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6 Traits of an Amazing AA Sponsor

Walking through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous requires nothing less than a soul-searching journey and open willingness to embark into the unknown. As easy as it may be to read a list of 12 steps, it’s much harder to live sober day-by-day with all of the challenges and surprises life throws your way. That’s why having an AA sponsor is so important.

While AA sponsorship is not required to join, having the support of a sponsor can be a big part of your recovery, especially as a newcomer to AA.


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How to Find an AA Sponsor

If you’re wondering how to find an AA sponsor, start with who you know. Has anyone been recommended to you? If not, keep your mind and heart open to other people you meet at AA meetings. Take some time to get to know them and see if you feel they have the right qualities to be your sponsor. Here are six traits to look for in an amazing AA sponsor:

  1. Someone You Feel Comfortable With
    Feeling at ease with your sponsor is one of the most important qualities to look for. This may start with someone you can identify with, for example, someone who shares a similar background or spiritual perspective as yours. While it may be helpful to have things in common with you, your sponsor should also respect you as a unique individual. Moreover, this person should be someone you’re comfortable sharing your innermost feelings and personal challenges with.
  2. Knowledgeable and Experienced
    Your sponsor should have completed AA’s 12 Steps of recovery and be living drug-free. As AA says, there are no specific rules for the length of time a person should be sober before becoming a sponsor. However, in their pamphlet about sponsorship, AA does suggest that a sponsor should probably have at least a year of sobriety under their belt. What’s even more important is that your sponsor regularly shares their AA knowledge and experience with you while supporting you on your path to recovery.
  3. A Good Listener
    A good listener is someone who listens to you with their heart and mind. When you share your thoughts and feelings with your AA sponsor, you should feel accepted and supported. You and your sponsor may not always agree with each other, but that’s okay. The most important thing is that you each listen to and respect one other’s feedback and perspectives.
  4. Motivational, Not Controlling
    Having a sponsor who motivates you to keep moving forward with the 12 Steps is extremely important. Motivation to attend meetings regularly and to do your homework can easily wane as other life priorities demand your attention. Your sponsor’s job is to help you stay on track with consistent communication that’s encouraging without being demanding or controlling. Your sponsor should not tell you what to do in your life but should motivate you to stick with AA and your commitment to sobriety.
  5. A Caring Personality
    Having someone support you with a sincere, caring concern for your life and future is even more important than having a lot in common with your sponsor. A caring sponsor will put the time in to think about your situation, refer you to helpful resources, or introduce you to other people who can support you in recovery in different ways. Caring also includes being dedicated to following AA guidelines for being a good sponsor. A caring sponsor is someone dedicated to serving your needs with healthy boundaries.
  6. Someone Who Is Available
    Make sure a potential sponsor has enough available time and flexibility to support your needs as part of AA sponsorship. This should include meeting with you one-on-one outside of AA meetings to discuss any questions, experiences, or concerns you would like to share. Keep in mind that your sponsor also has their own life to lead. Think about other AA peers you can develop friendships with in case your sponsor goes on vacation or is unexpectedly available during a critical time for you. It’s always helpful to have someone else to call.


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Asking Someone to be Your AA Sponsor

Now that you have more ideas on how to find an AA sponsor who is a good fit for you, don’t hesitate to ask. Anyone would be honored to be considered for such an important role in AA sponsorship. Just remember, your AA sponsor is not your therapist or life problem-solver. It’s still critical to receive professional treatment for alcohol use disorder. Treatment will provide you with a solid foundation for moving forward successfully in recovery.

If you’d like information about alcohol rehab options, call our 24/7 confidential hotline at 800-839-1686Who Answers?. Our specialists will be happy to help you connect with treatment services that meet your needs.


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The AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline is free, private, and confidential. There is no obligation to enter treatment. In some cases, AlcoholicsAnonymous.com could charge a small cost per call, to a licensed treatment center, a paid advertiser, this allows AlcoholicsAnonymous.com to offer free resources and information to those in need by calling the free hotline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses.

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