Many people new to Alcoholics Anonymous are terrified of staying sober. They sit at the back of the rooms in AA. They come late and leave early. They see happy people smiling, laughing and enjoying being sober and they don’t get it. Then out of the cloud they hear it “If you are new get a sponsor and work the steps and your life will change” . The newcomer wants their lives to change more than anything. They may be straight out of rehab, living in a halfway house or they may still be living in a mansion with the cars, the husband and the kids. They set about finding the perfect sponsor somebody they can be friends with who won’t be too hard on them. When we first go into AA we want things to be gentle and easy as possible. Alcoholism is a fatal disease and gentle and easy does not work.
When looking for a sponsor the newcomer should look for the person they see in the room who talks the gibberish they do not yet understand. The higher power, happy joyous and free, the big book. Go for the person who seems to know what is going on and make sure your sponsor has time in the program. If you want a buddy to go to the movies with find the other newcomers but if you want the program find the AA member with time. Your sponsor has stayed sober a long time because they work the program and one of the steps of the program the 12th step says they must work with others. They work with you to pass on what they have and carry the message not to go on shopping trips with you or grab a coffee at Starbucks to talk about the weather. Choose your sponsor because they love AA not what AA does for them. If you hate your sponsor that is good because the chances are you hate them because they are doing the one thing that makes the difference they are helping you through the 12 steps to crush that huge alcoholic ego.
Grin and bear it work with a tough sponsor and when you get through the steps thoroughly you will then be able to sponsor others and pass on what you have that is how it works. Sponsorship is a serious business not a social engagement. A good sponsor can make the difference between life and death and the life could be yours.