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 from eating disorders as we once did, glad that even our worst experiences can now serve some good purpose. Carrying the message of recovery reinforces gratitude, solidifies new habits of thought and action, and fills us with purpose and joy.

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, please see New to 12-Step Programs and Sponsorship in EDA.

In EDA, a sponsor:

    • Takes others through the process of working the Twelve Steps
    • Listens
    • Shares their personal experience, strength and hope
    • Provides honest, positive feedback
    • Avoids offering unsolicited advice on matters unrelated to working the program

If you have worked the Twelve Steps of EDA and have found a significant measure of peace and freedom with yourself, with food, with your body, and with others, your recovery will flourish as you help others grapple with their impediments. We encourage you to take on the service of sponsoring others as they start to work the Steps.

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

In EDA, a sponsee:

    • Commits to working the Steps
    • Maintains regular, frequent contact with a Sponsor
    • Is open to honest, positive feedback
    • Asks for guidance
    • Takes 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. Each sponsee is responsible for his or her own recovery. 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 and other experienced medical professionals as needed. 

Please contact sponsors@eatingdisordersanonymous.org if you have questions about sponsorship. Our volunteers are happy to share their individual experience, strength, and hope on sponsorship topics, however, the General Service Board of EDA does not provide a sponsor-matching service. If you are looking for a sponsor, we suggest attending as many EDA meetings as you can, developing a relationship with people by participating in the meetings and asking questions of individual participants in after meetings and via text and phone, and then asking individual people whose program you respect to be your sponsor. Recovery — including finding a sponsor — takes time and effort. It is worth it!

We hope everyone in EDA will find a sponsor at a face-to-face EDA meeting to help them work the Steps to recovery. If you want to work the Steps of EDA but are not situated where face-to-face meetings are held, we hope you will join our EDA phone and online meetings.

We encourage sponsors and sponsees to leverage EDA Step Workshop materials (including worksheets) located on the Audios tab of our website. 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.

We wish you success in your own journey to peace and freedom.