Do I Need a Sponsor?

Sponsors are not mandatory components of recovery programs, but I do recommend the acquisition of a sponsor during the first few months of your recovery.

When I finally became disgusted with my feeble attempts at recovery on my own, I decided to get a sponsor. I didn't just go up to the first male member and ask him to be my sponsor. I had to ask several members if they were available for sponsorship. Sometimes, if you are a newcomer, a member will volunteer to be your sponsor if you ask if they are available. But be prepared to ask more than two or three people to be your sponsor. You may even have to change your meeting location to find a sponsor, especially if your home group is small.

Sponsors are not mandatory components of recovery programs, but I do recommend the acquisition of a sponsor during the first few months of your recovery. Some sponsor relationships are temporary, and some manage to last for years. Often, your sponsor is the first person you'll call when you see trouble coming. If it's a problem concerning a relapse, calling your sponsor after the fact is acceptable. But sponsors almost always prefer that you call before you slip. Having a sponsor is not all about handling relapses or calling when trouble approaches. It is also a good idea to have a sponsor to guide you in your recovery during those first few weeks in what seems to be a new but strange lifestyle. Besides, a sponsor is far less expensive than a paid counseling professional. Sponsors are free and available to you at almost any hour.

If you are planning on getting a sponsor, or if you already have one, several of the following tips and suggestions may help:

  • Remember, sponsors have been in recovery longer, they know the pitfalls to avoid.
  • Sponsors can only suggest, they do not make demands.
  • Although a sponsor is willing to discuss matters confidentially, a sponsor is not a professional counselor, caseworker, doctor, or religious expert.
  • The major goal of a sponsor is to help you stay abstinent form alcohol and or drugs.
  • Remember that your sponsor is in recovery, just like you.
  • It is not necessary that you and your sponsor have similar lifestyles other than the fact you are both recovering addicts/alcoholics. It is important to know that you have one thing in common - Staying clean and sober.
  • Never place blame on your sponsor for your failures, they do have separate lives and other obligations.
  • It could be beneficial to you to have more than one sponsor. That way, at least one of them is likely to be available. Another possible advantage to having more than one sponsor is that a wider range of experience and knowledge is available to you.
  • You may only need one sponsor, but if unavailability becomes a factor, having a substitute or backup-sponsor is a good idea and is highly recommended.
  • Sponsors are not perfect people, but they do operate under the best of intentions - the desire to help other people in recovery.

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Copyright by by Steven L. White.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
This article is based on an excerpt from his book
The Fly and the Jackal: Addiction, Recovery and Biblical Principles

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