When recovering from addiction, you learn that you can’t do it all on your own. If you’ve been to drug and alcohol treatment, you probably have already realized this. It’s just not possible to work through issues affecting your addiction on your own. A 12-step program sponsor can help you work the steps as well as help you learn to live daily without the use of drugs.
While the term “sponsor” may sound intimidating, you won’t be working with an authority figure who bosses you around. (Although, if you choose, you can ask somebody with these traits to be your sponsor.) The sponsor you select will be somebody who has been through many experiences, both when they were sober and in active addiction.
Why Choose a Sponsor?
Your sponsor has been through the pain of addiction, just like you. They have been in recovery at least a few years, and they have completed the 12 steps at least once. They have a lot of experience to share with you, should you choose to listen.
Think of it like this: There’s a hole in the road, and you can’t see it at night because it’s dark. You try to traverse this road, time and time again, but you keep falling in. You get banged up and miserable every time you fall down the hole. Crawling out is painful and dangerous. One day, you find a sponsor, and they go down the road with you. Instead of falling down the hole, you can walk around it. The road is still bumpy and dark, so you need a flashlight. Your sponsor shows you how to work the flashlight and other tools and points you in the right direction. You don’t ever have to fall down the hole again.
A sponsor can give you tools, and let you know what has worked for them in recovery when they’ve reached roadblocks. You can call them when you’re distressed, and they will also help you work the 12 steps. You’re not alone anymore, but it’s still up to you to do the work. A sponsor offers support and guidance, but they cannot go on the journey in your place. It’s still your journey.
Choosing a Sponsor
At any 12-step meeting, there are suitable people to help you as a sponsor. Anyone who has finished all 12 steps and been sober at least a year is a good prospect. Usually, it’s best to choose a sponsor who has been sober for multiple years.
It’s highly recommended that you choose somebody with the same gender as yourself so that the relationship doesn’t have any dynamics that can cause harm or confusion. Women and men with addiction in their past tend to enter recovery with unhealthy relationship patterns that involve manipulation, etc. You may not even realize that you’re doing such things because they’re so ingrained… Of course, exceptions can be made to this, for example, if you’re gender is nonbinary (or fluid), or you are trans, you may want to choose somebody who understands these issues better. There are many LGBT meetings that can help you explore your options.
Choose a sponsor that is living what you consider a “good life.” It’s often said in recovery circles that “If you want what we have, do what we do.” This saying is an excellent guidepost for choosing a sponsor. Who do you admire? What qualities are you looking for, aside from a strong recovery program?
Watch at meetings carefully for people who have these qualities. You can ask them to be your sponsor at a meeting, or ask them for their phone number to get to know them first. If you’re ever worried the sponsor you chose isn’t right for you, you can always change sponsors. Recovery is about wellbeing! Do what’s right to help you on the path to healing.
Getting Help for Addiction
As stated before, it’s tough to get clean and sober without help. Recovery is possible, and detox (then treatment) is often the first leg of this incredible and healing journey. Please get in touch at 1-877-228-2401 to learn more about your options.