AA Sponsorship | What Do AA Sponsors Do?

AA Sponsorship | What Do AA Sponsors Do?

what do AA sponsors do

While some organizations require you to have a sponsor to join, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) encourages sponsorship as a way to succeed in your recovery from alcohol addiction. It is not a requirement to have a sponsor to participate in AA meetings. AA sponsorship works in a way that is supportive and encouraging. What do AA sponsors do to help you as you progress through your recovery?

Sponsorship from the Start

From its very beginnings, AA as an organization recognized the value of a sponsor, although the word itself was not used right away. Founder Bill W. knew that he needed another alcoholic to talk to when the urge to drink became too strong for him. He reached out to Dr. Bob for support, knowing he was also trying to stop drinking, and together they formed what would be known as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Each of the two founders realized they could safeguard their own sobriety by relying on each other for support. They also realized that by sharing with others, by sponsoring other participants, that their own lives were enriched. They met each other as equals and that tradition continues today with AA sponsorship.

The Process of Sponsorship

Typically, a sponsor is someone who has made some progress in their recovery and who is willing to share their experiences with another individual who is trying to maintain their sobriety, as they recover from an addiction to alcohol, through AA. The process of sponsorship is very informal and can lead to quality, long-term relationships.

The group is always very supportive, of course, and individuals in the group meetings are willing to answer questions. However, there may be questions that arise in between meetings or the individual may find that they need direct support from another individual as they learn how to live a sober life. The person who is relatively new will generally reach out to someone who has been around for a while, usually longer than a year, to ask them to be their sponsor.

Benefits for the Sponsor

Although most people think of sponsorship as helping the one being sponsored, it can also serve to strengthen the experienced member’s sobriety. By sharing and being supportive of another, the member who has been in recovery longer may actually find it easier to live without alcohol. Helping others is a great way to help themselves. It can also give them the satisfaction of knowing that they have some responsibility for another person as they help that person through challenging and difficult times.

What a Sponsor Does Not Do

It is important to understand what a sponsor does not do and does not have responsibility for in regard to their role with AA and with new AA participants. A sponsor does not take another individual’s inventory unless they are asked. They do not impose their personal views on the person they are sponsoring. They don’t pretend to know all the answers or act like they are right all the time. The sponsor does not provide professional services but can act as a guide and a support in helping another individual find the professional assistance they need if requested to do so.

What AA Sponsors Do

Overall, a sponsor’s goal is to do everything reasonable and possible to help the individual they are sponsoring get and stay sober. They will:

  • Encourage the person to attend AA meetings, introducing them to others at the meeting.
  • Make sure they’re aware of all that AA has to offer in terms of support and materials.
  • Emphasize the value of anonymity, in person and in public, including on social media.
  • Demonstrate what it means to have AA in their life.
  • Explain the AA program to the individual’s family members, when necessary and appropriate.
  • Set a positive example by living a sober life.
  • Be available when the individual faces challenges or experiences problems in their recovery from their addiction to alcohol.


When you are addicted to alcohol and need help finding resources for treatment and recovery options, we can help. At Sober Austin, we provide the resources you need to overcome your addiction and move forward with a successful recovery. We also understand that life can be even more challenging during the coronavirus pandemic. The dangers of denial are greater, though, so it’s important to know when it’s time to get help and how to get that help for their addiction. Browse our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to contact us directly by calling (512) 522-7135 or emailing contact@soberaustin.com.