Finding Hope When You Don’t Have a Sponsor

Report from the “Help! I can’t find a sponsor” workshop

Not having a sponsor sucks. That was one message from the workshop on October 1 that focused on being in program without a sponsor. There’s no getting around it. Without a sponsor, it’s harder to get abstinent, it’s harder to work the steps, and it’s harder to have supportive relationships. Some of the words to describe the experience were pretty vivid:

  • No guidance.
  • Shame.
  • Drowning.
  • Hard to say, “I need help.”
  • Depressed, unmotivated, disconnected.
  • Where can I have emotional intimacy?
  • I’m putting my hand out. I need someone to grab it, or I’m going to die.

So what is an OA member to do? Besides looking for a sponsor, we discussed other ideas. So the second message from the workshop was, “Don’t give up!” Someone said, “I have love hunger,” and we all knew what that meant! Turns out, we all need to be part of a community. We divided our “ideas and actions” into groups. Here are some ideas from each of them.


  • Get a food buddy. (Call in your food to each other daily—or text it if that helps.)

Working the steps:

  • Get a step buddy.
  • Use the tools to work each step. Writing, literature—OA 12 &12, AA 12 &12, Big Book—step meetings, podcasts on the steps, etc.
  • You can do Step 5 with a trusted person who isn’t a sponsor.
  • Pray and meditate daily—that’s Step 11.
  • Ask for help one step at a time. Ask someone to talk to you about step 1. Ask someone else to talk to you about step 2, etc.
  • Ask someone if they could be a temporary (short-term) sponsor.
  • Form a workbook group. Write on the workbook questions for each step and share.

Building relationships and community:

  • Build a supportive network. Make phone calls. Go to “the meeting after the meeting.”
  • Have a home group and build relationships with people in it.
  • Turn to a trusted person in program for help, even if she or he is not your sponsor.
  • Go to retreats.
  • Talk/spend time with people you feel open and trusting with.
  • Use all the tools—writing (relationship with self), phone (relationships with others).

So , if you are looking for a sponsor, maybe some of these ideas will help you. Good luck!

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