1. Health

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

Worst Ways To Handle Conflict

This article is written by Donna Thompson, publisher of Challenges, in which she writes her featured column, Get A Life®. A publication for people in recovery and their families.

Sponsor? What's that?

"Huh? Sponsor? What's that?" What were these Al-Anoners talking about? Was there something else I needed to join in addition to Al-Anon and someone needed to sponsor me for membership, vouch that I didn't eat peas with my knife?

Through her coaching and example, I integrated the Twelve Steps into my life.

Once I calmed down (not necessarily the easiest accomplishment for a stressed-out wife of an active, off-the-wall drunk who had yet to acknowledge he was, indeed, an alcoholic), I learned that a sponsor was a trusted confidante, someone I could unburden myself to between meetings, and know that whatever I said would go no further.

I believe I made a couple of mistakes during my first months in Al-Anon (modesty prevents me from admitting to more! ). First, I didn't latch on formally to even a temporary sponsor, although I did use a new friend at the other end of the state as a sounding board and received good feedback from her because she already had a few years in Al-Anon and a lot more therapy than I. Second, I stayed away from meetings that focused on the Twelve Steps because some old-timers had said to.

Six months into Al-Anon, I began my sponsor search. By then I was listening to what my inner voice was saying, consequently my over-reaching guideline for a sponsor was that she should have weathered experiences similar to mine, done her Al-Anon work, and come out on the other side. She must be someone I could respect and trust with my innermost thoughts.

There for me

I chose Grace. We burned up the wires. After a year or so, when I'd refer to her as my sponsor, she'd say, "Who's sponsoring who?" For six, intense years, she was a spiritual anchor for me. . She asked leading questions. She helped me sort through issues. Sometimes she brought me up short; most times, she validated me. She also laughed at my jokes. Grace was there for me -- through thick and thin.

Through her coaching and example, I integrated the Twelve Steps into my life. When others honored me by asking me to be their sponsor, I was prepared -- thanks to Grace.

She was not pleased when after eight years I stopped attending Al-Anon. "You have so much to give," she'd scold in her gentle way. I chose a different venue -- publishing, sharing what I've learned and reprinting the wisdom of others.

Last week Grace and I celebrated our day-apart birthdays with our annual one-on-one luncheon date. We talked non-stop for three hours. I marveled that 15 years ago when I was hurting and confused, I was guided to this truly good person.

So, what's a sponsor? My answer is: Grace.

More from Donna
Previous guest columns written by Donna Thompson for the Alcoholism site.

As always, your comments or questions are welcomed. If you would like to receive a very short and FREE newsletter about updates to this site and other news, just send a note to Buddy T.

More Guest Columns
Previous Features

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.