The Traditional Catholic and 12-Step Programs, Part 9

I’ve divided this out into 16 parts in order to keep each post to a reasonable length and allow me to really think about each part.

Traditional Catholic and Twelve Step Programs
by Sean Romer
as written for the Angelus magazine, September 2002

SPONSORSHIP

Sponsors are A.A. members who tell newer members how to stay sober in A.A. A sponsor, then, is very much like a coach.

A.A. sponsors are the people who take the 2:00am. phone calls from an alcoholic who cannot sleep because he wants to take another drink; normally hear an alcoholic’s Fifth Step inventory; meet newcomers at meetings; and encourage the alcoholic when he is at his emotional lows and scold him when he is being egotistical or unreasonable.

A sponsor is not, however, a replacement for a priest: only a priest can give a Catholic sound spiritual advice and absolve him from his sins. A sponsor is also not a licensed therapist-he is very much an amateur in the matter of alcoholism, and he has no legal protection or obligations should a man he is sponsoring confess a crime or some immoral activity.

A sponsor is, however, a person who has worked the Twelve Steps himself, and can help the newcomer by answering questions about the A.A. program. Sponsorship is a valuable aid to the recovering alcoholic, but it has definite limits.

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