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Taking your sponsee through the 12-steps
Taking a sponsee through the 12-steps has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in sobriety for me. I feel privileged to walk another woman through the process that saved my life. Every sponsor has a slightly different way of taking another woman through the steps. Some go through the Big Book of AA, page by page, others prefer a “quick step” method. I’m not sure how Narcotics Anonymous does it; I have no experience with NA, but I believe they have a workbook for step work.
Before starting my steps, my sponsor asked me two questions:
1. Are you willing to go to any lengths for your sobriety?
2. When we are finished, are you willing to take other women through the steps?
These are the same questions I ask my sponsees when taking them through 12-steps. The first indicates a willingness to commit to sobriety and take the action needed to stay sober. The second question is important because we cannot keep what we have unless we give it away. If an alcoholic isn’t willing to share the solution once they go through the steps, they have little chance in staying sober.
Before I take a sponsee through the 12-steps, I ask them to read the Doctor’s Opinion. The Doctor’s Opinion lays out exactly what alcoholism is; the three part illness-the physical allergy, the mental obsession, the spiritual malady. This is important because it defines the disease of alcoholism.
Again, every sponsor takes a sponsee through the 12-steps, but everyone does it a little differently. It was explained to me that the first three steps were “commitment steps.” They were decisions. They were my pledge to finish the rest of the work. I didn’t have a tough time with the idea of a higher power, but a lot of alcoholics do. The chapter “We Agnostics” can be very helpful in these situations.
There is always a lot of trepidation when I am taking a sponsee through the 12 steps when we get to the fourth step- the moral inventory. In my experience, the dread before doing a fourth step is much worse than the actual step. I did a lot of things in my addiction, a lot of terrible, risky, and time-consuming things for my drugs when I was using. How bad could it be to simply sit down and write a list of my resentments, fears, and harmful sexual behavior? And that’s what I ask my sponsees when I take them through 12-steps. We go over the moral inventory for the fifth.
Six and seven are pretty short, and then we put pen to paper again for the 8th. Writing down the people I had harmed and how. For nine, my sponsor told me which amends to make, and which to wait on. There were plenty that I will never make directly. My amends to those people are simply living amends, living my life according to spiritual principles and trying to not ever harm anyone else the way I harmed them.
Ten, eleven, and twelve are the maintenance steps. These are the steps I work every day to maintain my sobriety.
There is much more involved when taking a sponsee through the 12-steps, this is a very brief overview. But to truly know how to take a sponsee through the 12-steps, you must go through them yourself.