Reach Out for Recovery: Choosing a Sponsor

Feb 27, 2022

Choosing a sponsor is an integral step in your recovery. However, before you pick a person to help guide you through your recovery, do your homework. One of the keys to success in recovery is knowing what you need in recovery, people, and life. So, before you ask someone to be your sponsor, do your research.

Choosing a sponsor means you should understand what makes a person the right choice. Remember, this is the person who will help guide you through the challenges and joys of life. Take your time, visit different meetings, and talk to others. Then consider what Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) outlines as criteria for deciding on a sponsor.

New Life, New Choices

In the beginning, you may have grand ideas about what you want in a sponsor, or you may not know where to begin. At first, you may worry about bothering someone or looking like you don’t know anything. Remember, everyone was a newbie once. Keep in mind as you set out on your search that the word “sponsor” comes from a Latin word that means “promise solemnly, give assurance.” Find someone who takes their role and your sobriety seriously.

Maybe what you should think about before anything else is, “What makes a person a good candidate?” Picking a sponsor requires knowing what you want or need from someone. Substance use disorder most likely made a profound impact on your life. The choice to go to an addiction treatment center was the first step in transforming your life. 

Now, post-treatment, you’re in the position of figuring out who you want to help guide you through a changeover in your new life. Recovery is the active evolution of the new you and your sober life. Be wise in who you let in and who you look up to for guidance.

What Makes a Sponsor Good?

Before you dive into your search, go back to the question of what makes a good sponsor. Write out what you think would make a person the right choice for you, then take into consideration a few more things, like:

  • Time and experience. Look for a person who has maintained sobriety for an extended period. Their understanding of the Twelve Steps, the challenges you can face, and the ability to navigate life are vital. Unfortunately, not everyone who has been sober for a prolonged period is a good choice for a sponsor.
  • If you ask someone to be your sponsor and they say no, that’s their right. Suppose someone asks you to help them with a task you know you can’t do, or your personalities won’t mesh. Would you say yes, or would you say no? A potential sponsor who says no made the healthy choice for themselves, as well as you.
  • A person willing to be there for you could be a good sponsor. Experience is good, but availability and knowledge are better. It would be best if you had someone willing to give you their time whenever they can. A part of your recovery revolves around a solid support system. 
  • An unspoken guideline to choosing a sponsor is asking someone of the same sex as you. While you may not think there are potential conflicts of interest, the best protection is prevention. In addition, someone of the same sex has a greater chance of understanding your point of view or experiences.
  • Your sponsor is there for you. This means their duty is to listen to you and help you when you need it. They won’t turn to you when they’re in need. They have their own sponsor for those moments. If your sponsor unloads their problems on you, find a different sponsor.

Patience and Support

Once you begin to attend 12-Step meetings, don’t worry about finding a sponsor immediately. Take your time. There’s no rule saying how soon you need to find someone who will be right for you. Instead of worrying about securing a sponsor, work on finding meetings that you’re comfortable listening to and sharing in. In these meetings, there are people you can connect with and enlist in helping you find a sponsor. While you’re naming friends and beginning your search, pay attention to who is happy with their life and lives a good life. Often those who are content in their life are also stable enough to provide the care and guidance you will need. 

Throughout your recovery, you will change, and your needs for or compatibility with your sponsor may also vary. Don’t worry if you find the fit isn’t right anymore. You can talk with your sponsor and start searching for a sponsor again. The vital part of having a sponsor doesn’t mean having one immediately or forever, but having a person you’re comfortable with that provides the guidance you need to maintain your sobriety. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, observe people, attend different meetings, and make a list of what you need in a sponsor. As you transition from active treatment to recovery, you will benefit from those who have a solid foundation in their recovery and life.

The first step in recovery was the decision to transform your life by contacting an addiction treatment center. Upon completing the program, you prepare to use the coping skills you learned; you’re also tasked with transitioning from the person you once were, now are, and want to become. Maintaining your sobriety and coping with the unexpected is challenging. However, you’re not alone in your recovery. A sponsor can guide you through the challenges you may face while adjusting to a life without alcohol or drugs. Additionally, the camaraderie you can find in your addiction treatment center’s Alumni group can boost your support system. Renaissance Ranch Treatment Centers’ aftercare program and Alumni group give you the extra support you require throughout your recovery. Whether you visit us at one of our centers in Utah or go online, we’re here to help you achieve your goal of sobriety. Call us at (801) 308-8898 today.