What Is Sponsorship?
Sponsorship is the process by which a recovering food addict (sponsor) helps another food addict (sponsee) to recover from the disease of food addiction. The following questions and answers will help you understand the importance of having and being a sponsor.
What is a sponsor?
An FAA sponsor is a food addict in recovery. It is suggested that a sponsor be abstinent from addictive substances for some time and be willing to carry the message of recovery from food addiction. A sponsor is a food addict who realizes the impact of the disease.
Because a sponsor has been active in the disease of food addiction, they understand what it is like to be obsessed with the disease morning, noon and night. They have heard or experienced many of the horror stories related to food addiction and know that the disease is always with them and they are just one bite away from losing their abstinence and all they have worked for.
A sponsor has a good knowledge of the food plan. They know their own limitations and know when they need to ask their own sponsor for assistance and when to recommend other assistance for a sponsee.
A sponsor is a recovering food addict who works the 12 Steps to Recovery on a daily basis. They integrate the Steps into their own life and are willing share their journey with another food addict. A sponsor serves as guide, mentor, a source of support and example. A sponsor is not judge, dictator, substitute parent, therapist, doctor, marriage counselor or social contact.
Sponsorship is the means by which those who have discovered the path of recovery from the prison of food addiction work the Twelfth Step by passing along to others the solution that was shared with them.
How do I choose a sponsor?
How can one tell if someone has been working the 12 Steps to recovery? There will be a special look in their eyes and a special quality in their voice. If you cannot see or hear them because the only access you have is e-mail, you may somehow feel a special quality in their writing. There is a serenity and love that comes through what they say and do. A sponsor can be a tough person, but they still have that something special that you, as a newcomer, would want. If you want what they have, you need to do what they have done.
When a newcomer is ready, he or she will ask someone to be his or her sponsor and to show them what they did to get where they are in their journey in recovery. You may have to ask two or more people before you find someone who is willing to be your sponsor. Do not take it personally. You have done it once and you can do it again. Ask someone else. After you have found someone who has what you want and you have asked him or her to sponsor you, exchange phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses. Make a commitment to your sponsor that you will contact them on a specific schedule.
A newcomer needs to understand that their sponsor will not be horrified if they learn the newcomer eats until they vomit – or eats from garbage cans – or uses laxatives – or exercises until every bone in their body hurts, just so they can eat more. The newcomer needs to know that their sponsor will not be shocked if they say they have starved their body of nutrients or starved their body of any food. This disease comes in all shapes and sizes. The sponsor needs to be approachable and trustworthy. Any subjects discussed between sponsor and sponsee are confidential. Anonymity is the foundation of this program.
What can a newcomer expect from a sponsor?
A newcomer can expect a sponsor to be willing to share experience, strength and hope relative to food addiction. The FAA sponsor is not a doctor, a psychologist or a marriage counselor. The FAA sponsor is just another food addict in recovery. You can expect a sponsor to support you in your recovery and be available to talk with you.
What can a sponsor expect from a newcomer?
A sponsor can expect willingness from a newcomer. For many people, this is the first time they have had such a relationship. As with anything new, a newcomer may be fearful of this relationship. A sponsor needs to make sure the newcomer understands the interaction between the sponsor and sponsee. It is recommended that the sponsor be straightforward with the newcomer, letting him or her know their expectations. If the sponsor would like the newcomer to call them daily at a specified time, the sponsor needs to express that clearly. The sponsor needs to be patient with the newcomer and remember that everyone comes into this program from a different place.
Remember that sponsors are not perfect.
Their food plans are not perfect. Their Step work is not perfect. The relationship is part of the process of growth in the world of recovery. It is very special. It is a great idea to encourage your sponsee to form relationships with other food addicts in recovery. Encourage them to go to several meetings each week and make phone calls (or send personal e-mails) to other food addicts. Each person in recovery needs a network of other recovering people for support, especially when the sponsor is unavailable because of vacation or illness.
If the relationship is not working, what do I do?
The sponsor or the sponsee may ask this question. When one or both people feel the relationship is not working, they need to discuss it. Is it the disease talking for one of the people? Is it just that one person or both people need to move on? If you decide you need to move on, tell the other person. Never just stop “being there.” It is okay to switch sponsors. It is okay to decide that you can no longer help a sponsee. As with any relationship, this change in the type of relationship needs to be handled with love and kindness and should never threaten abstinence. If you need help, see another abstinent person in FAA.
If you decide you need a different sponsor, find a new sponsor before you stop talking with the first sponsor. Keep abstinence as your primary focus. If you decide you can no longer sponsor someone, pray that your Higher Power leads you to service in another way or with another food addict. Remember, in order to keep your abstinence, you must give it away.