CoDA Australia

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Sponsorship

What is Sponsorship?


It is suggested that members of CoDA work the 12 Steps in order to start the process of recovery from Co-Dependent behaviours.  A Sponsor is someone who has previously worked the 12 Steps and can guide us through the CoDA 12 Steps in the way that they were shown by their Sponsor or with their Co-Sponsor.


Their role is to pass on their experience, strength and hope in working the 12 Steps.  They can also help by being an objective voice to help gain insight into co-dependent behaviour and offer a source of identification, support and encouragement.  The Sponsor/Sponsee relationship offers a space for open, honest communication that is free of judgement.  The Sponsor/ Sponsee relationship can be particularly rewarding for both parties and is helpful in setting the blueprint for managing all relationships.


However these are ‘suggestions’ only, based on our own experience of working the CoDA steps and what worked for us.  The sponsor and sponsee are encouraged to work out their own individual framework for the relationship.  These are intended only as guidelines to facilitate the journey of recovery.  The decision to put any of these into practice is between the individual and their own higher power.



Who can Sponsor?


1. A member of CoDA may consider sponsoring if they are working the CoDA 12 Steps and attending meetings.  It is difficult to give away what we have if we aren’t working the CoDA program.

2. A member of CoDA who has already completed up to a certain step with their Sponsor may consider sponsoring a newcomer up to that step as they will have valuable experience to pass on.

3. If it is difficult to find a Sponsor, co-sponsorship with another member of CoDA with a similar recovery period can be considered.



The Sponsors Role


1. The role of Sponsor is to pass on ‘suggestions’ and their own experience of working 'The First 14 Days' and CoDA 12 Steps in accordance with the CoDA Book and/or CoDA Step Workbook.

2. Availability: by becoming a Sponsor we are committing to being available to the Sponsee on the phone and in person to give guidance on the Steps.

3. Commitment: in principle the sponsor commits to being available to work through all the 12 CoDA steps.

4. Setting/Respecting Boundaries; It is suggested to agree with the Sponsee when is a suitable time to call to check in and an amount of time per week to meet to work the Steps e.g. once a week for an hour.

5. Control: it is helpful to be aware of not becoming controlling or dominant with a Sponsee.

6. Advice: as Sponsors we are reminded not to give advice, instead we may make ‘suggestions’ and share our own experience.

7. Honesty: as a Sponsor we offer our honesty and objectivity in a safe and respectful manner.

8. Enmeshment: it is helpful to remember the sharing guidelines, using ‘I’ statements and sharing about our own experiences as much as possible.

9. Guidance: It is suggested that Sponsors have their own Sponsor with whom they can discuss any sponsorship issues that arise.

10. It is suggested that women seek out female sponsors and men seek out male sponsors where possible.

11. The role of Sponsor/ Sponsee is one that is a partnership that needs to meet the needs of both the Sponsor and Sponsee.

12. It is up to each individual to decide how many sponsees they can take through the steps at any given time.  We are reminded to pay attention to giving each sponsee the time required to work the steps fully and to consider if we are taking on too much responsibility.



The Sponsee Role


1. Willingness: before working the Steps it is important to ask ourselves if we are willing to go to any lengths to recover from Co-Dependency and if we are ready to change?

2. Responsibility: it is suggested that the Sponsee takes the initiative and responsibility for their own progress through the Steps.

3. Dependency: it is important to be aware of becoming too dependent or enmeshed with a Sponsor or making them into our Higher Power.  The Sponsor is not a counsellor and is only there to give guidance and pass on their experience and suggestions on how to work the Steps.

4. Commitment: by becoming a Sponsee we are committing to calling our Sponsor and meeting in person to receive guidance on working through all the 12 CoDA Steps.

5. Setting/Respecting Boundaries: it is suggested to agree when is a suitable time to call to check in and an amount of time per week that works for both, to meet to work the Steps e.g once a week for an hour .

6. Trust: It is suggested that the Sponsee is willing to follow and be open to the suggestions of the Sponsor on how to work the Steps.

