A sponsor is a key component to successfully recovering from alcoholism or drug addiction through the 12-step program. Your sponsor is the sympathetic support person with whom you can share anything in relation to your recovery process, no matter how embarrassing. Your sponsor is the person who will take you through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotic Anonymous (NA).
A sponsor’s support is necessary for a successful recovery. But how do you choose this crucial mentor?
Find Someone Whose Progress You Admire
Alcoholics Anonymous recommends that you simply approach someone in the program whose progress you greatly admire. As a newcomer to any 12-step program, you may feel shy or embarrassed about asking someone — sometimes a complete stranger — to help guide you on your recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. Don’t worry! In fact, most program veterans are honored to be asked to become a sponsor and will take you on willingly.
Interview Potential Sponsors
Narcotics Anonymous proposes that you interview potential sponsors to ensure long-term compatibility. Sticking with one sponsor is typically a better bet than juggling multiple sponsors. Rather than jumping from mentor to mentor looking for the answer you want to hear, trust the wisdom that comes from the experience and steadfastness of one person. This approach works best and can help you to overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol.
As a word of caution, it is always best to choose a sponsor to whom you have no romantic attraction, as this can detract from the recovery process. Organizations that utilize sponsors suggest that “women should stick with the women” and “men should stick with the men.”
Look for Different Perspectives
You don’t have to choose a sponsor who is exactly like yourself. For example, you and your sponsor may share different hobbies and interest, ethnic or cultural backgrounds, or even different religious affiliations. But, since your goal is to focus on the 12 steps, you might find that someone different from you will really help you to concentrate on making the changes that matter.
You might also benefit from experiencing a different perspective on your alcoholism or drug addiction. Once again, finding the right sponsor is about having patience, trust, and not being afraid to go out on a limb.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Crystal Meth Anonymous in New York suggests that you shouldn’t be discouraged if a potential sponsor turns down your request, as it may be for a good reason. If the potential sponsor is too busy or thinks there may be a personality conflict, then he or she probably cannot provide you with the kind of support you’ll need. Keep trying and trust that you will find the right sponsor to help you with your drug addiction or alcoholism.
Although there are no hard and fast rules for choosing a sponsor, most experts agree that you should look for someone who has maintained at least one year of sobriety from drugs and alcohol.
Take time to look for a sponsor who you think will be able to offer you the support and guidance you need to ensure a lasting recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction.