AA is my church. The sharing of one alcoholic to another is sacred because somehow God has brought us together. Holiness is of little value in the AA church. We connect though our mutual brokenness. We share together not to save each others' souls, but to save each others' asses.
My sponsor taught me to tell the truth by sharing his truth. I learned about his fear, his abandonment issues, and the problems of his life. When it came time for my fifth I had the courage to tell him my secrets, even the icky stuff. I learned by observation that the number one and perhaps only responsibility of a sponsor is to be available. He was busy and sponsored a lot of guys but he always had time for me.
We all need three things from our sponsors: love, discipline and direction. In my own work with others I have tended to slight the love part in favor of discipline and direction. I have tried to manage a sponsee’s recovery rather than play the role of friendly helper. I am learning that this controlling style does not work on most people and it is spiritually deadening for me.