When you’re in addiction treatment, your sponsor is an incredibly important person. Essentially, a sponsor takes on the responsibility of guiding a new AA member along the journey of recovery, specifically supporting them through the 12-step process. You might see a sponsor as a mentor. You might seem a sponsor as a reliable form of support through challenging times or a companion on the journey of recovery. Sponsors can significantly boost a person’s confidence in their ability to create a new life for themselves, including sustaining their sobriety after addiction treatment.
But not all sponsors are perfect. They themselves were at one point vulnerable to the illness of addiction, just like you were. Although they may be in a position of being your sponsor, it’s important to keep the following in mind before you confide openly and honestly with your sponsor.
- –Find out how many years of sobriety your sponsor has under his belt. Perhaps this is obvious, but your sponsor should have more experience in their sobriety than you. In fact, they should have a solid foundation in the 12-steps and in living sober.
- –Make sure there’s no romantic interest between the two of you. Regardless of whether you have an interest in your sponsor or the other way around, romance colors the way people relate to one another. If your sponsor has an interest in your, they’re going to hear your story in a certain way. And if you like your sponsor, then you’re not going to fully receive their input.
- –Find out just how much familiarity your sponsor has with the 12-step process. Your sponsor should be well versed in the 12-steps and in living sober in general. There are some in addiction treatment who attend Alcohol Anonymous (AA) meetings, but who give the 12-step program lip service. If you want to find someone to help you “work the steps”, you’ll need someone who knows those steps well.
- –Make sure your sponsor is not too busy with personal responsibilities to provide you with the level of support you need.
- –Use your intuition before fully confiding in a sponsor. This is especially true if you don’t yet have rapport with your sponsor. Your intuition can let you know if it’s the right time to fully confide in your sponsor.
- –Ask about any relapses that your sponsor might have had after addiction treatment. You might also ask how your sponsor recovered from that relapse.
- –Wait until you feel you have the right level of rapport (including trust) with your sponsor before you share with him or her your hopes, dreams, and challenges.
These are tips to keep in mind before you confide in your sponsor. If you find out that you don’t really have the rapport with your sponsor, you might later regret sharing your hopes and challenges. Having the right support in addiction treatment is important. However, make sure that support you get from your sponsor is what you’re looking for.
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