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Post Info TOPIC: How Much Time Do You Have To Have To SPONSOR & HOW MANY


Status: Offline
Posts: 9
How Much Time Do You Have To Have To SPONSOR & HOW MANY

Hi Brother & Sister In Sobriety

This question has come up time and time again this past couple of months.

I really don't think a new comer should sponsor anyone. I just wanted to through that out there.

I know its stupid. I asked a guy to sponsor me and I though he had something I wanted. He had

3yrs. and me with decades. Please don't get me wrong ~  I'M AN ARMS LENGTH AWAY FROM A DRINK. Only by the grace of JESUS CHRIST I'm sobe today.

He gave me an assignment of which I didn't understand fully and I wasn't up to the speed he wanted me to be  ~ so he FIRED ME, Oh Well. GOD works in strange and mysterous ways.

But back again the question:

How many should someone sponsor ?

How many years should one have before attempting to sponsor anyone ?



-- Edited by StPeteDean on Friday 10th of June 2011 05:54:17 AM



GOD bless you ALL

MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 3210

Thanks schooner for the topic.

My first sponsor was 15 years sober before his untimely death. He was a kind and gentle soul with so many wonderful qualities that I came to admire. He had a positive outlook on life and a quiet demeanor which made recovery that much easier. He also had a good sense of humor, a positive "can do" attitude and a good working knowledge of the steps. He was to me an inspiration and a person well known for grounding his sponsee's in the principles of AA.

My current sponsor has similar traits but a totally different approach to working the program. He has more of a spiritual vibe and can talk for hours on the importance of developing a spiritual based recovery program. He has instructed me in the language of the heart and how to develop a relationship with our higher power, beyond the scope of AA. I've personally thanked him for his utmost devotion over the years and probably wouldn't have survived the emotional turmoil's of life without his ongoing support.

Here is my point...I had certain criteria in mind that I thought was relevant before I searched for my next sponsor, but all that worrying caused me to fluctuate in sobriety and not flourish as I should. My sponsor is not perfect and either am I, we were made for each other and our first encounter was evidence of that. He had something I wanted, a spiritual swagger about him that proved the higher power theory correct, in my eyes. He had patience and tolerance for everyone and worked on becoming a responsible sober member of AA not the ego centered ones I was accustomed too for so long. He has been a great friend in sobriety for 7+ years now and I hope he will be there to the very end. 

Keep searching my friend and don't be afraid to take a chance, regardless of how others will respond. They say in AA: "when the student is ready, his teacher will arrive". Maybe, not a teacher but at least a mentor; A person  that can bring a smile, a sense of compassion and a jovial spirit to our lives, especially when we need it the most.  

~God bless~aww

-- Edited by Mr_David on Friday 10th of June 2011 08:20:01 PM


MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 805

A sponsor is a guide through the steps, pure and simple, 15 years ago or so with 3 years of sobriety give or take I was sponsoring guys with over ten years, one with 17 years

I personally look for someone who "has what I want" provided they meet some basic criteria, have they worked the steps out of the big book of alcoholics anonymous with someone who worked the steps with someone and so on.

For me the benchmark is Joe and Charlie's seminars, they broke the book down mathematically in even greater detail then my sponsor did, my sponsor however provided the human touch, the best of both worlds was doing a Joe and Charlie with both sponsees and my sponsor

I relapsed some years ago and when I came back I went fishing for a sponsor, and of course no one would do except one of the "big men on campus", my old grandsponsor who had gotten sober in WWII had passed away so I walked around like that duck in that childrens book, "Are you my mommy?" asking the big guys to sponsor me, the ones I thought were important enough to handle a special case like me...I had previously worked the steps with 3 of the bigger hitters in the bay area so I felt entitled to some pretty serious sponsorship, and I got used to hearing the word "no".....after maybe a month I was climbing the I finally asked this guy I had been going to meetings with, he seemed nice, had about 7 years, had worked the steps, was mellow, laid back with a pretty good working knowledge of the program...So I said, Hey Alex, I am going to start working the steps tomorrow!"

