About the Author
Hamilton B. is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober in AA for more than twenty years. As an AA member, Hamilton maintains his anonymity "at the level of press, radio, and film." He holds a B.A. degree in psychology from an Ivy League college, and a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from an eastern University. Hamilton is a recognized expert in the areas of alcoholism recovery and spirituality in organizational settings. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Newsweek, and numerous other newspapers and periodicals; he has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Oprah Winfrey, A Current Affair, and numerous other television and radio programs; and he has testified before committees of both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate as an expert witness on alcoholism.Hamilton has served on a variety of corporate and foundation boards, has taught as an adjunct professor at an eastern medical school, and has worked with the National Institute of Alcoholic Abuse and Alcoholism. In addition to the two books he has written for Hazelden, he is the author of a book that deals with organizational issues and a forthcoming book on leadership. His areas of expertise are alcoholism and spirituality in organizational settings.
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Introduction When I was new to Alcoholics Anonymous, people in the Fellowship suggested that I find a sponsor. But how was I to find one? And where? And, most important, who would it be? The AA Big Book didn't mention sponsorship, and there were no books written about it. I was scared to ask someone to sponsor me, so I put off getting one. I kept thinking I could do it myself. I couldn't. Now I see how much not having a sponsor delayed my progress in AA. When I was new to AA and looking for a sponsor, I didn't even know the right questions to ask. After a while, I did get a sponsor. Then one day, someone asked me to sponsor him. Suddenly, I had a big responsibility. I had dozens of questions that I wanted answered. And quickly. What was I supposed to do as a sponsor? How would I know when he was ready to take a Step? What if he drank? I had nothing to rely on but my own sponsor and what I had heard about sponsorship in AA meetings and from other sponsees. Twelve Step Sponsorship: How It Works came out of those early sponsorship experiences and out of the fear and earnestness I saw in my own sponsees when they were asked to sponsor somebody for the first time. They had many questions, but AA's only publication on this topic was a thirty-page pamphlet called 'Questions and Answers on Sponsorship.' So when a friend of mine made the suggestion, I decided to write something that would guide Twelve Step members through the sponsorship process. The result is a guide for both sponsors and sponsees, for both newcomers and old-timers. Its purpose is to help sponsors be the most effective sponsors they can be, and to help sponsees get the most they can out of having a sponsor. Because my experience and knowledge are mostly in AA, the ideas here will reflect mainly an AA perspective. Yet, this book will be useful to people in any Twelve Step Fellowship e.g., Al-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Overeaters Anonymous (OA), or Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) who want to take advantage of the special resource of sponsorship. This book discusses what a sponsor does, how to find a sponsor, and how to be a sponsor. It also explains how to help a sponsee work each of the Twelve Steps. This book is a guide to the sponsorship process. The suggestions in Twelve Step Sponsorship did not originate with me. Everything in the book comes from AA through its members, meetings, and publications, but it is filtered through my perception. The only real authorities in AA are the Big Book (entitled Alcoholics Anonymous), Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, other Conference-approved literature, and decisions of the AA General Service Conference (as AA's elected voice). These sources are largely silent on sponsorship, so most of what is in this book comes from my own experience and from the experience of other AA members. As with AA, the only authorities in other Twelve Step Fellowships are their Conference-approved literature and their equivale