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On the Road to Recovery

"We strongly suggest getting a sponsor early on.  Do not go it alone.  Our experience shows that you cannot recover in isolation" BRB pp 126-127 

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The Fellow Traveler Model

How ACA Does Sponsorship

  • Sponsor and sponsee are on an equal footing avoiding caretaking and codependency.

  • Style of sponsorship suited to adult children as it avoids teacher/student or authority figure/people pleasing emotional traps ACA’s are familiar with.​

  • Keeps the focus on each person according to their experience; allows empathic listening and sharing; sharing experiences and making suggestions rather than giving instructions or orders.

The relationship between a sponsor and sponsee represents a spiritual connection between two people helping each other find life beyond the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family.  BRB. pp 365

Types of Sponsorship


  • Two ACA members who work together to complete the Steps (using the Yellow Workbook, the Laundry List Traits Workbook, or other recovery material)

  • Co-sponsors may be working the steps for the first time or re-working the steps.

  • Neither person is a sponsee; both practice honest sharing and empathic listening

Study Group

A group of three or more ACA members who meet to work a Program workbook together.  The workbooks currently available are:​

  • Loving Parent Guidebook 
    (check  here for publication updates )

Groups can also form to study other recovery literature together, such as the daily meditation guide Strengthening Our Recovery or the Big Red Book


The Traditional Sponsor

  • Is usually someone of the same gender/orientation that has already completed the 12 steps and is actively working the ACA program

  • Shares their own story, experience, strength, and hope in empathy with a sponsee breaking through denial and embarking on their journey of discovery and recovery

  • Takes the sponsee through the Steps in sequence

  • Usually meets on a regular basis with the sponsee, either in person or virtually

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