One of the key concepts of A.A. in the 1940’s: Get the newcomer to Step Twelve as quickly as possible, so he or she can experience the life-changing spiritual awakening that occurs as the direct result of taking the Steps. Assure the newcomer that our program of recovery will relieve his or her alcoholism/addiction. Show the newcomer that the process is simple, straightforward and that it really works.
Earl T. (pictured right), founder of A.A. in Chicago “wished that every A.A. could have the benefit of this type of sponsorship today”. In his story, “He Sold Himself Short” (p. 287 in 2nd and 3rd editions and p. 258 in 4th edition.) he explains how he was taken through the Steps.
“The day before I was due to go back to Chicago, a Wednesday and Dr. Bob’s afternoon off, he had me down to the office, and we spent three or four hours formally going through the Six-Step program as it was at that time. The six steps were:”
- Complete deflation. (Step 1)
- Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power. (Steps 2, 3, 6, 7, 11)
- Moral Inventory. (Steps 4, 10)
- Confession. (Step 5)
- Restitution. (Steps 8, 9)
- Continued work with other alcoholics. (Step 12)
“Dr. Bob led me through all of these steps. At the moral inventory (Step 4), he brought up some of my bad personality traits or character defects, such as selfishness, conceit, jealousy, carelessness, intolerance, ill-temper, sarcasm and resentments. We went over these at great length and then he finally asked me if I wanted these defects of character removed. When I said yes (Step 6), we both knelt at this desk and prayed, each of us asking to have these defects taken away” (Step 7).
“This picture is still vivid. If i live to be a hundred, it will always stand out in my mind. It was very impressive and I wish that every A.A. could have the benefit of this type of sponsorship today. Dr. Bob always emphasized the religious angle very strongly, and I think it helped. I know it helped me, Dr. Bob then led me through the restitution step, in which I made a list of all the persons I had harmed (Step 8), and worked out ways and means of slowly making restitution (Step 9). I made several decisions at that time. One of them was that I would try to get a group started in Chicago (Step 12), the second was that I would have to return to Akron to attend meetings at least every two months until I did get a group started in Chicago, third, I decide I must place this program above everything else, even my family because if I did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway. If I did not maintain my sobriety, I would not have a job. If I did not maintain my sobriety, I would have no friends left.”
Sponsorship (A.A. Grapevine, April 1961)
“Though three hundred thousand have recovered in the last twenty-five years, maybe half a million more have walked into our midst, and then out again.”
“We can’t well content ourselves with the view that all these recovery failures were entirely the fault of the newcomers themselves. Perhaps a great many didn’t receive the kind and amount of sponsorship they so sorely needed. We didn’t communicate when we might have done so. So we AA’s failed them.” — Bill W.