowship, our higher power(s), and past sponsors who have given us leadership and examples to follow in order to give and receive, ad infinitum, a lifetime of sobriety. At first, newcomers come into the program already dismantled, and sometimes when they see people with prolonged sobriety, it can be discouraging or inspiring. Unfortunately, inspiration can fester into discouragement, and gratefully discouragement can rid itself through inspiration. Luckily, we have sponsors who facilitate this type of “psychic change”. By simple guidance and revealing their true natures, sponsors can help an addict to not feel alone. This is powerful, because in addiction we more than likely feel alone often. The things we do to get high and live are not the things society does to feel good and live so being ostracized is a common occurrence. The sponsor is the first person we admit to that we our powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable. Not only that, the sponsor also explains to us what that means and what effect this confession will have on us the rest of our lives. The sponsor also bears witness to often times our very first acknowledgment of a higher power. Here the sponsor is instrumental in providing us with a spiritual outlook on what a higher power means and helps guide an individual on what this looks like for others and what it could look like for him or her. We as addicts tend to have problems with a higher power because a material (drugs/alcohol) has complete control over our lives and is typically the “God” who rules us. Nathan Molina Souls Harbor Sponsorship helps provide the first healthy relationship with another human being for the first time in a while. We create real intimate bonds and trust with our sponsor which creates a template for how we treat ourselves and others. The teach us objectivity and rigorous honesty which when used effectively gives us the best chance at a wholesome life. The insight we receive from our sponsor is valuable because we as human beings have trouble seeing ourselves through an un biased and one hundred percent truthful lens. We also help our sponsor back by giving him that chance to help another person and see the miracle happen in another’s life. The program is truly give and take by nature. In conclusion, we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to sponsorship and its importance. Sponsors provide us with the motivation we need to think in different ways and work on ourselves. They give us a listening ear when we need to vent or gain another perspective on a situation. Sometimes this makes all the difference when making a new decision. Our sponsors give us a sense of accountability, leaving us with the ability to make our own choices but being available to listen to us if we make a mistake and showing us how we can correct ourselves. The shared experience we have with our sponsors create trust and show that the disease of addiction does not discriminates, is chronic, and takes us prisoner before it ends our lives if not successfully arrested as there is no cure. Lastly, the sponsor provides the assistance needed to understanding and applying the 12 steps and spiritual principles. Without our sponsors, we would be lost in a world of hopeful sobriety but without the means of reaching it.