That's great! he said, "with who?"

"You" I said beaming...

"wha...huh...what?" he said as his face fell, "but I've never taken anyone through the steps!!!"

That's fine" I said, "I'll show you how" and we looked at each other and both burst into laughter....

He came over the next day and we got started, after a few weeks he was looking at me funny, and he asked "you don't remember me do you Andrew?"

"Should I" I asked, "Have we met?"

He said "Yeah, you used to take me to meetings when I was new, you drug me around for months, took me to that book seminar, all you ever said to me was 'shut up Alex"

My jaw dropped open, I remembered THAT guy, long hair, beard, broken leg, eyes glazed over from too much acid at too many grateful Dead WAY could that be the same good looking, well dressed young man in front of me....but it was...

He was the best sponsor I have ever had, I still talk to him to this day, we went our seperate ways eventually, he went to Mexico to film a documentary about Mayan Ruins, and I moved North to open a restaurant, but he had what I wanted, and still does to this day...

Happy, joyous and free

Be nice to newcomers, one may end up being your sponsor someday, he knew how to stay sober and stay happy, and he taught me more then any of the heavy hitters ever did truth be told, because he taught me about love and service, and I don't necessarily mean AA service, because I was far more more involved in that then he was, serve, to be kind to all creatures, and have fun while doing so...

So a sponsor is someone who has worked the steps and has what you want, whether they have 6 months or 60 years, the program is in the book, not in the sponsor, all he has to have is experience working the 12 steps himself, and have experienced the spiritual awakening described as the result of the steps, if you have never worked the steps, someone with 6 month who has is way ahead of you (on the steps I mean)



it's not the change that's painful, it's the resistance to change that is painful

MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 1643

My critreria would be after you have held some type of service position in a group, has worked and is now living the 12 steps in his life, is making communication with other members outside the rooms, is 1.5 years or more sober, and most important his sponsor says he can sponsor.

I currently sponsor 11 guys, 8 have over 1.5 years or more and have worked the steps so they are not high maintenance. One just got a year and the two have about 6 months and we are still working through the steps.

Lin, I can't imagine someone saying no to sponsoring if they are qualified, that goes against everything I was ever taught in AA. I was always told you do everything you are asked to do in the program, God will never give you more that you can handle. I don't do it all, I have guys call each other and newcomers and start trying to be of service to others right away.

When I'm asked to sponsor someone, I was always taught to ask , "what are you willing to do to stay sober"? if we get the right answer and are qualified to sponsor according tor our sponsor we can't and should not say no!!!



"There ain't no Coupe DeVille hiding in the bottom of a Cracker Jack Box."

MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 3036


I more than less go along the lines of what Rob mentions.  I was also taught and was shown that is more about "Quality" of my recovery than "Quantity".  I defer the question to my very own sponsor before I do an action and for "Quality" I let my sponsor and the fellowship feed me back on my growth and sober support of the group.   smile


MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 632

Good Morning schooner- I don't know about any hard and fast "rules", I do know that when it was my time to sponsor, my sponsor told me.  She told me as long as I was a few Steps ahead of someone I could be of service.  Am I still sponsoring any of those folks?  No.  Did I stay sober? Yes! 

Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy. One of our Fellowship failed entirely with his first half dozen prospects. He often says that if he had continued to work on them, he might have deprived many others, who have since recovered, of their chance.


As I grew and grow, I became of service in many ways in A.A. and believe I am becoming a better sponsor.  We all have to start somewhere.  I have a sponsor who has a sponsor, who has a sponsor.  I've also had many sponsors and I needed each one of them.  A couple, I out grew (not being said with grandiosity), and one got drunk.  Did I stay sober?  Yes!

As far as how many... my sponsor helps me there too.  For me it depends on how many are working those first 5 Steps.  And I have to watch and ask for help with balance and ego.

