Being a 12-Step Sponsor is Like Serving a Mission

Learn It, Live It, Share ItI am grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to help others who struggle with addiction, codependency, character defects, shortcomings, low self-esteem, grief and other challenges. I cannot tell others what they should do, but I can share the experience, strength, faith and hope that have come to me through my years of 12-Step work and church membership. Opportunities to share come to me in ARP meetings, at church, through my blog and most of all, through the work I do as a 12 Step sponsor. A sponsor (called a “support person” in the ARP program) is someone who helps guide someone else who is trying to work the program. I will be writing more in the coming weeks about sponsorship, because it is a critical aspect of success in the process of recovery, and I haven’t written much about it.

Just as I was pondering the importance of sponsorship and feeling prompted to write about it, I came across a passage of scripture in the Book of Mormon that seemed to express the very same thoughts that I was having! In Alma 26:17 -22, Ammon, one of the sons of Mosiah, is talking with his brothers about his awe at having been preserved rather than destroyed because of their wickedness, and getting to serve a successful 14 year mission to the Lamanites. As I read these verses, I clearly saw how they apply to my life in the 12 Step program, specifically as an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring others to Him.

 

Alma 26:17 -22 “Likening” these verses unto myself
17 Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state? I could not have imagined that the Lord could and would help me find recovery from my own addictions, shortcomings and character defects.
18 Behold, we went forth even in wrath, with mighty threatenings to destroy his church. I was critical of others to a fault, causing my own loved ones to stumble and fall. I thought I knew how everyone should run their lives and tried to get them to do it my way. I misused food in a way that hurt my own body.
19 Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction, yea, why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair? Then why did he not just let me suffer the consequences of my actions, and live a lonely, bitter and unhealthy life?
20 Oh, my soul, almost as it were, fleeth at the thought. Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us, but in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls. In his great mercy he brought me to an understanding of the Atonement. He taught me how to access its enabling power to let go of my shortcomings and character defects and learn a better way to live. He enabled me to recover damaged relationships and He blessed me with new ones.
21 And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.  22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; I could not have done these things myself, relying solely upon my own power. As I have continually sought closeness to Him, attended 12 Step meetings, Church and the Temple, been willing to humble myself and turn to Him for relief from bitterness, hurt and resentment, He has granted me strength to make better choices and has removed my “stony heart” and given me a new one. (Ezekiel 36:26)
yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance. Because I have, through the grace and mercy of God, received recovery rather than the natural consequences of my choices, I can be a living example of hope for those who still struggle with addiction or damaged relationships, and be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring them to Him.

 

Being willing to sponsor and share my experience, strength and hope with those who still suffer is like the sons of Mosiah going on a mission to the Lamanites. I can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring unto Him those who haven’t yet found their way to Him and help them learn to access the glorious power of the Atonement and apply it in their lives.

  • How does your program of recovery benefit from having a sponsor?
  • How do you share your experience, strength, faith and hope with others who are still struggling?
  • What are you willing to do to help more people find the recovery you have found and learn to turn to the Lord instead of the world when they are stressed and need help?

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Related Posts: Staying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 1

 

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