The way it was explained to me, when I asked a similar question was:
1. Have you been sober 24 hours? My answer was yes. They said "then, you can sponsor someone on how to be sober 24 hrs."
2. Have you taken the 12 Steps? My answer was: "Finally!"
They then said "Then you can now sponsor someone on taking the Steps."
The entire foundation of my recovery has been "to help another alcoholic to achieve and maintain sobriety." For me, this is FUNDAMENTAL and vital to my own sobriety and recovery. It's "HOW" I stay sober, one day at a time. Could I sponsor someone else in doing this? Sure. Because I've done it.
As I see it, the first requirement for my own continued sobriety is: to help some other alcoholic (or addict), who desires to be sober. I can share my experience, strength and hope with them. Is that nearly the same as "sponsoring"?