I sponsor 1 with 10 years, one with 16, and one with 13.  I also sponsor 3 who are just starting on the first 3 Steps.  I have all but one making themselves available for sponsorship.  When I made myself availble for sponsorship it kept me in the books, that helped me to help others, and most importantly Sober!!

Thanks for the topic!!


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 362

My take is you can't give away what you don't have.
You can't take someone else through the Steps until you've done them yourself, after that if you feel worthy you should give back what was so freely given to you.

Work like you don't need the money Love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching.

MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 525

Back in the day, early AAers were helping ( sponsoring ?? ) one another with what .. a few days sober?

I started sponsoring at 9 months sober and had completed the 12 steps with my own sponsor.

I once was sponsoring a gal and she was 3months sober, making her ammends and she started sponsoring another new gal in our home group . Why not ?? what can it hurt?? ( especially when there are a lack of women in my area ).

Im with Rob84 .. Ya never really say "no" to sponsoring. And my sponsor told me the same thing ... " ask the new comer what are ya willing to do to stay sober ", and go from there. Let the process begin on page 1 of the Big Book and get to work!

At one point in time about 2 yrs ago, I was sponsoring some 6 gals at once. actually it was 5 & 1/2 lol. Seems everyone is willing to do anything to stay sober at the first meeting of AA, and they call ya once .. maybe. And then I call them a few times to see what mtg they're goin to, and they dont show up and the sponsor/sponsee relationship is pretty much so over at that point. I dont chase. If ya want what Ive got, you'll do what I do. Its really very simple. In fact, so simple .. I almost missed it !!

God has a way of giving to me and taking away from me what HE thinks I need, and I like it that way too, less pressure for me



MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 1643

happycamper wrote:


God has a way of giving to me and taking away from me what HE thinks I need, and I like it that way too, less pressure for me


 You are so right, everything always seems to work out.  Just need to keep making ourselves available!



"There ain't no Coupe DeVille hiding in the bottom of a Cracker Jack Box."


Status: Offline
Posts: 7

The "you need a year to sponsor" idea is a myth.

It's about the experience you've had with the steps (not that you're well-versed in them and can recite passages). If you've had an experience, you can teach. If you haven't, you shouldn't.


MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 755

Some might find this of use/interest: (Happy Sober Sunday Everyone)

The Big Book says, "Here are the steps we took" not "here are the steps we read and talked about." The AA pioneers proved that action, not knowledge, produced the spiritual awakening that resulted in recovery from alcoholism or addiction. (Source: Back to Basics)

Back to the Basics of Sponsorship

Suggested Big Book Passages for Taking a Newcomer through the Twelve Steps


Who are we? pg xiii: 5 (1) and pg xiv: 0 (1-6)
What do we have to offer? pg 17: 3 (1-6)

Surrender (Steps 1, 2 and 3)

Step 1

Physical symptoms: pg. xxx: 5 (1-3, 5-8); pg. 44: 1 (4-7)
Mental symptoms: pg. xxviii: 4 (1-6) and xxix: 0 (1-9); pg 23:1(3-10) and pg 23:2(1-9); pg 30:1(4-10)
Psychic change: pg. xxix: 1 (1-7)
Unmanageability: pg. 52: 2 (3-8)
Loneliness: pg. 151: 2 (1-10)
First Step question: pg. 30:2 (1-3)

Step 2

Lack of Power: pg. 45: 1 (1-4), 2 (1-3)
Where do we find the Power? pg. 55: 2 (1-7), pg. 55: 3 (5-7)
Look within: pg 55: 4 (3-4)
What if the newcomer doesnt believe? pg. 46: 1 (3-8)
Second Step question: pg 47: 2 (1-3)

Step 3

A life run on self-will: pg. 60: 4 (1-8)
Selfishness blocks us from Gods will: pg. 62: 1 (1-8) and pg. 62: 2: (1-8)
A life guided by the vision of Gods will: pg. 62: 3 (1-4, 6-8) and pg. 63: (1-4)
Third Step prayer: pg. 63:2 (2-8)

Sharing (Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7)

