There are lots of 12-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous that will highly recommend that members of the group find a sponsor to guide them through the recovery process.
This is all part of one of the processes of the journey to recovery through the AA program.
The idea behind this is that nobody understands the journey to sobriety as well as someone that has been through it, and studies have even shown that having a sponsor early on in the recovery process can help to reduce the chance of relapse and decrease the likelihood of dropping out of the recovery process.
In this article, we are going to tell you everything that you need to know about getting a sponsor, what a sponsor actually is, and how you can find one.
This will help you to get one step closer to finding the right sponsor to aid you in your journey to recovery. Just keep reading to find out more.
What is a Sponsor?
For those that don’t already know, a sponsor is another person that is in recovery, but they usually will be further along in the process than you.
The idea is that your sponsor will act as a sort of recovery coach that will be able to share their experience and understanding of the program with newcomers, in order to help them to stay sober.
A sponsor will act as a confidant that you can talk to if you feel the urge to drink and are in need of support or encouragement.
As they have already been navigating through the program, your sponsor might even notice warning signs of potential relapse before you even realize yourself, and they could help you to avoid such a situation.
Your sponsor can be many things, like a mentor, a friend, and even a role model, and the purpose of the relationship is to provide support and for them to help you to achieve long-term sobriety.
Due to the importance of the role that a sponsor will take on, you should take great care when it comes to choosing your sponsor. We are going to provide you with some helpful tips that will help you to find the most beneficial match possible.
Go to Meetings
Although it sounds fairly obvious, one of the best things that you can do when you are looking for an AA sponsor is to regularly attend AA meetings.
This is a place where you will be able to find other people on the program at various stages in their recovery. You can go to different types of meetings like newcomer meetings, big book studies, speaker meetings, and morning, afternoon, and evening meetings to meet a variety of people.
Keep in mind that a sponsor should be someone that takes their recovery very seriously. This will typically be someone that attends AA meetings.
Ideally, your sponsor should not be someone with very little experience with AA or someone that is still in the beginning stages of their recovery.
They should be actively involved with the 12-step program, and they should also have at least one year of sobriety.
An experienced sponsor will have worked through all of the 12 steps of the program, and they will also be familiar with the program literature.
They will have a solid understanding of how a sponsor functions, as they will have had one themselves. A good sponsor will be able to lead by example. These are all things that you should consider when it comes to choosing an experienced sponsor.
Avoid Romantic Interests
Something that is really important to keep in mind is that it is not advisable to choose someone that you are attracted to for your sponsor.
Romantic entanglements that could arise may lead to a more complicated recovery and a conflict of interests from your sponsor.
You should try and avoid such complications where possible, as this will allow you to stay more focused on the work of recovery.
Choose a Person You Can Trust
It would be pointless to choose a sponsor that you do not trust. Your sponsor is someone that you should be able to talk to about your fears and insecurities, which is why trust is an essential part of your relationship with one another.
The person that you choose should respect and maintain your confidentiality, and this is something that should work both ways.
The early stages of recovery can be a very vulnerable time, which is why it is essential that your relationship provides a safe place where you can speak freely without the fear of judgment, betrayal, or reprisal.
Make Sure They Are Available
Your sponsor is someone that must have the time to commit to your relationship, as regular contact is really important when you are building a bond with each other.
However, your sponsorship is also highly individualized, so the time that is involved in something can significantly vary, depending on your own needs.
For those that are relatively new to recovery, it can be highly beneficial to have a sponsor that is available most of the time for any questions that you might have and any support that you might need.
It is almost impossible for someone to be available 24/7, but your sponsor should have the time to help you work through the steps, take your phone calls, and attend meetings with you regularly.
You should discuss your expectations with any potential sponsor before you advance to ensure that you are both on the same page.
You might also want to consider someone else if your sponsor is already sponsoring multiple people, as they may not have enough time to give you the attention that you need.
Different Is Okay
Of course, it can be great and comforting to have a sponsor that is similar to you, but it is not essential.
Choosing someone with a different background can also be beneficial, as it forces you both to focus on the most important area that you have in common, which is addiction and recovery.