What is sponsorship?

Sponsorship is a fundamental and vital component of Step Twelve: it is carrying the message of recovery in the most immediate, direct and meaningful way possible. In EDA, a sponsor helps sponsees work the Twelve Steps.

If we have been patient and persistent in working all Twelve Steps, we will have experienced a transformation that enables us to live at peace with ourselves and the world around us. We happily share our experience, strength, and hope with those who suffer with eating disorders as we once did, glad that even our worst experiences can now serve some good purpose.

A sponsor’s experience, strength and hope can provide the insight and inspiration needed to successfully work a Twelve Step program of recovery.

For more information about sponsorship, see New to 12-Step Programs and Sponsorship in EDA.


  • Take others through the process of working the Twelve Steps
  • Listen
  • Share their personal experience, strength and hope
  • Provide honest, positive feedback
  • Avoid offering unsolicited advice on matters unrelated to working the program

Specific suggestions for how to guide someone through the Steps of EDA are provided in the EDA Big Book chapter “Working with Others.”

If you have worked the Steps of EDA and are ready to sponsor, start announcing this at meetings. If you have sponsorship-related questions, please contact sponsors@eatingdisordersanonymous.org.


  • Commit to working the Steps
  • Maintain regular, frequent contact with a sponsor
  • Are open to honest, positive feedback
  • Ask for guidance
  • Take responsibility for their own decisions and actions

Although sponsees often develop strong and durable bonds with their sponsors, the relationship is not one that should be expected to extend beyond the context of working the Steps. Each sponsee should work to build his or her own network of friends in recovery. We encourage everyone who has made it through Step Three to consciously practice reliance on their Higher Power or higher purpose, rather than depending too heavily on individual people to see them through life challenges.

Switching sponsors is allowed, however, it is important to accept and work with what life presents to us as best we can, searching for positives. We take what we can use and leave the rest.

A sponsor-sponsee relationship is no substitute for professional therapy. We earnestly encourage everyone to work with qualified, trained counselors, other experienced medical professionals, and eating disorder dietitians, as needed.


We encourage sponsors and sponsees to leverage EDA Step Workshop materials (including worksheets). In EDA Step Workshop sessions, recovered EDA members help others get started working each Step. As an additional resource, Appendix C of the EDA Big Book includes one EDA member’s discussion of how they took the Steps of EDA to recovery.

How To Recover

  • Attend meetings
  • Work the steps
  • Help others
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