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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you have seen us note time and time again that it is extremely difficult to regain your sobriety on your own. Efforts to give up drugs or alcohol often lead to withdrawal symptoms that are difficult to withstand, and so you find yourself between a rock and a hard place. You want to quit taking drugs or using alcohol, but you can’t manage the withdrawal process, so you go back to the drugs or alcohol—and the cycle simply continues (or you give up on the idea of quitting altogether).

The way out of trouble is to seek treatment at a fully certified recovery center like French Creek Recovery Center. Getting sober is not a go-it-alone sort of activity.

And as it would turn out, neither is the recovery journey itself. Once you have regained your sobriety, it can be very helpful indeed to have a trusted advisor who can help you manage the ups and downs of recovery. Often, that individual is called a sponsor—someone whose own experience in recovery can help a person who is just starting out.

What does a sponsor do for a person in recovery? And how can you find one as your recovery journey gets underway? 

Don’t worry. You don’t have to answer those questions on your own. We are here to help!

The Benefits of Having a Sponsor are Many

A trusted sponsor provides a range of benefits for a person in recovery.

At the top of that list is experience. A sponsor is on their own recovery journey, and they can provide examples of what has worked for them—and what hasn’t—as they have sought to stay sober. They can also provide guidance in the 12 Steps (or other recovery program system) because they have been engaged with them as part of their ongoing recovery. That kind of personal experience reminds you that you are not alone, even when things get difficult, and sets a good example for you to follow.

A sponsor also provides a powerful combination of support and accountability. Your sponsor is someone you can always call when cravings or anxieties seem certain to undermine your sobriety. They will not judge you, but will instead offer their encouragement and support. Their encouragement and example can help you develop more resilience, which in turn supports your sobriety.

At the same time, knowing you have a sponsor who has invested time and care into helping you provides a sense of accountability. You may well feel a sense of responsibility and accountability regarding your sobriety because you do not want to squander the good will and support that your sponsor provides. 

In keeping with that notion of accountability, you can also count on your sponsor to check in with you if it appears you may be struggling or are disengaging from the programs and activities that support your continued sobriety.

Some Notes on Choosing a Sponsor

Finding the right person to be your sponsor might take a little time. But there are some things you can keep in mind that can make the search process a little less complicated:

  • Don’t rush the process. You are looking to forge a meaningful connection with someone, and that takes time.
  • No matter your gender identification, find a sponsor to whom you will not be sexually attracted. Sparks between the sponsor and the person being sponsored tend to ignite the wrong sort of fire.
  • Ask others for recommendations—especially those who have been sober for some time. They may be able to help point you in a helpful direction.
  • Choose a person you can connect with. Someone with a shared background or a set of experiences similar to your own might be a good choice. You also want to be sure that your potential sponsor is someone you find worthy of your admiration and trust.
  • Make sure your potential sponsor has enough time to be available to you. Some people sponsor more than one person, which might make it difficult to add another. Others might have work or family obligations that make it challenging to serve as someone’s sponsor. You want your sponsor to be invested in your ongoing success.

Sometimes a Sponsor Just Won’t Work Out

Even if you take your time and choose carefully, there is a chance that you and your sponsor won’t be a great match for one another. That might become clear quickly, or it might become clear as your recovery continues. Sometimes a person who is a good fit at the beginning simply isn’t after a while. 

In an upcoming blog entry, we will provide some advice for ending a sponsorship relationship in as positive a way as possible.

Before You Get a Sponsor, You Need to Get Sober

At French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, PA, we help individuals who are struggling with a substance use disorder reclaim their sobriety and start their recovery journey with confidence. If you are ready to give up drugs or alcohol and take back your life, we are ready to help.