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When & How to Fire Your AA Sponsor

What to Say When Someone Asks You To Drink

You have probably heard people throw around the phrase, “I have to fire my AA sponsor.” While this is not the most tactful way of putting things, essentially, it means that you have decided that the sponsor you have been working with isn’t working out. Sponsors play a vital role in recovery, especially for those participating in 12-step programs. However, the sponsor/sponsee relationship must be healthy and effective. If this is not the case for you, here is a guide on when and how to fire your AA sponsor.

Signs of a Bad Sponsor in AA

Switching sponsors is a perfectly OK thing to do – as long as your motives are pure. So, what is meant by that? Well, are you changing sponsors because the first one is being too hard on you? Maybe they’re doing a good job at keeping you accountable.

Addiction recovery is challenging, and it can be easy to become easily frustrated with a sponsor if they’re being strict and keeping you in line. To prevent you from making a mistake, below are common signs of a bad sponsor to look out for:

  • Your sponsor rarely has time for you: Being a sponsor is a major commitment, and sometimes sponsors stretch themselves out too thin. If you notice that your sponsor doesn’t seem to be as available to you as you need or they agreed to be, then it might be time to let them go.
  • Your sponsor isn’t trustworthy or respectful: Addiction recovery is a very personal and difficult journey, and a major aspect of being a sponsor is honoring their sponsee’s privacy. For the relationship to be effective, you need to feel as though you can confide in this person without fear of judgment or a breach of privacy.   
  • Your sponsor is a bad influence: Your 12-step sponsor should be a positive role model of how to navigate addiction recovery. If they aren’t encouraging you to make wise decisions or work toward your recovery goals, it’s time to look for a sponsor who’s better equipped to do these things.
  • Your sponsor has expressed pursuing a romantic relationship, or you’re interested in dating your sponsor: It’s well-established that your sponsor shouldn’t be of the gender you’re physically attracted to. Being in an intimate relationship with your AA sponsor can blur lines and jeopardize your recovery. This can help prevent distractions such as physical attraction or romantic feelings.
  • Your sponsor is showing signs of relapse: A sponsor should be firmly established in their own sobriety. That’s why sponsors usually have a year or more of sobriety under their belt. However, if your AA sponsor is showing signs of relapse, it’s time to switch.

How to Fire Your AA Sponsor

Breaking up with your AA sponsor in recovery can feel similar to parting ways with a close friend. However, considering that the relationship is centered on supporting your sobriety, it’s not worth sticking things out if you aren’t benefiting from the relationship the way you need to be.

Don’t end things via text or email. Even though confrontation might make you nervous, this is a conversation you should have in person and in private with the individual.

Thank them for their time, and simply let them know that you think it’s best to move on. You might continue seeing this person in future 12-step meetings, but there’s no reason to feel guilty or embarrassed. Anyone participating in a 12-step group knows that sobriety comes first, and sponsor-sponsee relationships are designed to support this.

Need a Sponsor?

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, our Pompano rehab center can help. We offer various addiction treatment programs and have helped thousands of people in different communities recover.

If you want to know how to find an AA sponsor or want more information about our levels of addiction treatment, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information.

Related Reading:

The Importance of Being Single in Early Recovery

7 Things We Did in Our Addiction That We Can Laugh About Now

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.