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Someone to Practice On

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I didn’t want advice. I didn’t want to go through another person to get to God. I had isolated to perfection—and then I learned what a sponsor could be for me. I still have my first sponsor, and for a brief time, I had an additional sponsor from whom I gleaned a tremendous amount. For me, a sponsor is a loving witness, someone who reassures me on the days I doubt. When I wonder, “Am I really getting it?” or “Did I really do my Fourth and Fifth Steps?” my sponsor is there, the one person in this world who knows all about me.

My sponsor loved me until I could love myself. The greatest gift I got from being sponsored is freedom from my obsessive thinking. When I had only myself to talk to, I had insanity, but when I had a sponsor, I could finally say things aloud, sometimes for the first time ever. I gain so much courage when I face my fear in a safe place with someone who accepts me no matter what (a godlike quality for sure). Sponsorship opened a huge door to let back in the life I had closed out for so long.

Having a sponsor is having someone to practice on. I contact my sponsor at least once a day for one-day-at-a-time recovery. I love it when my sponsor asks me a recovery question—it gets my OA juices flowing! The greatest question is: “What does God say?” Having and being a sponsor is also a one-on-one way to do Step Twelve: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Chapter Seven of the Big Book of AA outlines what happens when addicts mentor each other in program: “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity . . . as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail . . . Carry this message! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 89). And it promises, “Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives” (p. 89). A sponsor is not here to stand between me and God, but rather to help me see what stands between God and me.

A sponsor is an invaluable tool, and my recovery would not be what it is today without having one and being one.

— G.W., Morrison, Illinois USA

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