It is a cornerstone of the 12-step program of the AA: to get clean, you need the help of a sponsor.
A sponsor is an angel in disguise, someone who lived it what you are going through. It is someone who can light your way, warn you about pitfalls and hold your hand when it is necessary.
In this blog, we look at the importance of a sponsor in recovery.
First, what does sponsorship really mean?
He has walked the walk.
A sponsor has a significant history of sobriety and knows what it entails to follow the AA-12 steps.
Think of a sponsor as a close friend, but one who is also in recovery and struggled with the same issues that you struggle with now. A sponsor remembers what it is like to be an addict. He or she can recall how they behaved when using or drinking. A sponsor understands.
An outsider with an insider’s insight
A sponsor helps you to be honest and vulnerable with another person. It might be something which you haven’t done for a long time.
A sponsor keeps you accountable and offers guidance, encouragement, and support. A sponsor provides sociological and emotional support on top of the medical- and psychological support you might receive.
A sponsor can also:
- Be a source of information for you
- ‘Show’ you how rewarding a drug- or alcohol-free life can be
- Motivate you, listen to you and help you in a crisis
- A sponsor can also help you to cultivate new, healthy relationships with friends and family.
- A good sponsor will show you respect. It will help you rebuild your self-esteem that has been damaged by the nastiness of addiction.
Is it vital?
No, it is not. There are loads of testimonials of people who remained sober without the help of a sponsor. However, it is essential to know that sponsorship is a recovery tool that can help you.
One addict state it like this:
“I have been a sponsee and a sponsor on my road to recovery. Both roles helped me a lot! Working with others in recovery kept me grounded and focussed on my goal."
Research shows that addicts in recovery that works with sponsors are less likely to relapse in the first year of their sobriety.
So, it is your choice.
Nothing in recovery is just black or white. Working with a sponsor, however, has been for many the clinch in the success of their recovery process.
It can be scary
A sponsor will get into the boat with you and share your experience. A sponsor will lead by example, explain the twelve steps to you, and demonstrate how to live it. It will ask a lot of you, which can be scary, but once you start, it will become second nature.
A sponsor can be a true gift in your life. Being a sponsor helps the sponsor, too: they gain perspective on their own journey, and they can reflect on how that got to where they are.
Yes, you can choose not to have a sponsor, but it is a fantastic relationship that will enrich your life as you start on your new path.
At Largest Heart, we want to encourage you to at least consider the pros and cons. Find more information on sponsorships by contacting your AA district office or us.