Sponsor: Verb- To give moral or psychological support, aid or courage to… (google)
A sponsor shares their recovery, experience, strength and hope with another, that’s all. A recovery perspective grows. Faith and trust in recovery principles grow over time, as does my relationship with the God of my understanding. The care and support of a person ahead of me on their recovery path gives me the courage to practice this new perspective- to actually try a new way to live, to think and to respond to life. Through my choice to work the steps, with the support of one who is already doing so, I make a commitment to my own continued recovery and growth.
Sponsorship – What Did I Learn?
To ask for help.
To consider suggestions.
To ease up on my stubborn self-sufficiency.
To allow myself to be vulnerable with another.
To search for and find my own truth.
To trust another with my truth.
To experience unconditional love and acceptance.
To let go of my need to know.
To let go of my need to be right.
To make my own choices.
To seek help when I am struggling.
To consider new possibilities.
To be for, not against, those I love who struggle.
To be present in today, not lost in the past or afraid of the future.
To not lose myself to this family disease.
To admit I am not so alone or so unique in my problems as I once thought.
To end my isolation through the gift of recovery.
To take baby steps toward trust, which builds my faith.
To nurture, with love, the broken places where hope grows.
To internalize that gratitude is a transforming and necessary choice in order to have serenity.
My Story of Seeking a Sponsor
Nar-Anon is a relationship program and I really do need help figuring out what respectful, loving and supportive relationships look like. Choosing a sponsor who has what I want spiritually and willingly shares her truth, guides me to do the same; to find my own truth, spirituality and responsibilities in my relationships. I think of responsibility as “respond”-ability. Is this _____ mine? Does this _____ belong to me? What is my Higher Power’s will for me?
Asking myself these questions, listening to my inner-self, and praying for guidance helps me learn to choose. Conscious choosing, with self- awareness, acceptance of consequences, humility and compassion is recovery. Letting God be God, because I am not, is recovery. Learning to be open to guidance and learning to be open to what my part is in relationships, teaches me to practice the principles in all my affairs. Having the support, aid and courage of another really helps.
Personally, I have a relationship with my sponsor because I want to. I have benefitted greatly from being open to her shared experience, strength and hope. She does a lot of listening. She is a wonderful mentor and a caring, trusted friend. As a sponsee, it is my responsibility to do my own work on the steps and to practice and apply the program to my own life. My sponsor is present when I am ready to share my step work, ask questions or sort through any current issues. She does not give advice. She willingly shares her own, sometimes eerily similar, struggles and how she uses the program and specific principles in her personal recovery. My recovery is not her responsibility; she is simply a conduit of her shared experience, strength and hope, her willingness to be present and her love and concern for another.
How did I find a sponsor when there were few to be found? I prayed and I asked for guidance. I listened at meetings. I went to different meetings. I went for coffee after meetings. I studied the literature and listened to sharing as if my life depended on it, because I felt it did. I started doing what I could, today, for my recovery, every day. I was studying and open to recovery. I began recognizing recovery in others. I could see and hear the focus and coherence in their descriptions of applying principles of the program to themselves and their relationships. I was experiencing the attraction of recovery from having an open, seeking, willing heart. I really wanted what others had. Guidance from a Higher Power, steadiness, thoughtfulness and visible inner peace- that was what I wanted.
I’d been pondering asking a few persons to sponsor me. I wanted to find the just right one, so I had no sponsor for quite a while. One afternoon at lunch after a meeting, I found myself sitting in a small group with my sister and one of these persons. The conversation turned to sponsors. Then my sister asked her to be her sponsor. She said yes. Although I was hesitant, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity, so I asked her to sponsor me as well. She answered yes to me also. I was excited and relieved. She handed us each a small mirror and asked, “What do you see?” “Me,” I said. “That is what you will find through the steps,” is what she replied. It is true.
Why My Sponsor is Right for Me
I chose my sponsor about a year after I started coming to meetings. The reason I wanted one was because I started step class. We were well into working the steps, getting ready to do our Step 4 Self-Inventories. I felt that before I went any further, I really had to stop and resolve the lingering issues I had with Step 2, “Came to believe that a Power Greater than myself could restore me to sanity.”
I had long since given up the idea of a specific traditional religious deity in favor of a more universal Spirit of God that lives both inside and outside each of us. Despite believing this, I still had difficulty visualizing anything other than the familiar spiritual images of my upbringing. I knew the person I wanted to be my sponsor shared a similar sense of a Higher Power as I did. I found it difficult to progress in this program without having a Higher Power I could believe in and “see” or “feel” when I closed my eyes. My sponsor worked with me to help develop my relationship with my Higher Power. Although I considered other very qualified people whom I have great trust in, it really came down to having a sponsor with whom I could comfortably share my spiritual beliefs.