"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail." -- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA's Big Book) pg. 89
It is the cosmic punchline:
I sponsor not to save others, but to save myself. Thus, every single experience I've had with a sponsee -- whether they drank or recovered -- has been a success; because I've stayed sober.
I started sponsoring people because it was what I was told I needed to do.
Then I did it because I wanted to look good.
And then I did it because I believed in what I was doing, and I started to care.
And so the spoiled, terrified, self-centered, drunken boy who stumbled into AA thawed, grew up, and discovered first hand what many wise people from hundreds of cultures over thousands of years already knew: Selfless service, with as little ego involved as is humanly possible, is the most potent and miraculously transformative agent in the Universe.