As an internationally respected teacher and lecturer on the Twelve Step method introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous, Joe McQ knew that sponsorship is a key construct for the success of the program because it involves moving a person through the Twelve Step process to recovery. In the early days of AA. sponsors would come to the alcoholic’s home and talk him through Steps I and 2, and when they were thoroughly convinced he was ready they would start him on the program. However, with the advent of treatment centers over the last twenty-five to thirty years, Steps I and 2—the Steps which place the alcoholic in a “box” and force him or her to begin the program—have been supervised by those other than AA sponsors.
Step 12 is the foundation of sponsorships: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Carry This Message addresses McQ’s concern that sponsors have lost some skills in working with alcoholics. AA sponsors need to refocus on the Big Book, on the Twelve Steps, and on their message, urges McQ, to recognize the value of the program and to return to its roots and essence.