So, you've acknowledged that you have a problem with addiction, and have made the decision to join a support group
. While this is a great first step, you will soon find that the path to recovery is a long one, and the temptation to go back to your drug of choice can be great when you are outside the safety of your weekly meetings. If only there was someone you could call for advice. A veteran who is experienced with the pitfalls recovering addicts often face. Someone who could help you stay strong when your willpower is at its lowest...
This is where The Sponsor comes in.
The Sponsor is a specific type of mentor
who specializes in helping a character, usually the protagonist, deal with the trials and tribulations of recovering from an addiction. A former addict himself, The Sponsor is in a perfect position to give others the benefit of his experience and help keep them on the straight and narrow. The shared struggle between sponsor and sponsee can give the former shades of Older and Wiser
A particularly attentive sponsor will often help a character with issues that on the surface seem unrelated to her addiction... after all, it is often the stresses of life that led the character to addiction in the first place. It is not uncommon to see The Sponsor helping out with repair work, searching for information that will bring down the Big Bad
, or even bailing the protagonist out of jail. On the other hand, bad sponsors will actively impede
the recovery of their wards through incompetence, malice
, or both.
for comparison with characters whose function is not related to addiction. Sponsors who get in too deep run the risk of provoking Rage Against the Mentor
or Mentor Occupational Hazard
Not to be confused with advertising "sponsors", who may in fact drive a show's production staff to drink more
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- In the Iron Man story Demon in a Bottle, Tony Stark had a stint where he gave up the suit and wallowed in booze and despair for a while, but his then-girlfriend Bethany Cabe picked him up and got him back in the game.
- In The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, reformed supervillain M.A.C.H. VII is Boomerang's sponsor at Supervillains Anonymous. Except Boomerang has no interest in reforming, just in not going back to jail.
- There are dozens of RPGs where the player becomes this for NPCs with whom he will spend a grand total of four minutes in conversation. The Fallout series is quite fond of this. (In contrast, if the player character gets addicted in Fallout, the only moral support they get is a shot of detox meds and a stern reprimand.)
- In the Season 4 episode of The Simpsons "Marge in Chains", Lionel Hutz also calls upon David Crosby when he's tempted by "...that bottle of delicious bourbon. Brownest of the brown liquors..."
- Subverted in The Venture Bros. when Sergeant Hatred begins drinking in a fit of depression.
Dean: Hatred! You listen to me! This is your sponsor talking! What is Step #4?
Hatred: Uh...to make a fearless moral inventory of ourselves?
Dean: Yes. And what are you doing in there?
Hatred: I don't know what "moral inventory" means! And you're not my sponsor!
- In the Looney Tunes short "Birds Anonymous", Sylvester joins the titular group to kick the bird-eating habit, and his sponsor is there to make sure he doesn't try to eat Tweety in a moment of weakness. However, the sponsor himself falls Off The Wagon and goes after Tweety, while Sylvester tries to stop him.
- Fred Flintstone once joined Eaters Anonymous, and his sponsor would grab whatever food Fred got a hold on while giving the group's secret call, "Gobble, gobble, gobble!"