Anyone who has been to at least one meeting has probably heard “get a sponsor”. For myself, I completely disregarded this important piece of advice almost immediately. At the time, I had no interest in sticking around or doing any “work”, as so many people referred to it. But once I came around, I realized just how important finding someone to help you is if you are trying to stay in recovery.
What is a sponsor?
The exact purpose of a sponsor is helping guide someone through a 12 step recovery program. It works this way with any 12 step program, whether it be for gambling, alcoholism or al anon. A sponsor should be someone that you not only trust, but that you respect enough to listen to and also admire the way they carry themselves.
A sponsor should be someone who has been down the road of recovery, having gone through the 12 steps with a sponsor of his or her own. The key component is finding relatable experiences so that you may better identify and connect with the person. There is a strong psychological component of being attracted to someone who is authentic. As most people who are new in the program have been liars and manipulators most of their lives, connecting with someone who is true to themselves and really walks what they talk can be an inspiring thing.
My Experience with a Sponsor
My current sponsor, who I have worked with now for two years, really helped me realize just how important it all was. I had finally found someone that I not only connected with immediately but had an immense amount of respect for. He had been through everything I was having issues with so far in my sobriety and I related to all of his rationalizations and behavior while he was using. I listened and saw how he carried himself, helping me to want something better for myself as well.
I had never been totally honest with anyone in my life until that point. I wore different hats for different situations, never letting anyone completely in. I put an immense amount of effort in saving face, proving I was right and hiding my addiction for nearly everybody. The experience of telling someone about every facet of my life, the good at the bad, was extremely freeing. I now had a person in my life that could track and help me understand my behavior not just when I was using but how it related to my choices and decisions now in recovery. It was an asset in my life I now need but had never known I was missing.
Find a Sponsor You Connect With
My own personal experience with going through the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous was a tumultuous one, earmarked by denial and frustration. I went through three different sponsors before I completed the steps but by the time I did, I had a complete understanding and appreciation for what that person had done for me.
Choosing a sponsor is a lot like choosing your best friend. Sometimes it just happens and sometimes it’s planned, but there is always something about the other person that attracts us to them. Picking a sponsor can seem scary and intimidating at first. But for anyone with the goal of succeeding in recovery, a sponsor is a necessary and integral part of the program.