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The Tool of Sponsorship

To help us achieve and maintain abstinence: "the action of refraining from compulsive eating," OA, our program of recovery, encourages us to use its "tools of recovery" regularly. As compulsive eaters, we have found that we cannot abstain from compulsive eating unless we use some, or all, of these tools.One of our program's tools is sponsorship.

"Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one [compulsive overeater] talks with another [compulsive overeater], sharing experience strength, and hope." (Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book p. xxii, 4th Edition)


What is a Sponsor?

As stated in Tradition Five, carrying the message of recovery "to the compulsive overeater who still suffers" is every OA group's "primary purpose." A sponsor is an OA member who shares this message - and her or his own program of recovery - on an ongoing, individual basis with another member called a sponsoree or a sponsee.

"To keep our program, we have to give it away." Through sponsorship, the meaning of this statement becomes clear. It is in the sharing of our experience, strength and hope that we renew and reaffirm our own recovery. We realize that the greatest benefit - and the greatest joy - is reaching out . . . "doing together what we could never do alone."

Serving as a sponsor reinforces our physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. It also provides an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with others and with our Higher Power. Sponsoring stops us isolating and teaches us how to be supportive of other human beings seeking recovery.

Sponsoring keeps us in touch with what brought us to the program and can also remind us where we might return. As we give back what we've been given, we strengthen our group and the Fellowship as a whole. OA needs sponsors, and sponsoring is a privilege to be shared by as many as possible.

As sponsors we listen, support, and understand. A sponsor/sponsee relationship, as it deepens in honesty, may evolve into a lasting friendship. It is important to know, however, that a sponsor's role is not one of therapist, doctor, lawyer or other professional.

Be honest. Be clear about your expectations. Be accepting and not judgmental. Seek help from your own sponsor and from other members. No sponsor is perfect. Sponsoring is a rewarding experience that will benefit both the sponsee's recovery and your own.

Seek help from your Higher Power in your decision to sponsor and remember...

"I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams." (Rozanne's Prayer)

Overeaters Anonymous publishes a brochure entitled, "A Guide for Sponsors: Why, When and How to be an OA Sponsor." Provided in it are topics such as: