16 Mar Choosing a 12-Step Sponsor
Almost everyone using the 12-step method of addiction recovery will benefit from the help of a sponsor. This is why programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous recommend that participants choose a sponsor as soon as possible once they begin the program. A sponsor is another recovering addict who has already maintained sobriety for a period of time and who is willing to help someone else through the 12 steps.
Everyone recovering from an addiction needs a lot of support and accountability, particularly during the early stages of recovery. A sponsor is someone who will understand what you’re going through and who will be able to give you perspective when things get rough. Their friendship and advice will prove invaluable and many people find lifelong friends in their sponsors.
Choosing a sponsor is not a decision that should be taken lightly, so be patient and make sure you find the right one. Alcoholics Anonymous recommends that a sponsor be sober for at least one year before starting to help someone else. You should find someone whose recovery story you admire and would like to implement in your own life. They need to be committed to the program and implementing the 12-step process in their own life on a continual basis. If a sponsor seems a bit abrupt, this may not be a bad quality because you will need someone who is willing to be honest with you and confront dishonesty.
Once you have found a sponsor who is a good match for you, cultivate the relationship openly, but make sure you establish and keep boundaries. Your sponsor should help you to work through the 12-steps and should counsel you on fighting your addiction, but they should not be telling you what to do in every area of your life. You need to be able to make your own decisions regarding career, finances, and relationships.
It’s also important to remember while your sponsor is a valuable resource in your 12-step program, they are not a licensed therapist. You will probably need professional help from a trained therapist or counselor, especially early on in your recovery process, and your sponsor is not a replacement for this.