Sponsorship Is the Best Relapse Prevention

Sponsorship Is the Best Relapse Prevention

I met my sponsor at an online SA meeting that I had never before attended. The fact that both I and my future sponsor decided to join that same meeting on the same day is evidence of my Higher Power’s love for me. Meeting him came at a time when I felt alone and disconnected, longing to feel loved and understood by my Higher Power. 

After that online meeting, we talked for about two hours over the phone, sharing experience and relating to each other. During the conversation it felt like God was giving me a warm embrace and that everything would be OK. Through that phone call, I believed that God noticed me, knew what I was going through, and specifically sent someone to me to help me feel His love.

A few weeks later, my new sponsor took me through the 12 Steps in one session lasting over four hours. After working the Steps, he encouraged me to immediately find other sponsees and begin carrying the message. 

As a recovering perfectionist, I had fears about doing sponsorship perfectly and wondering if I would be good enough. In response, he pointed out the wording in Step 12, which says, “we tried to carry the message” (SA 208). As long as I was willing to try, I could be a sponsor. 

I was also concerned about the fact that I only had a few days of sobriety at the time. But he shared how he was a chronic slipper for years in the program, and he never got sober until he started sponsoring others. Because of his experience, I realized that sponsoring right away would be vital for me in order to have an ongoing spiritual experience. As I began working with others, I found that the excitement of passing on the message and connecting with another human being far outweighed the temporary rush of acting out. God put multiple brothers on my path who allowed me to take them through the Steps quickly in the same way my sponsor did for me. 

I met one brother on an international SA group chat, and it turned out that he lived only a few minutes away from me! I met with him in person multiple times to work the Steps and he became a strength to me in my recovery. Meeting other sponsees both in person and on Zoom helped me to create the fellowship and connection I craved.

Another miracle happened about a year after I met my sponsor. I had the idea that I should plan a trip to visit him and attend my home group in person, even though I had only attended this group online. I was nervous about flying to another state to attend an SA meeting I had never attended in person, but I decided to go ahead, trusting my Higher Power that things would work out. 

The trip was a success! I enjoyed meeting my sponsor and spending time with him in person, as well as meeting many other brothers whom I had only met online. On the day I visited, there was a special speaker meeting planned where three names would be chosen to share their experience with the group. I submitted my name to be drawn, and I happened to be chosen as one of the speakers! That was another evidence of my Higher Power’s love for me. I was so grateful for the chance to share my story and feel the support and love of my recovery brothers in person.

My first meeting with my sponsor over the phone, as well as my trip to meet him in person are just a few of the many miracles that have happened through the SA program. Even though I am an imperfect sponsor, I am learning that my Higher Power’s love is not limited by my imperfections. I am learning that God is in charge of healing others, and it is not my job to fix my sponsees or worry about controlling the outcomes of my efforts to carry the message of recovery. 

The love I felt from God during that first phone call with my sponsor continues to multiply as I sponsor and love others. It’s funny how God has a way of inspiring me to say things to my sponsees that I need to hear myself. I feel God’s love the most when I am focused on helping others to feel His love. Just like Dr. Bob shares in the Big Book, I am learning that every time I try to help someone else in the program, “I take out a little more insurance for myself against a possible slip” (AA 181).

Zac A., Utah, USA

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