sponser in recovery

They Have What You Want: How to Find a Sponsor in Recovery

Relapse is more common than you might think.

According to many reports, 40 to 60 percent of people relapse within a year of starting their sobriety. That’s even with professional treatment.

With the right resources and support system, however, you can avoid relapsing. Why ruin all of your progress when you could put a plan in place instead?

With the right person at your side, you can avoid a relapse.

Set yourself up for sobriety success!

Here are seven qualities to look for in a sponsor. Now you can start your search and find a sponsor who can support you in your recovery.

1. Attend 12-Step Meetings

When trying to find a sponsor, the best place to start is at a 12-step meeting.

Finding the right sponsor can feel a little daunting, but that’s natural. After all, this is important. Thankfully, 12-step meetings can help narrow down your options.

These forums allow you to learn a little about the prospective sponsors in your area.

During some meetings, the proctor will ask if anyone is looking for a sponsor. Let the group know you’re looking. If you already have someone in mind, ask them.

If you’re shy about the situation, that’s okay too. Ask the person leading the meeting if they can help. They might even have a list of sponsors already prepared.

That way, you’re using the resources at your disposal to find a sponsor.

2. Ask About Experience

Ask the prospective sponsor who long they’ve been sober and in the 12-step program.

Between one to two years of abstinence is preferable.

You can also ask if they’ve sponsored someone before. Knowing how they’ve responded to certain situations can help you determine if they’re the right fit.

For example, ask how they would respond if you relapsed.

They should already have an understanding of how to respond to this and similar situations. Discover what to do if you relapse, yourself. That way, you and your sponsor are both prepared.

A good sponsor will have worked through the 12 steps themselves, too. That way, they can guide you with their own experiences as a reference.

3. Avoid Romantic Interests

Choosing a person of the opposite sex as your sponsor can seem harmless at first. However, it’s usually not advisable. Instead, choosing a sponsor of the same sex can help you avoid romantic entanglements.

Selecting a love interest as your sponsor could actually complicate and impede your recovery.

Remember, this time is about making choices that are best for your mental and physical health. A same-sex sponsor can help you prevent potential issues.

That way, you can stay focused on your recovery.

Gays or lesbians trying to find a sponsor should choose someone of the opposite gender for the same reasons.

4. Pay Attention

Consider your 12-step meetings an opportunity for a little research.

During these meetings, pay attention to what people say. If you already have someone in mind as a potential sponsor, listen up! How you react to their stories could tell you a lot about their potential as your sponsor.

Do they inspire you more than other people at the meetings?

Do you both share similar worldviews or stories?

Listen when they share and take mental notes. You might see something in them that you hope for your own recovery. If you think you connect with this person, ask them to become your sponsor.

5. Make Sure They’re Available

According to an eight-year study of nearly 1,200 addicts:

  • Only about a third of people abstinent for less than a year remain abstinent
  • After a year of sobriety, less than half will relapse
  • After five years of sobriety, your chance of relapse is less than 15 percent

Sticking to your sobriety now makes it easier in the future.

As you look for a sponsor, make sure they’re available to commit. Regular contact is important. That way, the two of you can develop a bond.

Sponsorship is an individualized process. That means your relationship can vary depending on what you need. The time involved—how frequently you meet and connect—could vary, too.

If you’re new to recovery, focus on someone who is available for constant support.

Right now, your cravings and the temptation to break your sobriety might feel at an all-time high. You might even still experience withdrawal symptoms.

While 24/7 support might not work for you both, a sponsor with open availability is important. That way, you can ask questions or get help if you’re feeling those cravings.

You should also ask your potential sponsor if they’re sponsoring other people.

If they are, they might not have the time to commit to a newcomer.

Make a Plan

Once you find a sponsor, make a plan for maintaining contact. This can include regular check-ins or one-on-one meetings.

This can also include attending regular 12-step meetings together.

As you’re establishing your plan, discuss expectations for your partnership.

That way, you’re both on the same page.

This plan can set you up for success and ensure you have the exact amount of contact you need.

6. Choose a Trustworthy Person

When trying to find a sponsor, look for someone you can trust.

After all, you’ll share a lot of fears, insecurities, and secrets with this person. Look for someone who can provide the confidentiality you need.

That way, you’ll feel safe and capable of speaking freely.

7. Avoid Downers

A pessimistic sponsor won’t have much to contribute to your recovery. In fact, they might actually do you more harm than good.

Positive thinking can benefit your mental and physical health. Try to choose a sponsor with a supportive, upbeat attitude.

That way, you can maintain a positive attitude throughout your recovery as well.

This will help you embrace the positive changes in your life, too!

Sobriety Success: 7 Tips for How to Find a Sponsor

With these seven tips, you can find a sponsor who’s ready to aid your recovery. Remember to search for a sponsor you can trust. Their experience will lead you towards your own success.

That way, you can avoid a relapse and keep your recovery—and life—on track.

Contact us today for additional help and support with your recovery.

References:

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.

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