Everyone’s program looks different. Part of the experience of recovery, and really part of the experience of living life, is that everyone is in a different place in terms of their growth as people, and so placing a definitive timeline on certain things when they are determined by personal growth is a bad move. Determining whether you are ready to sponsor someone is ultimately a conversation with your higher power, and having an open line of communication with your higher power is going to facilitate you to be more aware of where you are at in terms of your growth within your program.
Many people say that you should begin to sponsor someone when you are finished going through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, as the 12th step clearly spells out a need to carry the message to an alcoholic who still suffers. Aside from it being a necessity of working a program, it is a highly rewarding feeling to have the opportunity to guide someone through the work, and help them realize a new way of living without drugs and alcohol by working the 12 Steps. At the end of the day, the conversation you have with your higher power will take into account the necessity of reaching out to the alcoholic who still suffers for the maintenance of your own program, and will likely result in you drawing the conclusion that you are ready and able to sponsor someone.
The truth is that, if you are in recovery, you should probably be running everything past your higher power. The old way of living, which relied heavily on self-will clearly wasn’t working, so part of the transformation into a recovered person is to rely on, and relinquish everything in your life over to your higher power, including the decision of whether you are ready to sponsor another person.
Many people in early recovery have doubts about their ability to sponsor someone, and I would even venture to say that everyone in recovery has some insecurity about their ability to sponsor, but at the end of the day we are in the efforts business, not the results business. God will speak through you if your intentions are pure, and the only thing He asks of us is that we try, for our sake, and for the sake of our fellow man. It is important to be aware of the fact that only through genuine effort are we feeding our own program, and so “checking off the boxes” because of a need to fulfill a requirement is not serving us, and makes us seem fake. That is why a consultation with your higher power is essential to the question surrounding whether you are ready to sponsor someone.
It’s all a matter of intention. You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s sobriety, but you are responsible for your intentions, and your actions based on those intentions. An open dialogue with your higher power will make your true intentions that much clearer, and will allow you to be as honest as you can possibly be, both with yourself, and with anyone you might sponsor.