What is Sponsorship/Co-Sponsorship?
Sponsorship/Co-sponsorhip is an opportunity to strengthen and deepen your personal program of recovery by walking with someone else or several others. It is a mutual and confidential sharing between EA members. Experience shows that sponsorship is a valuable aid to understanding the EA program; co-sponsorship is a similar though slightly alternative to a 'traditional' sponsorship effort. Having constant, personal support between meetings helps dispel confusion and allows members to share problems on a one-to-one basis.
Sponsors have long been an important part of people finding success in twelve step programs and Emotions Anonymous is no exception. Some people find that they can navigate the program and make progress on their own, but many find that they can significantly benefit from the experience that sponsors have in working the program. For the person committed to being a sponsor, it is an opportunity to grow deeper and find continued serenity in the program by being of service to others. Co-sponsors see themselves in a similar manner but more as partners and less as a guide for another as a traditional sponsor might be.
Members are individually comfortable with varying degrees of sharing during meetings. Sponsor relationships can be an opportunity to make sure that things that should be spoken aloud for the sake of making personal progress do not go left unsaid. Additionally, members may benefit from additional clarity concerning the exact meaning and context for the steps, traditions, promises, slogans and just for todays. Members can benefit when working through steps 5 (admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs) and 9 (made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others) in particular. Being able to voice to another person(s) your worst fears about what you have done wrong can be crucial to emotional recovery and having a third party help you to determine who is best qualified to make amends to can be valuable to working step 9 in the best way possible.
Sponsorship can be looked at as a maturing in the program. For the first few years, members go through the steps up to a dozen times. By then, they might have gotten to learn a host of contexts for each step and have a thorough understanding of them. Sometimes, members get comfortable enough with the material that they may feel that they can stop attending meetings and be able to juggle the complexities of life neatly. Sponsorship is a way to stay engaged with the program. Not only does it ensure members stay connected, it pushes more senior members of the group to remember what it was like for them when they first started. This can provide valuable context to the progress that they've made and the preciousness that found serenity offers. Co-sponsorship offers similar benefits even for those newer to the program.
In practical terms, sponsors/co-sponsors can be expected to spend extra time, perhaps 30-60 minutes/week, talking through roadblocks that may be in front of a member who is trying to progress through the program. Additionally, the extra time could simply be used to share readings and reflections. Sponsors/co-sponsors can provide encouragement and discuss the substantial progress that is made by attending each meeting and working the materials. Co-sponsors and sponsors alike may feel that they can share and look for personal support from others.
If you are engaging in a virtual sponsorshipco-sponsorship, it is important to make sure that both parties are comfortable using the same type of connecting technology, whether it be a simple call, zoom, skype, etc.