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Audio Version 

My name is Lisa F and I am a very grateful and apparently very hungry recovering alcoholic.  I say this because I was with my sponsor yesterday evening and that's what she called me.  And she is right; I'm hungry for everything to do with recovery and AA because it has utterly transformed my life in every way.

I am eight years’ sober and I have been with my current sponsor for almost five years.  She inherited me because my first sponsor was planning to emigrate so I had to have a new one.  The first two or three years we worked together were partly about us bonding (very important) and also these were very formative years for me personality wise; my evolution at that time was quite steep as was the learning curve that went with it.  So we spent a lot of time walking together through my growth and pain.  I had already formally been through the 12 Steps with my previous sponsor and didn't feel the need to revisit them.  It is recommended that we have a sponsor always in AA regardless of how long sober we are but what exactly do you do together if not the Steps?  The main function of a good sponsor as I understand it is to take the newer member through the 12 Steps of AA; but what happens next?

My sponsor is more than 25 years’ sober and has pretty much done every kind of service there is in AA.  We still meet up with great discipline every month and as time goes by I feel the need less and less to burden her with how difficult everything is because actually I seem to have gone past that stage – for now! So about 18 months ago I asked her if we could use our time together by going through the 12 Traditions.  When I say “going through” I do mean by using the literature (the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions and also the beautiful Language of the Heart) but also I wanted her to share with me her experiences around each Tradition.  And she has many.  Sharing experience for me is one the greatest teaching tools we have in AA; to me it is more powerful than what most people understand by the word ‘teaching’.

It took us almost 18 months to get through all 12 but her experiences around each one helped me to gain a deeper understanding of how and why each Tradition works in our beloved Fellowship.  I was almost a bit sad when we finished but I decided that she has so much valuable and precious experience to share that I wanted more of it, so I asked her to take me through the 12 Concepts too and we began with Concept 1 last night.  To many, including me, the Concepts are these mysterious complicated principles that are well beyond our comprehension but in my recovery I've learned the best way to remove an inaccessible mystery is to get stuck in and learn about it! It turns out actually they are not that complicated, imagine my surprise....we ended our session last night with both of us feeling very invigorated and she told me that no-one had ever asked her to go through the Concepts before.  It struck me what a waste this is; I bet most of you would probably know at least one person in your area that has some knowledge they could share...why not ask them? You might surprise yourself with how interesting it is.  That is certainly my experience so far.

I feel very blessed and privileged to have a fabulous sponsor that not only has this wealth of experience but is also fully prepared to give up her time to share it with me.  She inspires me to be a better person and leads by beautiful example around how to be a good sponsor.

Having rock solid sponsorship has always been one of the absolute mainstays of my recovery and it is a very unique and special type of relationship. When I first joined AA someone gave me a great piece of advice around looking for a sponsor - “look for someone who seems to have the kind of recovery you would like for yourself”. Wise words.

Love in Fellowship,