From the very first Al-Anon meeting that we attend and every one thereafter, the message 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
More specifically, this intent is for anyone who has a friend or loved one who is struggling with alcoholism/addiction. It is also clear from the first meeting that no one in the Al-Anon rooms is there to offer advice or instructions on how to stop our loved ones from drinking or drugging.
Simply speaking, from day one, we have no idea how Al-Anon can possibly help us. Suffering fools that we are, we return to the rooms, find the courage to share our experiences, and over time, begin to feel alive again. Then one day, we surprise ourselves when we start looking around the Al-Anon meeting rooms to find that person who might be willing to be our Sponsor. Our elementary understanding of what we do with a Sponsor is to work through the 12 Steps. In practice, Sponsorship in Al-Anon is that and so much more.
The Al-Anon program is based on the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
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 alcohol/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 his/her experience, strength and hope with a fellow Al-Anon. As a Sponsor, you are at the service of of your Sponsee, with a willingness to listen and support him/her. A Sponsor’s role is not to judge the Sponsee, but rather to encourage the Sponsee to look at his/her part in many problems, including those with the alcoholic/addict.
The most interesting revelation that presents itself through Sponsorship in Al-Anon is the recognition that the Sponsor/Sponsee roles are reversible. It is “a relationship of equals who are learning to value themselves.” (Courage to Change, p. 241) Each of them comes to the relationship with everyday joys and setbacks. The truth is that both the Sponsor and the Sponsee are works in progress, regardless of how long they have been in Al-Anon. To summarize sponsorship in Al-Anon, the takeaway is “I can best put what I learn into practice by passing it along.” (Courage to Change, p.363)
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.