The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a major part of most people’s recovery journeys. The 12 step program has been extremely instrumental in helping millions of men and women who had been suffering at the hands of substance abuse and dependency go on to lead healthy, sober, and productive lives. The program was first developed in the mid-30s, and since then, the majority of inpatient treatment programs across the country have relied heavily on 12 step immersion. At Evoke Wellness, Florida, the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a major component of our comprehensive recovery program. Not only do we mandate 12 step program involvement, but we educate our clients thoroughly on the importance of working through the steps, and our program of clinical and therapeutic care is based on the 12 coinciding principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. When it comes to working through the 12 steps, our clients are encouraged to do so with a sponsor – a man or woman who has been through the 12 steps themselves and who has ample sober time.
Is Twelve Step Sponsorship a Myth?
When it comes to working through the steps with a sponsor, the consensus is that sponsorship is a fundamental part of the overall program. However, numerous people believe that sponsorship is not necessary and that the 12 steps can be worked on an individual basis. Which is the right way to go about things? We believe that sponsorship is purely beneficial – for numerous reasons. However, we will take a look at both sides of the argument. Some believe that sponsorship is not necessary and that people can and should work through the 12 steps on their own. Those who enter into AA or any other 12 step program will be told to get a sponsor straight away. They will be instructed to call their sponsor every night and begin working through the 12 steps with their sponsor as quickly as possible. However, it is true that nowhere in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous does it mention getting a sponsor. This is an argument that many people make – if sponsorship was necessary, the Big Book would at least mention it. However, in the Grapevine – a literary magazine that revolves solely around AA, Bill W. (the founding father of the program itself) writes:
Though three hundred thousand have recovered in the last twenty-five years, maybe half a million more have walked into our midst, and then out again. We can’t well content ourselves with the view that all these recovery failures were entirely the fault of the newcomers themselves. Perhaps a great many didn’t receive the kind and amount of sponsorship they so sorely needed. We didn’t communicate when we might have done so. So we AA’s failed them.
There is a major difference between poor sponsorship and a lack of sponsorship altogether.
Why We Believe Sponsorship is Necessary
At Evoke Wellness at Miramar, we sincerely believe that sponsorship is a necessary part of every successful 12 step program. Without ongoing guidance and support, individuals are less likely to stay on track and remain accountable. We teach every one of our clients what to look for in a sponsor so that they make a wise decision and end up working through the steps with someone who has years of stable sobriety (and hopefully many other things in common). We teach our clients to listen to other people to share their stories at AA meetings and approach people they can relate to after the meeting to speak one-on-one and gain some further insight. Not only will a sponsor ultimately act as a role model, but he or she will help teach the ins and outs of healthy, functional interpersonal relationships. Communication will be taught and learned, accountability will be maintained and long-term sobriety will ultimately be attained. If you are interested in learning more about AA or sponsorship or learning more about our comprehensive program of addiction recovery, we are standing by around the clock to answer any questions you may have.