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Sponsorship Book Study

This Sponsorship Book Study focused its efforts on two documents:

  1. Co-Dependents Anonymous (2018) The CSC 30 Questions. 

  2. Co-Dependents Anonymous (2019) Sponsorship: What’s In it for Me? 



Our January 6, 2022 study of The CSC 30 Questions,  by Co-Dependents Anonymous (2018), produced the following: 


Sponsors remain objective and detached from feeling responsible for the happiness or recovery of others. They refrain from acting abusively, critically, or controlling. They do not fix, rescue, perform therapy, or manipulate others for their personal gain. Sponsors are role models for recovery, sources of loving support, and maintain respect for the anonymity and individual pace of others working the program.


  • I will contemplate each question and my answer for at least 24 hours. 

  • I will share as a Twelve Step “guide,” not as a "friend" or "Higher Power"-

  • Some Sponsors try to stay within the CoDA Framework, which means staying within the five categories of healthy coda patterns and characteristics. 

  • It is a good idea for sponsors to keep their recovery sharing about them, not giving advice. 

  • It is a good idea for new attendees to come to six meetings before deciding if CoDA was for them or asking for a sponsor.     

  • If someone is attracted to a person’s recovery, then that might be someone to consider asking to sponsor them. 

  • It might be possible to get a temporary sponsor. 

  • Co-sponsoring will require a proper setting of boundaries to avoid role confusion (friendship, teaching and therapy) and boundary violations.




The remainder of our time was spent studying the document, Sponsorship: What’s In it for Me? 

By Co-Dependents Anonymous (2019), which produced the following:         


Questions Potential Sponsees Ask:


  • “Gently discover patterns of behavior that have been creating havoc in our lives.” It is a gentle process for both. Sponsor needs patience as they are going to self disclose at their own rate. They will do their stepwork at their own pace. Gently implies that it is a no pressure situation.

  • Being in a relationship with a sponsor allows us to practice being in a relationship with someone we feel safe with.  

  • We are permitting someone to get to know us through self disclosure. We not only allow someone to begin to get to know us, but we get to know ourselves, take down the barriers. 

  • Unmanageable or difficult relationships - many have this background. Now we can learn how to be a friend, how to be in a work relationship, and a love relationship. We build trust and learn to be vulnerable with each other. 


How do we find sponsors? 

  • A person doesn’t have to have gone through all of the steps to be a sponsor, they just need to be one step ahead of their sponsee. This can be a great motivator for doing stepwork.

  • Boundaries - pick someone with good boundaries. 

  • Look for someone who has what you want and ask them how they got it. 

  • You can also ask the person if they are working the steps and traditions? 

  • Sponsors can model good boundaries. 

  • If we ask someone to be our sponsor and they say no, that can be empowering. The person is honest and taking care of themselves. 


What do we look for in sponsors? 

  • Different sponsors have different styles. Is it okay to sponsor different sponsees in different ways? This can be a gentle approach. We can adjust to what their needs are. 

  • This is an individual thing between sponsor and sponsee. “These are my needs, what are your needs? Can we match them?” 

  • Some sponsor relationships do daily communication and work, some weekly, etc. 

  • You can do questions one at a time, answer how it relates to your life, then read it to your sponsor. 

  • Sponsorship has a give and take. There is no right answer. Relationships evolve. 


What are the sponsee’s responsibilities? 

  • The sponsor is not in charge. The sponsee is in charge with Higher Power. 

  • All of the sponsees rights are important (p.12).  This is a mature relationship. Sponsor/Sponsee relationship is a practice relationship. Sponsor does have a somewhat leadership role as they have been through the steps before. This is a relationship of equals. We learn from each other. 

  • Sponsee has work to do. They have to put in their time, thoughts and work in order to get the results they are looking for. 

  • Sponsor has experience. There is a give and take in the relationship with the sponsee, but the sponsor does serve as a guide out of previous experience. 

  • Program allows people to practice new behaviors in this safe environment and then we can take them out into the world with other relationships. We learn by example. 


The Sponsors Perspective:


  • Sponsoring brings to light perhaps our problem areas such as boundaries, making decisions, making commitments, and being honest.


Why aren’t there more sponsors? 

  • Because we are codependent. All of the fears we have as codependents are triggered by the thought of becoming a sponsor and triggering our fears. 

  • We do sponsor others because it is one of the greatest gifts we give ourselves. Sometimes we see our codependent traits in others before we see it in ourselves. We all have common themes. Sponsoring enhances our recovery and helps us to work on our program. 

  • By giving to others we are giving ourselves a gift. We give a whole lot but we get more back. 

  • We learn from each other. 

  • We don’t have to answer right away. We can get back to people. 

  • The sponsor/sponsee relationship is one where we can practice being in a healthy relationship without using our codependent trigger/emotional responses. We are less likely to lash out at a sponsor/sponsee than in our close relationships. We can be actors rather than reactors. 


Who can sponsor?

  • It can be someone who is one step ahead of you. 

  • It is important for a sponsor to have a sponsor. We need a safe place to share it. 


"What if we give poor advice?" 


Some good observations were made by group members concerning this, such as:


  • "Some of us have experience with other 12-step programs, which may provide the answers our sponsor needs.  We may have also gleaned some helpful information from webinars, workshops, or educational TV programs."

  • "No need to limit ourselves to just CoDA material, if other sources inspire us."

  • And I really liked this comment: "CoDA is not HP; CoDA does not have all the answers". Bold!!


"What if we say something that angers our sponsees?" 


  • "It's important to not take this personally because their anger probably isn't about me at all."  "Remember boundaries."  

  • "Remember the Serenity Prayer."




Pg. 21

Sponsors don’t give advice.


  • Sometimes it is just how you say something that could make it work for you.

  • When talking to a sponsee one can say “this is what worked for me, this is what didn’t.” Say what worked for them, don’t tell them what to do. We are not therapists. 

  • What works for me today may not work for me tomorrow.

  • CoDA doesn’t have all the answers.


What if we say something that angers our sponsees?


  • Don’t take it personally. We do this by creating, remembering and honoring our boundaries.

  • Don’t bear grudges.

  • Consider keeping an open pathway of communication.

  • Consider consulting with your sponsor about what to do.

  • Remember our boundaries.

  • Say the Serenity Prayer.

  • Remember it is not about you.

  • Consider doing a 12-step inventory around what happened.


Successful Sponsors


When doing the Serenity Prayer, add this to the second verse:


Patience for the changes that take time

Appreciation for all that I have,

Tolerance and compassion for others and for myself

The strength to get up and try again, one day at a time.


  • Consider asking “What do you need from me?” It’s all about communication.

  • Don’t assume we know what is going on with someone.

  • Keep working on the 12 steps and traditions ourselves.

  • Give without expecting something in return.

  • Avoid being overprotective, controlling, manipulative, or too firm.

  • Practice compassion, kindness, patience, and acceptance, not only of our sponsees but also with ourselves.\sponsorship. They have a sponsorship meeting once a Quarter. Check it out.

Get the Coda coloring book.


 Participants found the learning in this study to be very valuable and enlightening. Such a study is recommended to all.  Much gratitude goes out to this wonderful group.

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