| print this
- by Clarence S.
is the first pamphlet ever written concerning sponsorship.
It was written by Clarence H. S. in early 1944. Its original
title was to be "A.A. Sponsorship...Its Obligations
and Its Responsibilities." It was printed by the Cleveland
Central Committee under the title: "A.A. Sponsorship...
Its Opportunities and Its Responsibilities."
member of Alcoholics Anonymous is a potential sponsor of
a new member and should clearly recognize the obligations
and duties of such responsibility.
acceptance of an opportunity to take the A.A. plan to a
sufferer of alcoholism entails very real and critically
important responsibilities. Each member, undertaking the
sponsorship of a fellow alcoholic, must remember that he
is offering what is frequently the last chance of rehabilitation,
sanity or maybe life itself.
Health, Security, Sanity and Life of human beings are the
things we hold in balance when we sponsor an alcoholic.
member among us is wise enough to develop a sponsorship
program that can be successfully applied in every case.
In the following pages, however, we have outlined a suggested
procedure, which supplemented by the member's own experience,
has proven successful.
GAINS OF BEING A SPONSOR
one reaps full benefit from any fellowship he is connected
with unless he whole-heartedly engages in its important
activities. The expansion of Alcoholics Anonymous to wider
fields of greater benefit to more people results directly
from the addition of new, worth-while members or associates.
A.A. who has not experienced the joys and satisfaction of
helping another alcoholic regain his place in life has not
yet fully realized the complete benefits of this fellowship.
On the other hand, it must be clearly kept in mind that
the only possible reason for bringing an alcoholic into
A.A. is for that person's gain. Sponsorship should never
be undertaken to -
Increase the size of the group
2. For personal satisfaction and glory
3. Because the sponsor feels it his duty to re-make the
an individual has assumed the responsibility of setting
a shaking, helpless human being back on the path toward
becoming a healthy useful, happy member of society, he has
not enjoyed the complete thrill of being an A.A.
people have among their own friends and acquaintances someone
who would benefit from our teachings. Others have names
given to them by their church, by their doctor, by their
employer, or by some other member, who cannot make a direct
of the wide range of the A.A. activities, the names often
come from unusual and unexpected places.
These cases should be contacted as soon as all facts such
as: marital status, domestic relations, financial status,
drink habits, employment status and others readily obtainable
are at hand.
THE PROSPECT A CANDIDATE?
time and effort can be saved by learning as soon as possible
The man* really has a drinking problem?
2. Does he know he has a problem?
3. Does he want to do something about his drinking?
4. Does he want help?
masculine form is used throughout for simplicity, although
it is intended to include women as well.
the answers to these questions cannot be made until the
prospect has had some A.A. instruction, and an opportunity
to think. Often we are given names, which upon investigation,
show the prospect is in no sense an alcoholic, or is satisfied
with his present plan of living. We should not hesitate
to drop these names from our lists. Be sure, however, to
let the man know where he can reach us at a later date.
SHOULD BECOME MEMBERS?
is a fellowship of men and women bound together by their
inability to use alcohol in any form sensibly, or with profit
or pleasure. Obviously, any new members introduced should
be the same kind of people, suffering from the same disease.
people can drink reasonably, but we are only interested
in those who cannot. Party drinkers, social drinkers, celebrators,
and others who continue to have more pleasure than pain
from their drinking, are of no interest to us.
some instances an individual might believe himself to be
a social drinker when he definitely is an alcoholic. In
many such cases more time must pass before that person is
ready to accept our program. Rushing such a man before he
is ready might ruin his chances of ever becoming a successful
A.A. Do not ever deny future help by pushing too hard in
people, although definitely alcoholic, have no desire or
ambition to better their way of living, and until they do........
A.A. has nothing to offer them.
has shown that age, intelligence, education, background,
or the amount of liquor drunk, has little, if any, bearing
on whether or not the person is an alcoholic.
many cases a man's physical condition is such that he should
be placed in a hospital, if at all possible. Many A.A. members
believe hospitalization, with ample time for the prospect
to think and plan his future, free from domestic and business
worries, offers distinct advantage. In many cases the hospitalization
period marks the beginning of a new life. Other members
are equally confident that any man who desires to learn
the A.A. plan for living can do it in his own home or while
engaged in normal occupation. Thousands of cases are treated
in each manner and have proved satisfactory.
following paragraphs outline a suggested procedure for presenting
the A.A. plan to the prospect, at home or in the hospital.
