Tool: Sponsors / Recovery Buddies

Listen and Encourage

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 25:11, 12: 25, 13:12, 15:23, King James Version

Something very exciting and wonderful happened to me last night and I felt like I was going to explode with happiness but there was nobody around that I could share it with so I lost some of the joy and excitement that I was feeling. It was like someone had taken a pin and pricked a balloon and some of the air went out of the balloon.

While it is important that we listen to people when they are hurting, I believe it is just as important, if not more important to listen to them when they are excited. If we stay on the mountain tops of happiness, excitement and joy, we will spend far less time down in the valleys of despair, hopelessness, depression and discouragement.

Don’t let anyone tell you that it is impossible to stay on the mountain tops because that is a lie straight from the pits of hell! Yes, we will have times of discouragement, loneliness and despair due to difficult circumstances, heartaches, criticism, ridicule, scorn and sarcasm. However if Jesus lives in our hearts, He will be faithful to once again refresh our hearts with His understanding, joy, unconditional love, happiness, mercy, grace and kindness. Indeed, Jesus is able to keep us on the mountain tops.

Two years ago, I received an email from a pastor who was very discouraged and hurting. He told me “I preach my heart out and nobody says “Amen,” smiles or laughs at the humorous points in my sermons.” He said that he had been the pastor at this church for five years and no one had ever invited him and his wife to dinner. The pastor told me “I love God and it is my desire to serve Him, but I am human and sometimes I get very discouraged. Would you please pray for me?” How my heart went out to Him!

Parable of a Rose

A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully and before it blossomed, he examined it. He saw the bud that would soon blossom, but noticed thorns upon the stem and he thought…

“How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?”

Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and before it was ready to bloom, it died.

So it is with many people. Within every soul there is a rose. The God like qualities planted in us at birth growing amid the thorns of our faults. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects. We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.

Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them.

One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns and find the rose within others. This is the characteristic of love…. to look at a person and know their true faults. Accepting that person into your life, while recognizing the nobility in their soul.

Geese – This is what Christian Recovery is all about

This is what Christians in Recovery is all about:

Next fall, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in ‘V’ formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in ‘V’ formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone – and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

Parable of a Sponsor

A member of the program of recovery, who previously had been attending meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, her sponsor decided to visit her. It was a chilly evening and the sponsor found the sponsee at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for her sponsor’s visit, the sponsee welcomed her, led her to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. Her sponsor made herself comfortable but said nothing.

In the grave silence, she contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the sponsor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then she sat back in her chair, still silent. The sponsee watched all this in quiet fascination.

Moving from Client to Staff Member – Avoiding Codependency Issues

Recovery programs hire many program graduates and others who have overcome addictions or have grown up in troubled families. They can be excellent examples for mission clients and usually have special compassion and understanding for those who are still hurting. On the other hand, some are hindered in their efforts to minister to others because of their own codependency.

Here are a few common symptoms experienced by these “wounded warriors”:

A. Inability to detach.

Do I Need a Sponsor if I am in a Residential Program?

Do people in residential recovery programs need “sponsors” in the support groups in which they participate?

Most support groups encourage recovering people to find a sponsor. “Mentorship” is a solid Biblical concept. The relationship between Paul, the seasoned veteran apostle, and Timothy, the young, gifted, upstart preacher is an excellent example.

Still, it is best to delay the process of finding a sponsor until the residential program participant is nearing graduation. While still in the program, the staff serves essentially as the “sponsor”. Having an outside sponsor too early in the program can actually be counterproductive, especially if the sponsor gives guidance that is at odds with what the program’s staff. It can also place the staff in a difficult situation in regard to confidentiality.

How Do We Keep Recovery Participants Motivated?

How do we help participants to stay motivated so they will complete our programs and succeed afterwards?

1. I’ve stayed in touch with the “hands on” dimension of the ministry by volunteering at our local rescue missions. Conducting chapel services for program participants and interacting with them is something I always look forward to doing. One local mission, the Kansas City Rescue Mission, where Joe Colaizzi serves as executive director, is an example of a rescue mission recovery program that is doing a lot of things right. Their recent follow-up efforts reveal that for three years running, 70% of their graduates are still sober for year or more after leaving the mission. This is a very good rate of success. So, what are some of the things they are doing to promote such success?

When You Have No Sponsor or Recovery Buddy

It is OK Not to Have a Sponsor
Not everyone in recovery has a mentor all of the time. It is OK not to have a sponsor or recovery buddy! It is important for you to have a special rapport with the person who is going to be your recovery buddy or sponsor. Do not try to rush the process The more time you spend finding an appropriate person the more likely you will find someone who is a good listener and communicator. Not everyone is able or willing to commit to being a good sponsor. They may have other obligations that prevent them from being an effective mentor.

When a Sponsor/Sponsee Relationship Goes Bad

Everyone can benefit from a good Sponsor/Sponsee relationship. It can be invaluable to have a recovery buddy with whom you are accountable. There are many benefits of sponsorship. A sponsor/recovery buddy should be an emotional safe haven who provides support and guidance.

Some recovery relationships simply peter out because of family obligations, conflicting goals, stress at work or lack of shared values. Others might be destroyed by deceit or manipulation on the part of one or both parties.