For the most part, individuals who have completed a drug or alcohol treatment program and are in a 12-step group are encouraged to get an addiction recovery sponsor. Having a sponsor can be a huge advantage in recovery, as they’re meant to offer you guidance, support, and accountability. Considering the various challenges that are thrown a person’s way in recovery from addiction – ranging from work stress to finances to drug cravings – having an extra support system can make a world of difference. Below are some tips on how to find an AA sponsor that can help you take that step.
What Is a Sponsor in Rehab?
A sponsor for rehab is a senior member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) who has been in recovery for at least a year. Sponsors are meant to help others who are in the early to mid stages of recovery navigate membership, answer questions, and work on the 12-steps as part of their care after completing rehab.
A rehab sponsor also acts as a confidant who understands the recovering addict’s situation and the challenges they’re facing as they adjust to sobriety. The individual in recovery should be able to confide in their sponsor about what they may not feel comfortable talking about openly in 12-step meetings or what they need more advice about. Both AA and NA outline the sponsor relationship in their guidelines, and while slightly different, the core of the sponsor relationship remains the same for all 12-step groups.
To clarify, sponsors DO NOT:
- Provide professional care
- Impose their personal views on you
- Have romantic relationships with sponsees
- Offer financial advice
- Offer legal support
While this might sound harsh, a sponsor is not designed to babysit their sponsees. Rather, their role is to offer sobriety-related guidance and advice to the individual.
How to Find a Sponsor in AA
Because sponsees may share personal and serious things with their sponsors, finding a sponsor in recovery that can get along well with the individual and carry on a professional yet close relationship is important. Similar to hiring a good coach to help you train for a marathon, you’ll want to find an AA sponsor who can help prepare you for sobriety. Below are some tips for finding and choosing an addiction recovery sponsor who can provide you with the support and guidance you need to stay on track.
Look at Their Experience
As we mentioned, normally, people who would be qualified as AA sponsors are those who have been sober for at least a year and are active in the 12-step community. Considering the immense responsibility that is guiding people as they recover from drugs and alcohol, it’s important to consider how much experience the potential sponsor has before choosing them. Have they been a sponsor before? For how long and to how many people?
You could also consider reaching out to the people who have worked with that sponsor before to get a better feel of their teaching style and character. Having a sponsor and being a sponsee is a commitment, so don’t take the decision lightly.
Observe How They Treat Others
Attend 12-step meetings and observe the behavior of all potential sponsors. The way a person interacts with others says a lot about their character. It’s important to observe their behavior with others to decide whether they’re someone you want to work with. If you don’t feel as if that person is respectful or supportive, they might not be the one for you. Instead, look for someone positive, supportive, and who meets your needs.
Choose Someone Who Is Honest
A sponsor for recovering addicts should also be an honest person. Their experience with addiction and recovery makes them the perfect fit as a guide for others in the same position, so it’s important to find someone who’s honest. These are the kinds of people who won’t judge you for your past but will instead empathize and offer honest advice.
Additionally, honest sponsors will also not hesitate to keep you accountable. If you seem like you’re slipping back into an old habit or lifestyle, they’ll be quick to call you out as you need it.
Consider What You Want in a Sponsor
In addition to honesty and support, it’s also important to consider your sponsor’s lifestyle. For instance, if you’re someone who’s retired and the person you’re considering for a sponsor works full-time and has young children, your schedules might clash.
On the other hand, you might not want to work with someone who’s your age. If you and your sponsor are too similar, it could lead to some clashing, as well. For example, you might feel as if they’re not old or experienced enough to be giving you advice. These are all important traits to consider when choosing an AA sponsor.
When you finally decide who you’d like as your sponsor, the leader will ask people interested in being a sponsor to raise their hands at the end of a meeting. If this doesn’t happen at the meeting you attend, you can also let your group leader know you’re looking for a sponsor. You can also approach the potential sponsor in person.
Don’t take it personally if they turn you down. Instead, see it as a sign that a better sponsor is out there for you. No matter how long it takes, don’t quit on finding a sponsor. These individuals play a crucial role in recovery and can make a significant impact on your journey.
Finding a Sponsor With Banyan
Our final tip on how to find an AA sponsor is to attend a meeting that’s linked to a powerful rehab center, such as our drug rehab in Sebring, FL. Our facility offers various therapy programs, such as our 12-step and alumni recovery program, to offer clients additional aid after they’ve completed treatment.
If you or someone you care about has yet to take that first step toward sobriety, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our Sebring drug treatment and how we can help.