What does a Sponsor or Co-Sponsor do?
One of the most powerful “tools” to help people stay emotionally "sober" in EA is the sponsor or co-sponsor. This individual is there to offer guidance and support to another. The sponsor/co-sponsor is not only a person who guides the member through the EA program, but is also there to listen and learn themselves. Being able to rely on a sympathetic ear can be particularly important when someone feels on the verge of an emotional relapse. Choosing the right sponsor/co-sponsor is important, because an unsuccessful relationship could prove to be very discouraging.
A sponsor is someone who may:
· Have a one to one relationship with another member of the group – this other party is referred to as the sponsee
· Tend to be someone who has been in the program for a while
· Have worked all of the 12 Steps themselves
· Guide the sponsee through the Steps
A co-sponsor is someone who may:
· Seek to work the program along side another person/persons
· Not see themselves as a guide for another but more of a partner
· Be newer to the program than a traditional sponsor might be
Both sponsors and co-sponsors:
· Are there to offer advice and support.
· Can be a trusted friend
· Share information and resources about the 12 Step program
· Offer encouragement and praise
· Provide a shoulder to cry on and an opportunity to vent
· Are a friendly face in the meetings
· Are a resource for honest feedback
· Can spot the danger signs of an approaching relapse or recognize if another has gone ‘off course’
The individual sponsees or co-sponsors can feel free to talk about issues with the others that they would not feel comfortable discussing in the meetings. Some sponsees will end up revealing secrets that they have never shared with anyone else on the planet. A sponsor or co-sponsor does their work as a form of service in the group. The reason why they do this is two-fold: not only is it a way for them to give something back, but, more importantly, it helps to keep them working the program as well. Twelve Step groups depend on service to thrive and sponsorship/co-sponsorship can be the most rewarding service of all.