Do I Really Need a Sponsor in Recovery?

It took me six years and twice as many ultimatums to finally get the courage to walk into an AA meeting. Fortunately, no one seemed to have a problem with me sitting there in silence week after week. Despite being a private person, I eventually felt comfortable enough to speak, and it did seem to help.

But the next thing I knew, they were laying the whole sponsorship trip on me, and I really didn't like the idea. It was one thing to come to a meeting when I needed to and talk to people who knew what I was going through, but the idea of having to check in with someone made me feel like I was on probation.


One evening a woman named Greta and I were getting coffee, and as she was pouring, she casually mentioned, "I didn't like the idea very much either."

"What idea?"

"Oh, you know, the whole sponsorship thing."

Then she made her way back over to the group, and I just sort of stood there with the dumb look on.

As the days went by, I found myself getting increasingly curious. I knew what I didn't like about it, but that reason didn't seem to fit Greta's personality.

So I purposely met up with her at the next meeting at the coffee pot, and I said, "Okay. I'll bite. What didn't you like about it?"

"Do you have time to go out and get some real coffee after the meeting? We could speak privately. My treat."

Naturally, I said yes. I mean who turns down free Starbucks?

I learned a lot about Greta that night and during the weeks that followed. We went out for coffee together after every meeting.

Listening to her experiences and how she finally got sober was like enjoying a chapter of a favorite book one week at a time. Eventually, I started telling her about my journey, too.

We also started reading the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) and started working the twelve steps. Then one day I realized that we never did discuss sponsorship. So I decided to ask her about it.

She smiled and replied, "We've been doing it for weeks now."


While Greta and I were building a friendship, she was offering me the benefit of her experience in recovery, along with support and guidance. By sharing my thoughts, feelings, and ups and downs of staying sober, I was being accountable to someone I trusted.

The first thing Greta did was to share some of her experiences with me. It put me at ease and helped me to build trust. The next thing I knew I was having an aha moment, and it was so cool to finally feel understood!


I had no idea how much I would gain from having someone in my life who is truly invested in my recovery! Some of the benefits I have received from my sponsor are:

• Hope - When we first met, Greta had been sober for 16 years! I can do this!

• Relief - Those days when everything goes wrong, and I want a drink so bad, I can call Greta instead.

• Accountability - Knowing Greta is going to check in with me keeps me on track.

• Motivation - Greta's support gives me the strength to pull myself up out of life's valleys.

• Resources - Sometimes, I need a little more assistance than Greta can give, but she always knows who to refer me to.

Some of the greatest friendships have been forged through sponsorships. I should know. Greta and I have been going for coffee for over ten years now. And now I go for coffee with my own girls as well.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, please contact 12 South Recovery at 888-830-8374 today. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Our unique style of care combined with our evidence-based treatment philosophy has led to incredible success rates. We strive to support and guide you during your recovery process to help you achieve your personal goals.