The idea of sponsorship is deeply embedded in the Twelve Step program, and Step Twelve makes it very clear that the program is a “we” venture and is not done in isolation. In the SAA program sponsorship is about developing a vital relationship with another addict from which successful recovery can grow.
“A sponsor is a person in the fellowship who acts as a guide to working the program of SAA – a fellow addict [whom] we can rely upon for support. Ideally, a sponsor is abstinent from addictive sexual behavior, has worked the steps, and can teach us what he or she has learned from working the program. We can learn from a sponsor’s experience, struggles, successes, and mistakes. Our sponsor can help explain program fundamentals, such as how to define our sexual sobriety. Most importantly, sponsors guide us through the Twelve Steps.”
(Sex Addicts Anonymous, p. 13)
Every newcomer to SAA is encouraged to obtain a sponsor as soon as he or she is comfortable doing so. A temporary sponsor may be used until the newcomer gets to know others in the group better. This will speed the process of getting started in the recovery program. After attending a few meetings, the newcomer may meet a person with whom he or she readily identifies and with whom long-term sponsorship seems to be promising. Changing sponsors is an acceptable practice. Finding a sponsor who works well with the sponsee is paramount.
In regular one-on-one meetings, a sponsor shares his or her experience, strength, and hope in order to encourage the sponsee to press ahead in working the program. Importantly, a sponsor can hold the sponsee accountable for attendance at meetings, as well as progress in the program.
Sponsorship serves to advance the recovery program for the sponsee and, at the same time, to re-enforce sobriety and recovery for the sponsor.
The ISO office staff can assist a member in finding a long-distance sponsor, if a suitable sponsor is not available locally.