At my Home group meeting, we say “in this program, we encourage sponsorship.” What does that mean? What is a sponsor? Why would you want one? How can a sponsor help you? How do you get a sponsor? What is it like to be a sponsor? How does being a sponsor help your program? Spencer, Kelli and special guest Lynn discuss these questions and others.
What is a sponsor? Someone who can guide us through the steps. Someone who can call us on our craziness. Someone who knows our story, so we can call them with a question without having to explain the whole situation first. Someone who is “not me.”
How did we go about finding a sponsor? We might have heard the suggestion, “Look for someone who has what you want.” We listened in meetings for a person who spoke “to” us when they shared. We looked for someone in a similar relation to the alcoholic(s) in their life. If we are hesitant, we might start by just calling someone with a question or two. The most important thing seems to be to ask somebody, maybe as a temporary sponsor. We recognize that sponsorship is not permanent, and you can change your sponsor if it’s not working.
Why might you change sponsors? Maybe you have changed so that your needs are no longer being met by your current sponsor. Maybe you and your sponsor can’t make your schedules mesh. Maybe your sponsor has moved away. All of these have happened to at least one of us.
How do we act with our sponsors to work our program? In many ways: We call in a crisis. We meet regularly to work the steps. We call or meet when we need to double check our own ideas for sanity, and we trust that our sponsor will tell us when we’re off base. We are accountable to our sponsor for aspects of our program that we need some “help” to work consistently.
What is it like being a sponsor? We each have our own style of sponsorship. We all focus on the steps, because we believe that doing the work is how we make progress. Lynn says that in her experience the best way to learn something is to try to teach it. She sees her role as a sponsor as a guide through the steps and the literature and the program principles. She suggests that no matter how new you are in the program, you can provide support to someone newer than you, and in so doing you will strengthen your own program. And when the time comes that someone asks you to sponsor them, you will be ready.
Our topic for next week is Our First Meeting. We'd love to hear from you about your first meeting. What was your first meeting like for you? Did Al-Anon “click” right away, or did it take a while? When did you feel that you really belonged? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. Or just leave a comment right here. If you do so before June 2, we can include your response in the next episode.
Music from the show
This Spotify playlist includes the songs we considered for this episode.
And here's one more that's not in Spotify. Ann Arbor musicians Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful create haunting songs that are often a little dark. This one is on that side, if you take its lyrics literally. But to me, it also says that we can get through the hardest parts of our lives by sharing them with a friend. A sponsor can be that friend when you feel like you're drowning.
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