What Role Does a Sponsor Have in Your Recovery?

One of the most rewarding parts of joining Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is having a sponsor. It’s recommended that every member in AA or NA has a sponsor to guide them through the 12 steps and help them stay sober.

If you are starting a 12 step program, you may be curious as to what the role of the sponsor is. Below, we share all the important information you need to know!

What is a Sponsor and What Do They Do?

A sponsor is someone who offers guidance to a member in a 12 step program. They offer encouragement, understanding, and compassion while providing a firm and sober foundation. The relationship between a sponsor and sponsee is unique as there is no judgment. Newly recovering addicts are able to share all doubts, questions or problems without feeling embarrassed.

Sponsors are recovering addicts, too, so they understand the challenges that come with sobriety. To be a sponsor, the person must have at least one year of sobriety, a positive attitude and the time to be a mentor.

Meeting these qualifications is only half the picture, however. Because sponsorship is informal, each sponsor is unique. It’s important to choose someone who can help you meet your personal recovery goals.

Tips for Selecting a Sponsor

The road to recovery is long and complex, and you need all the positive help you can get. The right sponsor can make all the difference in your journey and the progress you make through the 12 steps. Here are the key qualities to look for.

  • Gender. It’s best to choose a same-sex sponsor. Romantic relationships are not recommended in the first year of recovery, as you need this time to focus on yourself. A same-sex sponsor avoids attractions from forming and interfering with recovery.

  • Experience. The more experience a sponsor has, the more reliable they usually are. They’ve been through recovery themselves and have worked with others, making them more qualified.

  • Positive attitude. The best sponsors have good attitudes toward their recoveries. They should be confident and positive, with at least one year of sobriety.

  • Availability. A sponsor should be readily available. If you’re having a bad day or a stressful moment, the words of encouragement from your sponsor can make all the difference.

  • Sponsees. Many sponsors mentor multiple people at one time. However, it’s possible to have too many. You want the sponsor to have time for you, so balance is important.

The 12 steps help move you through the recovery process while addressing your personal life. By having the right sponsor, you will enjoy a more rewarding, successful recovery.

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