Sponsor, Accountability Partner, Recovery Buddy: What’s the Difference?

There may be some confusion about the difference between a recovery buddy/accountability partner and a sponsor. In AA, where much of the groundwork was laid for recovery, they use a sponsor/sponsee relationship.That requires someone who is spiritually mature and who has a firm foundation in recovery with many years under their belt to be the sponsor.

Unfortunately, the truth is that many people come to a group, get “recovered” and leave.They never give back.
That does two things:

  • it shortchanges them (“You have to give it away in order to keep it”)
  • and

  • it short changes the newcomer (who needs someone to mentor them)

Christians in Recovery has a recovery buddy / accountability partner system in addition to the Sponsor/Sponsee relationship. No one is up on a pedestal. Both are equal partners in the relationship. Both learn from one another. Both hold one another accountable and work to keep each other on track. This is not without foundation. Bill W., the founder of AA, had only a few months sober when he sponsored Dr. Bob.

The Bible instructs us to have fellowship with one another, to mentor and love one another, to make amends, to confess our sins, to hold one another accountable, to change our ways (repent). All these are aspects of the 12 Steps as well as being a sponsor/sponsee, accountability partner and/or recovery buddy.

It is up to you which type of relationship or relationships will help you the most: Sponsor/Sponsee, Accountability Partner, Recovery Buddy. Recovery cannot be done alone. We all need the help, fellowship, encouragement and support of others in recovery.