In the pamphlet, A Commitment to Abstinence, it says, “A sponsor’s primary function is to share her or his experience, strength and hope with you, answer your questions, listen as you discuss your feelings, and guide you in understanding the Steps.”
Some sponsors formally study the twelve steps with their sponsees by:
- reading together each step from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous,
- having the sponsee answer the corresponding questions from The Twelve-Step Workbook of Overeaters Anonymous, and
- reading and discussing together what the sponsee wrote on the workbook questions.
Others use a different set of questions to get started or use writing topics individualized for the sponsee’s situation. (See Appendix A of “A Guide for Sponsors.”) OA also provides a detailed study approach in its “A Guide to the Twelve Steps for You and Your Sponsor.”
Some sponsees may want extra support with the physical aspect of recovery. They often find it helpful to commit their daily food plan to their sponsor or another OA member. But as the pamphlet explains, “Calling in your food plan is by no means a ‘must.”
Some approaches to sponsoring are very structured while others are more flexible. All tend to encourage use of the twelve steps and nine tools in daily living. The sponsor is a key person in answering their sponsees’ questions and helping them move forward in their program of recovery.
What Does a Sponsor NOT Do?
Although sponsors have different ways of sponsoring, in general, sponsors do not provide professional services. They do not provide:
- diet advice,
- medical advice,
- therapy, or
- legal advice.
Is there More Information on Sponsors?
Sponsorship is detailed in the Overeaters Anonymous has an excellent pamphlet entitled “A Guide for Sponsors” that further details various aspects of the sponsorship relationship including styles of sponsorship and expectations for contact time.
Sponsorship is also described as one of OA’s nine tools in the OA “Tools of Recovery” pamphlet.
Both of these are usually available on the literature table of your local OA meeting.