AS AN ALCOHOLIC*
In calling upon a new prospect, it has been found best
to qualify oneself as an ordinary person who has found
happiness, contentment, and peace of mind through A.A.
Immediately make it clear to the prospect that you are
a person engaged in the routine business of earning a
living. Tell him your only reason for believing yourself
able to help him is because you yourself are an alcoholic
and have had experiences and problems that might be similar
Many members have found it desirable to launch immediately
into their personal drinking story, as a means of getting
the confidence and whole-hearted co-operation of the prospect.
is important in telling the story of your drinking life
to tell it in a manner that will describe an alcoholic,
rather than a series of humorous drunken parties. this will
enable the man to get a clear picture of an alcoholic which
should help him to more definitely decide whether he is
CONFIDENCE IN A.A.*
In many instances the prospect will have tried various
means of controlling his drinking, including hobbies,
church, changes of residence, change of associations,
and various control plans. These will, of course, have
been unsuccessful. Point out your series of unsuccessful
efforts to control drinking...their absolute fruitless
results and yet that you were able to stop drinking through
application of A.A. principles. This will encourage the
prospect to look forward with confidence to sobriety in
A.A. in spite of the many past failures he might have
had with other plans.
ABOUT "PLUS" VALUES*
Tell the prospect frankly that he can not quickly understand
all the benefits that are coming to him through A.A..
Tell him of the happiness, peace of mind, health, and
in many cases, material benefits which are possible through
understanding and application of the A.A. way of life.
IMPORTANCE OF READING BOOK*
Explain the necessity of reading and re-reading the A.A.
book. Point out that this book gives a detailed description
of the A.A. tools and the suggested methods of application
of these tools to build a foundation of rehabilitation
for living. This is a good time to emphasize the importance
of the twelve steps and the four absolutes.
REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS IN A.A.*
Convey to the prospect that the objectives of A.A. are
to provide the ways and means for an alcoholic to regain
his normal place in life. Desire, patience, faith, study
and application are most important in determining each
individual's plan of action in gaining full benefits of
Since the belief of a Power greater than oneself is the
heart of the A.A. plan, and since this idea is very often
difficult for a new man, the sponsor should attempt to
introduce the beginnings of an understanding of this all-important
this can be done by the sponsor relating his own difficulty
in grasping a spiritual understanding and the methods he
used to overcome his difficulties.
TO HIS STORY*
While talking to the newcomer, take time to listen and
study his reactions in order that you can present your
information in a more effective manner. Let him talk too.
Remember...Easy Does It.
TO SEVERAL MEETINGS*
To give the new member a broad and complete picture of
A.A., the sponsor should take him to various meetings
within convenient distance of his home. Attending several
meetings gives a new man a chance to select a group in
which he will be most happy and comfortable, and it is
extremely important to let the prospect make his own decision
as to which group he will join. Impress upon him that
he is always welcome at any meeting and can change his
home group if he so wishes.
A.A. TO PROSPECT'S FAMILY*
A successful sponsor takes pains and makes any required
effort to make certain that those people closest and with
the greatest interest in their prospect (mother, father,
wife, etc.) are fully informed of A.A., its principles
and its objectives. The sponsor sees that these people
are invited to meetings, and keeps them in touch with
the current situation regarding the prospect at all times.
PROSPECT ANTICIPATE HOSPITAL EXPERIENCE*
A prospect will gain more benefit from a hospitalization
period if the sponsor describes the experience and helps
him anticipate it, paving the way for those members who
will call on him.
OLDER MEMBERS IN A.A.*
suggestions for sponsoring a new man in A.A. teachings are
by no means complete. They are intended only for a framework
and general guide. Each individual case is different and
should be treated as such. Additional information for sponsoring
a new man can be obtained from the experience of older men
in the work. A co-sponsor, with an experienced and newer
member working on a prospect, has proven very satisfactory.
Before undertaking the responsibility of sponsoring, a member
should make certain that he is able and prepared to give
the time, effort, and thought such an obligation entails.
It might be that he will want to select a co-sponsor to
share the responsibility, or he might feel it necessary
to ask another to assume the responsibility for the man
he has located.
YOU ARE GOING TO BE A SPONSOR...BE A GOOD ONE!
(* These headings were not in the original draft for
this pamphlet. They were added for the first, and subsequent