Sponsorship – Experience, Strength and Hope
This section is for people who wish to sponsor or who are currently sponsoring and would like to share resources and ideas.
For those new to sponsorship, or uncertain about if they are ready to sponsor, we encourage you to find out more about sponsorship and the tools available. Most importantly, it is common for members to look within themselves to discern their readiness to sponsor and to seek guidance. We turn to our Higher Power and often to our own sponsor to guide us in this decision-making process. Chances are, you are more ready than you know.
Healthy Boundaries in Sponsorship: (adapted from “Sponsorship, What’s In It For Me?” booklet)
To be effective, CoDA sponsorship depends on the maintenance of healthy boundaries on control issues such as advice-giving, caretaking and rescuing. We can think of sponsorship as a three-way partnership for recovery, one that includes a Higher Power, a sponsor, and the person to be sponsored. We can choose the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as guiding principles in this new relationship.
Sharing with a sponsor gives sponsees a new perspective about the way they have been treated by others. At the same time, they have the chance to learn what it is about their behaviour that creates problems in relationships. Giving feedback as sponsors, we work on developing the skills, to be honest without advising, lecturing, or engaging in codependent communication behaviours.
Recovery from codependence cannot be done alone. It is important for sponsees to have someone who will point out codependent behaviour when asked and who can share their own experience, strength, and hope in recovery. As sponsors, this relationship allows us to practice our recovery skills and often reminds us of where we have been and where we are now. It is service to one another, as well as to the CoDA program as a whole.
(Adapted from Co-Dependents Anonymous and “Sponsorship: What’s In It For Me?” )
On a practical level, some things you may want to establish include:
- Setting a regular meeting time for check-in calls and step work
- Clear communication expectations (who calls who, length of meeting time, etc.)
- What format you suggest for working the Steps?
- What your availability is outside of the planned meeting time (e.g. can your sponsee call you at other times? If so, are there times you cannot be called?)
- If temporary sponsorship, establish a time to renegotiate the arrangement. Will you check in after a month of working together? Six months? Or, is the sponsee looking for a permanent sponsor?
Please remember that being a sponsor does not mean that you are perfect or work a “perfect program.” It is part of living the twelfth step that we give back what we have been given so that we continue to receive the gifts of the program.
CoDA literature available:
- Being of Service in CoDA (booklet)
- Co-Dependents Anonymous Book
- Sponsorship in CoDA (pamphlet)
- Sponsorship, What’s In It For Me? (booklet)
- The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Workbook
- Twelve Steps Handbook (booklet)