Question: I am a newcomer to AA. I heard about it and I just started going to meetings. Some in AA tell me I need a sponsor. Do you think having a sponsor is absolutely necessary? Answer: Some have made it through recovery without having a sponsor so I suppose it is not absolutely necessary but it is an absolutely good idea. This is what AA says about it in its official literature: "Essentially, the process of sponsorship is this: an alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA." There are so many benefits of getting a sponsor, not the least of which is always having a person with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings about anything you wish. Developing the most effective relationship with a sponsor takes some time and not infrequently, a person has to try out a couple of sponsors to find the right person. Some of the finest friendships have developed from this idea of sponsorship and most alcoholics, who are recovering, find a sponsor an important part of the process. "Sober Days" ran in the Palm Springs daily newspaper, the Desert Sun, for several years in the 1990s-2000s. The popular Q&A column was written by Dr. James West, the Betty Ford Center's first medical director. He remained with the Betty Ford Center until 2007, when he retired at age 93.