From the June 1989 magazine.

The Challenge of Sponsorship

Right from the start, AA spread simply by one drunk talking to another. Bill W. called on Doctor Bob in 1935 in Akron and AA was born. A physician, Dr. William Silkworth, who had worked intensely with alcoholics, was quick to see the possibilities for growth in this approach. But he was also vocal and emphatic about the physical aspect of our illness. Our bodies are not normal. We are allergic to alcohol. But the promise of recovery, he believed, would be through the simple expedient of one drunk talking to another.

AA has gone through a lot of changes since 1935. Today some people are getting their one-to-one recovery counseling outside the Fellowship from paid professionals. I'm not talking about people who seek professional help for problems other than alcohol. AAs have always done that. What I'm suggesting is that we may in some cases without knowing it be encouraging the use of Twelve Step surrogates. Sponsorship is still an important part of the program. But some interesting changes in the AA population are being reflected in the way that sponsorship gets done or, in some cases, doesn't.

-- Jim N.

W. Springfield, Massachusetts

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!