Usually the question of becoming a sponsor comes up in two ways: our own sponsor indicates that it is time or someone at a meeting asks us to sponsor them.
There are no specific qualifications for sponsorship in OA. Although some members insist sponsors should have completed the first three steps or have completed their step four inventory, there are no such official requirements. There is no special chronological graduation date after working any certain number of steps when members magically become ready to sponsor.
A sponsor is simply one OA member working with another member to better understand and live the Twelve-Step program. There are many different styles of sponsoring. The key to being a sponsor is to share one’s experience, strength, and hope as it relates to OA’s Twelve-Step program. Negotiating expectations between a potential sponsee and sponsor is important for the relationship to be successful.
If you have maintained any length of abstinence and are working the Twelve Steps to the best of your ability, then you have something to share. Being a sponsor, however, is serious work. To support sponsors, Overeaters Anonymous produces a sponsorship packet of inspiring and useful information for sponsors including:
⦁ A Guide for Sponsors pamphlet,
⦁ Sponsoring Through the Twelve Steps pamphlet,
⦁ The Tools of Recovery brochure,
⦁ Excerpts from Lifeline magazine featuring stories about sponsorship,
⦁ Strong Abstinence Checklist,
⦁ Writing Exercise pocket card,
⦁ Twelve Stepping a Problem pocket card, and the
⦁ Abstinence Literature Resource Guide.
If you are considering sponsorship, although not required, it is strongly recommended that you:
a. have a sponsor yourself
b. discuss with your sponsor the possibility of your sponsoring someone
c. read through the OA literature mentioned above
d. discuss with your sponsor specifically any request for sponsorship before saying yes, including your expectations
One way to determine whether you are ready to sponsor may be to ask yourself: “Do I have experience, strength, and hope to share?”