A few disclaimers are in order before I proceed:
1. I am not an authority on anything -- I'm not an authority on A.A. Sponsorship. I am simply an A.A. Member, that has been Sponsored by an A.A. Sponsor for over 20 years.
2. I am not an expert on anything -- I am not an expert on A.A. Sponsorship. I am simply an A.A. Member, that has been Sponsored by an A.A. Sponsor for over 20 years.
3. I do not have any specialized knowledge on Sponsoring -- that I have acquired from any other source -- other than Alcoholics Anonymous -- to share with anyone. I can only share my "experience" of both being Sponsored and in being an A.A. Sponsor.
4. If you were Sponsored in a different way than I have been Sponsored, or if you Sponsor in a different way than I have been Sponsored, or, if you understand Sponsorship different than I understand it -- that's really none of my business. I have no desire to persuade or convince anyone -- that I'm right about anything.
How I Sponsor:
I cannot give away something I haven't got. I can not pass on -- anything that has not been passed on to me. The only thing that I have to pass on to anyone -- and the only thing that I have to offer to anyone -- is my own personal experience. If I haven't experienced it -- I have no experience -- to pass on.
I Sponsor the same way that I have been Sponsored.
Whenever I take on the responsibility and commitment of Sponsoring -- I make it clear, that the only thing that I have to pass on -- is my experience with the A.A. Program of Recovery -- and how I have applied the program of recovery to my own life, and how I have solved my own problems using the A.A. Program of Recovery.
The Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement
I view Sponsoring as a "contract" a "transaction" and "an agreement" between myself and the other person. The value that I have to offer as a Sponsor, is my time and experience.
What I expect the Sponsee to offer to me -- in exchange for my time and experience -- is their willingness and their time and their efforts -- to follow my instructions and directions precisely -- to the best of their ability.
Big Book, Forward to the First Edition: wrote: "We of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book."
I will not suggest anything that has not been suggested to me. And, I will not ask the new person to do anything that I have not personally done -- that I view, was necessary for me to do -- for my own recovery from alcoholism. And, I inform the new person -- that I expect them to pass on to another new person -- that which I will be passing on to them.
We make Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement
We agree that they will follow my directions and instructions without negotiation and without compromise. If they later decide that they want to negotiate, compromise -- or refuse to follow the instructions or directions then, our Sponsor Relationship Agreement has been breached by them, and they should immediately search for a different Sponsor.
It is understood, that if they drink alcohol in any form at all, or if they use any other mind altering substances -- this immediately voids and cancels our Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship. If they are on prescribed medication, or if they go on medication for any reason -- they have a responsibility to inform me immediately of any changes in their health condition.
Big Book, page 90 wrote:"You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and
who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you."
It is my opinion -- that if I haven't recovered -- using the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, by precisely following the instructions of the program of recovery that is in the book Alcoholics Anonymous -- then, I would feel that I have no business sponsoring a new person in Alcoholics Anonymous.
If I have recovered in any other way -- other than the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, that is described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous -- I will be passing on to the new person -- my own program, or some other program, and I would feel that if they failed -- it was my responsibility that they failed -- because they were following "my program" rather than Alcoholics Anonymous program, then I would feel that I should share the burden of their failure.
If I have passed on the Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery that is described in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous -- and, the new person fails -- they share the entire burden of responsibility for their own success and failure in recovery.
After I've led the new person through the 12 Steps, using the Big Book, I will continue to give them daily assignments of pages to read, and precise instructions to follow in the Big Book. They are expected to read those pages and follow those pages as directed. When they stop following those directions -- they have breached the Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement.
Each person that I Sponsor -- is instructed on when and how often they should call me. When they fail to follow those instructions -- they are Sponsoring themselves.
At various times, I'll give the Sponsee certain tapes or CD's of A.A. Speakers to listen to, so that we can discuss the content of the talk. I expect them to listen to the tape or CD and be prepared for discussion. When they stop following those directions -- they have breached the Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement.
And, I give the Sponsee other reading/or writing assignments, along with a suggestion as to when the assignment should be completed. And, they are expected to complete their assignments in full and on time.
One of the most irritating experiences that Iâ€™ve experienced in Sponsorship â€“ is when the new person refuses to follow directions. When they refuse to follow directions â€“ they have breached the Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Agreement.
On some occasions â€“ a newcomer â€“ is â€œcertain that you donâ€™t understand how their case is differentâ€