7. The role of Sponsor/ Sponsee is one that is a partnership that needs to meet the needs of both the Sponsor and Sponsee.

8. It is suggested to have just 1 sponsor at any given time.



Co-Sponsorship


1. Two CoDA members with similar recovery times may decide to Sponsor each other through the 12 CoDA Steps. This may work particularly well for members that have already been in recovery for some time and who are comfortable with the concept of sponsorship or in areas where there are few people available for sponsorship..

2. It is suggested that the sections on being a Sponsor and Sponsee are read by both Co-Sponsors.

3. Both Co-Sponsors are able to share with each other what they are learning from working the Steps and may discover that each member has some answers within.

4. Each Co-Sponsor may wish to take it in turns to call and to share, making it clear whose role is whose at the start of the conversation.

5. As in Individual Sponsorship boundaries need to be maintained, but because both parties are establishing them at the same time it may flow more smoothly. Strength and focus are still needed, nevertheless, to deal with the discomfort of raising controversial issues and to maintain boundaries as necessary.

6. Co-Sponsors may find that they need to set aside specific time to work the Steps in depth.



How to Choose a Sponsor


1. We feel it is important to choose a Sponsor whose recovery we aspire to and identify with.

2. It is suggested to pick a member who is working the 12 Steps in CoDA.

3. Go to as many meetings as possible and listen out for members with a good period of recovery who attend meetings regularly.

4. We ask for numbers of members whose recovery we identify with.

5. We attend meetings for a period of time in order to get to know the members and their style of recovery.

6. Once we feel ready we can ask the particular member if they are available to sponsor us through the Steps.

7. It is also an option to ask a member for ‘temporary’ sponsorship to assess compatibility for a sponsor/sponsee partnership.

8. It is suggested that women seek out female sponsors and men seek out male sponsors where possible.

9. It is suggested that the Sponsor chosen also has their own Sponsor to give them guidance through the sponsorship process.

10. Although our Sponsor is our main point of contact for working the 12 Steps, it is useful to remember that they do not need to be our sole point of contact outside meetings.  Members are encouraged to form a network of other CoDA members in order to offer each other support outside of meetings.



How to find a Sponsor


1. Home Group – find a regular Home group (one that we attend weekly) and attend that meeting regularly to get to know fellow members.

2. Meetings – try to get to several meetings a week to hear different types of recovery and widen the possibility of finding a suitable sponsor.

3. Networking – ask for the numbers of those whose sharing and recovery we identify with or aspire to, and then call them.

4. Some meetings will ask people who are available to sponsor to identify themselves at a point of the meeting.



Changing Sponsors


1. It is important to remember that Sponsorship is a partnership that needs to meet the needs of both the Sponsor and Sponsee.

2. It is helpful to ask ourselves first if we are experiencing any co-dependency issues as a result of working the steps that has created some temporary discord. Often it is helpful to share how we feel with our Sponsor and other members or to sit with the situation for a short period before taking any action as our experience tells us that this often passes.

3. It is possible that the Sponsor we have chosen may not fit our changing needs; we may have picked someone with patterns that mirror our childhood, their or our situation may have changed or we may become uncomfortable with their style of working the steps. If we would like to change our Sponsor it is suggested that we let them know in a respectful manner that is safe for us, that we would like to end the Sponsorship relationship. This can be a positive experience in learning how to communicate our needs in a healthy way.



Changing Sponsees


1. It is important to remember that Sponsorship is a partnership that needs to meet the needs of both the Sponsor and Sponsee.

2. It is helpful to ask ourselves first if we are experiencing any co-dependency issues as a Sponsor as a result of working the steps that has created some temporary discord. Often it is helpful to share how we feel with our own Sponsor and other members or to sit with the situation for a short period before taking any action as our experience tells us that this often passes.

3. It is possible that a Sponsee may no longer be working the Steps, may be avoiding calls/meetings or perhaps not following our suggestions – if we would like to end the Sponsorship relationship it is suggested that we let them know in a respectful manner that is safe for us. This can be a positive experience in learning how to communicate our needs in a healthy way.