Sponsorship in Al-Anon
Sponsorship in Al-Anon is just as important as sponsorship in Alcoholics Anonymous.
AA is a program designed to teach problem drinkers how to live a life of sobriety. Many people are under the impression that AA exists to help people stop drinking. While the 12-Step program ultimately does help the alcoholic stay sober, that is not the crux of the program. Individuals who work the program are given a design for living that creates a life of purpose and service. So, what is Al-Anon? The program of Al-Anon was created for the loved ones of problem drinkers. According to the Al-Anon website, “They learn that they are not alone in the problems they face, and that they have choices that lead to greater peace of mind, whether the drinker continues to drink or not.”
Al-Anon Family Groups have meetings, just like the AA groups do, and also work the twelve-step program.
As with any twelve-step program, individuals in Al-Anon are highly encouraged to find a sponsor. In fact, practitioners of the program insist upon it. Why is sponsorship in Al-Anon so important? There are several reasons. The Big Book is like a textbook. It contains precise instructions on how to work the steps. If you were to take an algebra class, you would have a teacher or professor to show you how to do the work laid out in the textbook. It is the same with the AA and Al-Anon programs. Another reason for sponsorship in Al-Anon is the opportunity to draw on someone else’s experience.
A sponsor shares their experience, strength, and hope with the person they are sponsoring.
A sponsor is not there to take charge of or run your life. Rather, they help you work through your problems by using the steps and their personal experiences. Sponsorship in Al-Anon doesn’t just benefit the person who is being sponsored. One of the main concepts of the 12-Step program centers around the idea that by helping others, we are helping ourselves.
So how would a person go about looking for a sponsor in an Al-Anon Family Group meeting?
When considering who to choose as a sponsor, ask your candidate some questions: Have they completed all of the steps? Do they also have a sponsor? Do they have the time and willingness to work with a new person? Also, pay attention to what they share in meetings and consider choosing someone who rooted in the solution rather than the problem. It is also makes good sense to select someone of your same gender, whenever possible.
Sponsorship in Al-Anon, as in all 12-Step programs, is crucial.
It can be intimidating to approach someone, but remember this is the person you are asking to walk you through the steps that will radically improve your life. It’s okay to be a little picky!
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