When someone is in addiction recovery, “sponsor” is the word often heard in association with that person’s recovery. For those of you who are not familiar with this word, sponsor is a senior member of AA or NA who has been in recovery for at least a year. Sponsors help individuals in early recovery to navigate membership, answer questions, work on the 12-steps, and offer accountability. A sponsor is also a confidant who understands where the person in recovery is coming from, mentally and emotionally.
Choosing a suitable recovery sponsor after leaving treatment is critical for getting back to the routine of day-to-day life. The sponsor will not only take the recovering individual through the steps but also support the person on the path to recovery. Knowing what to look for in choosing a sponsor can help selecting a perfect fit from the start. Remember a good sponsor should be active in his or her own recovery and as a rule of thumb, individuals in early recovery should avoid a sponsor/sponsee relationship with someone that there could be the possibility of physical or sexual attraction in the course of their interaction. Romantic involvement in early recovery can present a distraction that takes away the focus on the recovery process.
Below are considerations that can serve you as a guideline when choosing a sponsor.
1. Does the person have a sponsor or other sponsees? When a sponsor has a sponsor of him/herself, it further demonstrates the person’s commitment to sobriety and the experience with the sponsor/sponsee relationship. This may provide additional support for the new person being sponsored who is in the early stages of recovery. On the other hand, someone who is already sponsoring another person may not be a good fit, as this person won’t be able to devote enough time to the individual in recovery.
- Will he or she enhance the newcomer’s recovery? A sponsor should be someone who carries the admirable and respectful characteristics that will help motivate individuals in early recovery to build a fulfilling sober life. Ask the questions: Is this person optimistic and positive to be around? Does he or she have a good sober life filled with healthy hobbies and altruistic activities? Is he or she honest and open?
- Will the newcomer feel comfortable confiding in this person? Confiding in a sponsor is always tough at first but needed. Trust is at the heart of a sponsor/sponsee relationship, rooted in the idea that both will grow together. An individual who is new to recovery should be able to confide the darkest moments of his or her life to the sponsor without any fear of being judged. If overtime confiding in a sponsor is not comfortable anymore, it’s best to choose someone else. At no time individuals in early recovery should feel they are stuck in a sponsor/sponsee relationship that is not working out.
A message about FCR’s Drug and Alcohol Rehab Program and 12-Step Immersion Program
At Florida Center For Recovery (FCR), 12-Step immersion program gives clients the tools they need to live sober lives, as well as proper training on how to implement them.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance addiction and would like to explore treatment options, feel free to give us a call at (800) 851-3291 or visit our addiction treatment programs’ page for a better insight about or rehab programs.
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Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.