Step 4

Explanation: pg. 63: 4 (1-2), pg. 64: 0 (1-5) and pg 64: 1 (1-7)
Sponsor does the writing: pg. 13: 3 (1-4)
What do we inventory?
Resentments: pg. 64: 3 (1-2, 6-9)
We overcome our resentments with forgiveness: pg. 66: 4 (1-2), pg. 67: 0 (1- 8), and pg. 67: 1 (1-2)
Fears: pg. 68: 1 (1-3)
We overcome our fears with faith: pg. 68: 2 (1-4) and pg. 68: 3 (4-10)
Harms: pg: 69: 1 (1-6)
We overcome our harms with amends: pg. 69: 3 (2-4)
Step 5

We share our inventory: pg 72: 2 (4-10)
With whom? pg. 73: 4 (1), pg. 74: 0 (1-9), pg. 74: 1 (1-4)
This Step may be temporarily postponed: pg. 74: 2 (2-6)
How do we take this Step? pg. 75:1 (1-4)

Step 6

Explanation: pg. 76: 1 (1-7)
Sixth Step question: pg. 76: 1 (3-5)

Step 7
Seventh Step prayer: pg. 76: 2 (1-7)

Amends (Steps 8 and 9)

Step 8

Explanation: pg. 76: 3 (2-5)

Step 9

Explanation: pg. 76: 3 (6-11)
Specific amends:
People we dislike: pg. 77: 1 (9-14)
Creditors: pg. 78: 2 (1-12)
Where other people are involved: pg. 79: 2 (1-3) and 80: 1 (1-5)
People who cannot be seen: pg. 83: 3 (1-5)

Guidance (Steps 10, 11 and 12)

Step 10

Explanation: pg. 84: 2 (1-8)
Tenth Step process: pg. 84: 2 (8-14)
Tenth Step question: pg. 84: 2 (2-3)

Step 11

Explanation of two-way prayer: pg. 85: 3 (1-2) and 86:0 (1-4)
When we retire: pg. 86: 1 (1-9
Upon awakening: pg: 86: 2 (1-5)
How does God communicate with us? pg. 86: 3 (1-6)
How did God communicate with Bill W.? pg 14: 2.(1-8)
Practice, practice, practice: pg. 87: 0 (1-9)
Throughout the day: pg. 87: 3 (1-3), 88: 0 (1-7), 1 (1)

Step 12

Explanation: pg. 89: 1 (1-7) and 2 (1-7)
Twelfth Step question: pg. 89: 1 (5)


Program summary: pg. 164: 2 (1-10), pg. 164: 3 (1-6), and 164: 4 (1)
There is a solution: pg. 25: 1 (1-12) and pg. 25: 2 (1-9)

Copyright: Faith With Works Publishing Company, Wally P., 2005 (Rev. 2/08)

Willingness is the key.


Status: Offline
Posts: 9

Hey Brother David

Thanks 4 your input; i certainly appreciated it.

Well, I do believe with ALL my heart that ~ When the pupil is ready the TEACHER will appeaar.

It happen early in my sobriety and he came in the form of an American Indian. Chief (that's what he went by in the rooms) real name Thomas Farley. I pray Chief is in heaven for all he done for me.


Well, being in my 35 year of sobriety ( Only be the Heavely Grace Of JESUS CHRIST & A.A. I'm still sober ) However, I do claim the trophy for being DRY DRUNK LOTS OF TIMES ! ! !

Thanks again Mr.David



GOD bless you ALL


Status: Offline
Posts: 9

Hey My Good Man


I couldn't agree with you more. Yes, new comers are good to listen too; they bring me back to where I came from.

But as far as the one yearer sponsoring me ~ Thanks but NO THANKS no



GOD bless you ALL

MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 632

"A.A. defines a sponsorship in this way: "An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program who shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through A.A."  Every sponsor is different, just as each sponsee is different, but certain activities, responsibilities, and obligations are common in all sponsor/sponsee relationships.  They are all working to help one another remain sober for just one more day by sharing themselves with one another."


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