What to look for in a Sponsor

What to look for in a Sponsor

Primarily there are 4 qualities that we should look for in a godfather

All the different 12-step programs will attest to the following instructions:


“Do not drink”.

“Attend meetings”

“Choose a sponsor.”


Recently, groups of 12 steps such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have been criticized because of ideological differences, alternative options and low overall statistics when analyzing long-term success rates.

Independently of this, they remain the most widely used, widely held and most recognized option for maintaining sobriety. Its members are very passionate about their programs, and they should be. For millions of people, AA NA has saved their lives and not only that but they have also given them a life worth living.

However, it is not an infallible system. An important criterion for living the 12 steps is to have a sponsor who is willing to guide us. A sponsor should be someone who practices the program, work the steps and guide us through our recovery process. Many times this includes reading study and reviewing the program literature together, working together on the steps as well as giving and providing general support.

Newcomers need someone with experience that introduces and guides them through the program to provide them with objective perspectives on the problems they may be facing in their lives as well as the reasons that initially led them to drink or use substances.

The 12-step programs suggest that we should find one that “has what we want”. Someone we would like to emulate and who is actively living his life in the way we would like to live ours. There are no rules as far as an ideal godfather is concerned, and many times people in recovery go through more than one godfather on our journey through sobriety.

Having said that, there are some good personality traits or characteristics that one may want to keep in mind when choosing a sponsor.


1 – Patience and tolerance

Working with alcoholics or drug addicts in recovery is difficult. No doubt about that.

We are emotional, impulsive beings and we simply do not know how to live our lives in sobriety. Many times we choose sponsors in our first days of recovery as the program suggests. At this point in your recovery, there are still many insecurities and confusion.

To be good sponsors, as I said before, we must be patient. We should not take things personally. The godchildren do not always call when they say they will, and they do not always follow the instructions, but that’s fine. Carrying someone through the 12 steps is a slow process that requires a lot of self-reflection and a lot of honesty.

RELATED: Honesty – The first step of recovery.

Breaking the barriers and reaching this place of healing is difficult and often meets resistance. A good Godfather knows this.


2 – Long-term sobriety

I know what you’re thinking … and in most cases I agree.

Having a long time sober does not make someone a good Godfather. We have all seen people who have a long-term sobriety who are still miserable and live poorly governed and healthy lives. However, there is something to be said about the commitment.


3 – Your words must match your actions

This is the true testimony of the character of a man or a woman.

Anyone can stand in front of the people in a meeting and deliver a great discourse on spirituality and help other people. But what do they do? What are your actions?

What a person does will tell you a million times more about it than what they say. When someone does not give an account or says he will do something and does not do it, that is the final sign of a weak character.

Doing what we say and saying what we do means a lot. If someone’s actions match their words, the person respects themselves because they are willing to do whatever it takes to take responsibility.

Find a sponsor whose actions match your words.

RELATED: 7-step process to recover confidence in recovery


4 – A good sponsor does the right thing and does not expect anything in return

This is part of the deal.

Being a good sponsor requires being disinterested. Helping someone without expecting anything in return is a sure sign of a virtuous person who can help us on our path to recovery.

Being a sponsor is a commitment. Hours of talking on the phone, reading with godchildren, being available when needed. All these hours really add up, not to mention that they are going to the top of what is probably already a busy life.



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