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Be a Temporary Secular Step Sponsor

Secular Overeaters (SO) has developed a temporary sponsor path for members who would like practice in sponsoring before making a long-term commitment. Temporary Secular Step Sponsoring takes 10 weeks and follows a specific plan that introduces new members to secular OA and the Steps. We suggest that potential sponsors have: completed Steps 1-3, abstinence, and their own sponsor who can help mentor them.

Not only will you be providing a crucial service for a newcomer, you will also learn new skills that will help prepare you to become a full-time sponsor when you’re ready. It may be that after the 10 weeks is finished, you’ll want to continue working with your sponsee on more Steps, or you may want to become a temporary sponsor again for someone else. 

10 Week Program Outline 
For the Sponsor (6 pages, includes Sponsor information,  Sponsee information, and 3 page syllabus )
For the Sponsee (4 pages, including the 3 page syllabus)

Presentation Recording
Temporary Step Sponsoring: A 10 Week Program | 051423 | 43 min

  • Follow the prescribed 10-week plan and syllabus and keep your sponsee on track to: complete Steps 1-3, find an accountability buddy, and begin looking for a new sponsor
  • Purchase and become familiar with all the items on the required materials list (chances are, you already own many of these items!)
  • Meet with your sponsee weekly for an hour and do the reading assignments
  • Order and read the Secular Sponsor Kit (mailing includes OA’s “A Guide for Sponsors” and a print copy of Secular Sponsoring Resources) for lots of tips
  • Be a compassionate listener
  • Be a good role model by having a healthy program (for instance, attending several meetings a week, being abstinent and following a food plan, having a sponsor, working the Steps, doing service, etc.,) 
  • Set boundaries and think about how to handle issues before they come up (e.g., what to do if a sponsee is chronically late, misses meetings, or doesn’t do the homework)
  • Use your own sponsor as a mentor

You can make announcements at secular meetings and post an ad in the Zoom Chat. 

Be sure to include your: Name, Contact info (phone and/or email), Time zone, Best time to reach you and What you’re offering.

Example of Sponsor Ad
I’m Maria (USA East Coast), and I’m available to be a temporary Step sponsor for a newcomer. Contact me by email ( or by text (123-456-7890).

Download or Print These Out

Note: You can get hard copies of both of the above at:

Purchase (If You Don’t Own Already)

Notes: Consult with each other about your secular book of choice. Prices may change!

Alternative Steps
Discussion of Alternative Versions of Step 1 | 33 min recording
Discussion of Alternative Versions of Step 2 | 39 min recording
Discussion of Alternative Versions of Step 3 | 34 min recording
Alternative 12 Step Discussion Guide for Secular Overeaters | 8 versions of each Step with insights by secular 12 Step authors, pdf, 27 pages

Accountability Buddies
Accountability Buddy Workshop | 28 min recording
Accountability Buddies in Secular Overeaters | tips handout, pdf, 1 page

OA does not allow “outside” resources to be used at their meetings, but non-OA secular 12-Step literature is essential for many seculars’ recovery. In fact some secular OA meetings have chosen to be “unregistered” in order to use outside literature and alternative Steps during meetings. While OA can mandate rules for registered meetings, they cannot control what happens between a sponsor and sponsee.

"Reach out to the newcomer" Collage by Anonymous
Books for temporary sponsors and sponsees. Buy both OA books (left) and choose ONE secular 12 Step book (these are popular options). All of these books are available digitally (and those versions are less expensive!).