A sponsor is often one of the most important people in your recovery journey. Having a sponsor can help keep you accountable and decrease the possibility of relapse. This is especially important if you are newly sober and just learning to navigate a lifestyle free from drugs or alcohol.
Many recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), encourage members who are newly sober to match up with a one who has years of sobriety and understands the challenges you may face in early recovery. These types of 12-step programs may even match you up to a sponsor if you are uncertain about how to find one yourself.
The partnership between you and your sponsor can benefit you throughout your recovery. But what do you do if the one you choose is not someone you feel comfortable with, or an existing relationship with your sponsor is no longer working? Do you find someone new? Do you stay with the sponsor you have and hope the relationship improves?
You want to make sure the sponsor you choose is able to guide you in the right direction and encourage you when you need it most. If you feel this is not the case, it may be time to look for a new one. While a sponsor may not be your best friend or someone who agrees with everything you do or say, they will be the one to get you through difficult times and help you stay sober, even when you struggle.
When It is Time to Find a New Sponsor
It can be challenging to know if your sponsor is providing the support you need while in recovery. You may question whether your current sponsor is the best choice for you and your needs. Several things can indicate that it is time to find a new one:
- Availability: Your sponsor should be available in times of need. They should understand that there may be times when you need them more than others and make themselves available to you. If your sponsor has too many other people they help or other commitments that take priority over you, they may not be the best fit. Don’t settle for a sponsor who makes excuses for why they can’t meet or talk to you when you need them.
- Boundaries: Certain boundaries should exist between you and your sponsor. For example, there should never be a romantic connection or involvement. If the lines have been crossed, you should look for someone new who understands the importance of boundaries and will clearly set them from the beginning.
- Respect: It is important that you have respect for your sponsor and that they respect you. If you have lost respect for them, maybe due to their behavior or attitude outside of recovery meetings, you may want to look for someone new. If you feel disrespected by your sponsor, that’s another sign to move on. That said, remember that a good sponsor will challenge you. While they should never belittle or ridicule you, they will likely push back when they see that your behaviors or thought patterns are taking you in an unhealthy direction.
- Comfort level: Your sponsor should be someone you are comfortable talking to and who keeps you motivated on your journey. You may find you are more comfortable with someone of the same gender or around your same age. You may want someone who shares a similar background or has experience with the type of substance use disorder you are recovering from. If you are uncomfortable with your sponsor and are unable to open up to them when you need to, they may not be the right person for you.
- Focuses on themselves, not you: They should not spend more time discussing their own problems than discussing your problems. They should have their own sponsor who can listen to and guide them. When it comes to you and your recovery, you need a sponsor who understands and is willing to talk to you about your struggles.
Contact Twin Lakes Recovery Center
Many recovery centers offer 12-step meetings as part of their programming. At Twin Lakes Recovery Center in Monroe, Georgia, we provide a comprehensive approach that includes relapse prevention programming, 12-step meetings, and continued care. We work with you to ensure you have the support you need once you leave treatment. Contact us today to find out more about our programs and services and how we can help put you on the path to a lasting recovery.