What Is An AA Sponsor And Do You Need One?

Although 82% of AA members have a sponsor, there is no requirement to have one. Sponsors help participants stay on their recovery journey by providing support and accountability.

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If you are living with alcohol addiction and have chosen to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a part of your recovery journey, you aren’t alone.

AA has helped many people begin their recovery from alcoholism. According to a 2014 survey, 82% of AA attendees have a sponsor, but that doesn’t mean you’re required to have one.

Knowing what recovery resources are available to you can help you decide if having a sponsor is essential to your recovery journey.

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a community organization for those who wish to recover from alcohol addiction.

AA is a 12-step program that utilizes a set of 12 spiritual principles or steps to recover from alcoholism with the intention of helping them achieve long-term sobriety.

AA meetings are spaces where people come together to address their drinking problems, seek support for the challenges of alcohol addiction, and receive positive feedback on their progress.

What Is The Role Of A Sponsor In AA?

An AA sponsor aims to help a newcomer in the AA program feel that they have someone who understands their situation without judgment when doubts or problems with alcohol occur.

The sponsor-sponsee relationship gives the sponsee an understanding and sympathetic person to talk to when they need it the most.

Sponsorship is the last of the twelve steps, often resulting in a long-term relationship with the sponsee.

Sponsorship may also refer to the responsibility of the entire AA group to help a new member stay on track.

The Benefits Of Having A Sponsor

There are many benefits to having a good AA sponsor in addiction recovery, including a reduced risk of relapse.

Supportive Community And Fellowship

A good sponsor is able to show compassion and empathy because they have experienced many of the same challenges during their own recovery journey.

A potential sponsor can also be someone to share your setbacks and positive experiences with. Sponsors are living proof that sobriety is possible.

Accountability And Responsibility

An Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor can also help a new member stay accountable by checking in with them and ensuring that they’re actively working towards recovery.

By acting as a support person and guide throughout the stages of recovery, a sponsor helps the sponsee cultivate a sense of responsibility that will empower them to continue working through the steps.

Access To Resources And Support Groups

Having your own sponsor can give you greater access to other sober resources and support groups.

While recovering, they can direct you to alternative or additional support groups to build your support network.

A sponsor can also provide knowledge and access to resources such as sober living environments, sober events, mental health resources, and other community resources.

Alternatives To AA And The Sponsor System

There are several alternatives to Alcoholic Anonymous that people can use to recover from substance abuse issues.

Alternative groups will also utilize peer support and provide tools to minimize the risk of relapse.

Some alternatives to AA include:

  • moderation management
  • evidence-based substance use treatment
  • holistic therapies
  • SMART recovery
  • women for sobriety
  • lifeRing

Unlike AA, recovery programs such as Women for Sobriety, LifeRing, and SMART Recovery all avoid religious content to provide a helpful framework for people who don’t necessarily believe that a higher power plays a key role in their life.

Each of these alternative groups for treating substance use also hosts free meetings and offers online meetings and chat groups.

Learn About Addiction Treatment Options At Bedrock

If you or a loved one are living with an alcohol use disorder and seeking treatment, we can help.

Contact Bedrock Recovery Center to learn how we utilize 12-step meetings like AA as a part of the recovery process.

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) https://www.aa.org/alcoholics-anonymous-2022-membership-survey/
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) https://www.aa.org/what-is-aa#:~:text=Alcoholics%20Anonymous%20is%20a%20fellowship,something%20about%20their%20drinking%20problem./
  3. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) https://www.aa.org/sites/default/files/literature/p-15_en_0722.pdf/
  4. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424846/
  5. National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5512698/
  6. National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967695/
  7. National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5193234/

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: February 20, 2024

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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