The concept of a sobriety sponsor has been popularized through Alcoholics Anonymous and many references to the 12-step-program made in popular culture. If you are considering entering a treatment program for the first time, or returning to treatment after relapse, you may be wondering if it is the right time for you to seek a sponsor, and what that extra support will mean for your recovery. While sponsorship isn’t always necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety, there are many benefits to having a sponsor in your corner in your fight against addiction.
Here Are 7 Benefits to Having a Sponsor in Your Corner in Your Fight Against Addiction
1. They’ve Been There
One of the best reasons to find a sponsor is to have access to the wisdom of someone who has been exactly where you are. A good sponsor has lived through the horrors of addiction and found redemption on the road to recovery. They most likely have experienced relapse and dealt with the complex ways in which life can interfere with recovery. Nothing you can say will surprise them, because they’ve lived it.
2. They’re a Concrete Example of Success
Having a sponsor that has survived addiction and successfully built a life of sobriety can help you to see, even in the darkest of times, that recovery is possible. Sometimes after witnessing others struggle with addiction during treatment, it can feel as if everyone around you is struggling and failing, and true recovery can begin to feel like a myth. A sponsor is there to remind you that conquering addiction is possible, and they are living proof! You can look to them for inspiration and pep talks when you feel like giving up.
3. They Will Hold You Accountable
Learning to hold yourself accountable for the actions of your past and the choices of your future is one of the most important aspects of recovery. It can help to have a compassionate but stern sponsor to remind you of that accountability. It also helps to find a sponsor that you like and respect, so that the desire to make them proud can become another motivator to maintain your sobriety. A good sponsor will hold you accountable to yourself and all those that love and care about you.
4. You Can Lean on Them
While a good sponsor will be honest and direct about your choices and responsibilities, they can also become a shoulder to cry on when the path towards recovery inevitably becomes dark and emotional. Overcoming addiction will be one of the toughest obstacles you will face in life, and there are bound to be times of depression, frustration, anger, and loneliness. A sponsor can be there to listen without judgment and with true empathy, because they too have felt all those emotions. Sometimes in recovery you may feel the need to cry, yell, or just sit in silence with a trusted friend, and a good sponsor will be willing to be there for all of it.
5. They Will Keep You Grounded
Often in early recovery, we can feel invincible against our addiction and turn down opportunities to utilize extra resources and support. Early sobriety is exhilarating, and for good reason. Living a life free of drugs and alcohol can feel like a heavy burden has finally been lifted off your shoulders and you are capable of anything. While this positivity is great, it can also lead to laziness and over-confidence when it comes to continuing to work the steps and remain diligent in your recovery. A good sponsor will have most likely experienced this honeymoon phase of sobriety themselves, and they may recognize the signs when you begin to neglect your responsibilities and put yourself in risky situations. Having a sponsor keep you in check when you are feeling a bit too self-assured can get you back on track and prevent relapse.
6. You May Make a Lifelong Friend
Sponsors will be there through some of the most difficult parts of your life, and will also be there to witness you find happiness and accomplish goals. It is natural that a good sponsor will eventually evolve into a good friend. In early sobriety, it may be important to create boundaries in your relationship with your sponsor so that it feels more like a mentorship than a friendship. But after some time, when your recovery is doing well and life is finding balance, sponsors can become the best friends you will ever have. They have seen you at your worst and understand you better than anyone.
7. You Can Pay It Forward Someday
One of the greatest parts about experiencing the benefits of a good sponsor is that you may be able to follow in their footsteps someday by becoming a sponsor yourself. After you have achieved lasting sobriety and feel confident in your knowledge of recovery and the 12 steps, you may be able to pay the favor forward by helping to lift someone else out of the darkness of addiction and into a fulfilling life.