For those of you new to the terminology tossed around in sober and recovery circles, a sponsor is someone usually found in AA groups, but not always. Their role in AA is to guide a younger (in sober time) member through the 12 steps. But all sponsors can be immensely helpful to a new person in any sobriety group so long as the sponsor has quieted most of their own demons first.
A sponsor is not there to offer permission or approval of a person’s activities. Their role is not to act as a surrogate parent. They’re mentors. And good sponsors have very underlined boundaries. A good sponsor doesn’t cross the sponsor/mentor – sponsee relationship and they don’t allow the sponsee to cross it either. They don’t become friends. This isn’t to say they can’t become close.
I was very close with my sponsor and I went to her for her opinions and guidance when I felt utterly stuck over something important. I didn’t run to her for help with basic everyday dilemmas or just to chit chat about the lapping of waves and whatnot. The woman had a life and I was respectful of that.
It is also my experience that the sponsor – sponsee relationship is not meant to or supposed to last. At some point the sponsor has to cut the umbilical. Just like the parent who has to set their teenager free after graduation from high school. We, as newly unpickled creatures, must be set free so that we can test the strength of our new sober wings.