How To Find A Sponsor
Walking into your first 12-step meeting can provoke anxiety; you will see unfamiliar faces, get hugs from random people, and hear the famous saying, “keep coming back.” It will be overwhelming – you will feel out of place, and might not know what to do. It is suggested, once you start attending to a 12-step fellowship you find a sponsor and start working the steps.
A Sponsor Is…
A sponsor is an individual who has more experience in the program than you. This will allow them to share his or her experience, strength, and hope on how he or she achieved and maintained sobriety.
Sponsors are there to offer you direction and support. Not only will they be there to help you grow in your recovery, they will also be there to listen. Being able to rely on someone you trust with an understanding ear is particularly important once an urge to drink or use occurs.
In active addiction, it was easy picking up the phone and calling your dealer or a drinking buddy when you felt like getting a fix. In order to get out of that routine, your sponsor will hold you accountable and have you call them each day so you get comfortable picking up the phone when a thought to drink or use occurs. The urge can strike at any time and having someone to contact can make all the difference.
Your sponsor, overtime, will become one of your closest friends. Talking to them each day, sharing stories, and growing together in recovery will create an unbreakable bond between two people. You will soon learn the relationships you build in sobriety will be stronger than anything you have ever experienced. If you don’t have a sponsor, don’t freak out, just take things one day at a time and pray about it. At your next meeting, ask around. I bet there are plenty of people who would be willing to walk you through the steps.
What to Look for in a Sponsor
This one is a no brainer, don’t go looking for a sponsor any other place than in a meeting. This way you can listen to them share their experience, strength and hope. When listening to others share in a 12-step meeting, look out for an individual you can look up to, displays a positive attitude, and don’t dread contacting. Having such qualities in a sponsor is important because they will be the person you go to with any questions you may have about your recovery.
In meetings, you are going to hear a phrase; “find a sponsor who has what you want.” Finding a sponsor to look up to means you want what they have, to follow their footsteps in recovery. Look for an individual you really have a high regard and think there a truly remarkable person for what they do for others in the program. So, when you are looking up to a sponsor act like looking up to your hero or role model.
In your addiction, you probably lost the self-confidence and awareness you once had. That said, it is your sponsor’s job to take what he or she has and freely give it to you. Make sure your sponsor has a desire to appreciate and take interest in what you are thinking and feeling while maintaining a positive attitude.
Clearly, a meeting member that preserves a negative attitude toward life and sobriety is a poor choice for a sponsor. Your sponsor should always have a positive outlook about your recovery and offer constructive criticism as needed. He or she should always inspire you to partake in service commitments and cheer you on along the way. Generally, your sponsor needs to be an individual that you can confide in and relate to during your recovery journey.
What if it doesn’t work out?
If you feel something isn’t right or you dread meeting with to your sponsor, it is more than okay to search for out a new one. It is vital to have someone you cannot wait to pick up the phone and call. It will make working the steps together fun and much easier. Sponsorship is a hugely beneficial to both parties, but sometimes things will go wrong.
If your sponsor is arrogant and tries to manage every aspect of your life, it usually is not a good sign. It is possible they are doing this out of the sincerity of his or her heart, or it could do with a hunger for control. There are not many people working a 12-step program who act like this, but no one is perfect. There is good and bad everywhere. So, if it happens, remember there is no harm that will be done if you decide to look for a different individual the walk you through the steps.
Keep coming back
Keep coming back – It works if you work it and you are worth it!
Recovery is not easy, but you need to have faith that the harder you work a 12-step program, the greater your chances of lifetime sobriety. I hope you are one of the success stories. Only time will tell. Get a sponsor, work the steps, and be of service, one day at a time. Recovery is possible.