While sponsorship in AA is a robust and critical part of 12-step recovery, sponsorship in Al-Anon is more loosely defined. The message from Al-Anon meetings is simple: “This is your program to work on your own recovery from the effects of alcohol/addiction.”
The intent of Al-Anon is to offer love, support and fellowship to anyone who has a friend or loved one who is struggling with addiction.
No one in the Al-Anon rooms is there to offer advice or instructions on how to stop our loved ones from their substance use; instead, they offer a listening ear, shared experiences, and encouragement.
Because the deadly disease of alcoholism/addiction is accompanied by manipulative, cunning, and dangerous behaviors, working the 12 Steps and choosing a sponsor is a top priority in AA. In contrast to AA, Al-Anon is a program of healing, change, and personal growth. There is no ‘need for speed’ to get through the 12 Steps or find a sponsorship in Al-Anon. The program literature, group meetings, and 12 Steps are all tools to begin recovery from the effects of a loved one’s addiction. Sponsorship in Al-Anon is simply another tool of the program. It is a one-on-one relationship with someone who can be trusted and with whom you can be comfortable sharing more openly than in a group meeting.
Sponsorship in Al-Anon is a privilege and honor.
It is an opportunity for both the the sponsor and sponsee to practice humility while sharing their experience, strength, and hope with a fellow Al-Anon member. A sponsor’s role is not to judge the sponsee, but rather to encourage them to see their role in their problems in general and with their addicted loved one.
In Al-Anon, the sponsor/sponsee roles are reversible. It is “a relationship of equals who are learning to value themselves” (Courage to Change, p. 241). Each person comes to the relationship with everyday joys and setbacks. Both people are works in progress, regardless of how long they have been in Al-Anon.
If you have a loved one struggling with the disease of addiction, get help now. We are here to offer you the resources you need. Contact us anytime at (877) 977-3268.
Courage to change: One day at a time in Al-Anon II. (Large print ed.). (1992). New York: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters.