Typically, when a person is working the 12-steps, whether that’s in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or another 12-step program, they require the guidance of a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has more sobriety or experience in addiction recovery and who can provide assistance to someone who is in their early recovery. This person typically also has experience in working each step of the 12-step program and so can act as a mentor for those new to sobriety. However, like all relationships, there are situations in which the sponsee-sponsor relationship must come to an end. When this happens, it makes sense to look for a new sponsor. At Westwind Recovery®, we understand addiction recovery requires constant attention. Thus, we make sure to provide all our clients with the skills and resources they need to build and be a part of a supportive community.
How Relationships Can Change
An individual’s relationship with their sponsor can be one of the strongest bonds, and most fruitful means to stay sober. However, there are times when, for the good of both parties, change needs to be made. Sometimes, this relationship must end for very practical and unexpected reasons. For example:
- Either the sponsor or the sponsee moves out of the area.
- The sponsor might be too busy with personal responsibilities and may not be able to provide the level of support a new sponsee needs.
- The sponsor might have too many other sponsees to take on someone else.
- The sponsee might be hesitant about their sobriety and about taking on a sponsor.
However, at other times, it might not be so cut and dry. The relationship might start off well but later present some issues. Often, it is these situations that can be difficult, especially for a newly recovering addict.
- The sponsor might relapse, which might have a negative effect on the sponsee.
- An attraction might develop between the sponsor and the sponsee, which might muddy the sponsorship. In this case, the sponsee may have to find a new sponsor.
- There might not be the right level of rapport between the sponsor and the sponsee.
- The sponsee and sponsor may not get along.
- The sponsor may not be what the sponsee had hoped for.
- If there is a lack of trust in the relationship, the sponsee may not be able to see the sponsor as someone to emulate or someone to look up to.
Options to Consider to Find a New Sponsor in Addiction Recovery
When you find yourself in a situation where you need or want a new sponsor, there are several things to consider. For instance, as yourself the following:
- Can you go to a different AA or NA meeting?
- Does your church or meeting place have 12-step meetings and look for a sponsor there.
- Are there online meetings? You and a sponsor can meet via phone or Skype.
- Does anyone in your same sober community fit your needs?
However, remember that sometimes you might not like a sponsor because they are challenging you – in a good way. If you don’t like the way you are being challenged to grow, you might not be ready for sobriety. Also, it’s not a good idea to switch sponsors because you want a more popular or more attractive sponsor.
Certainly, there are many valid reasons to need or want a new sponsor, but make sure that you’re not avoiding or denying yourself anything. It’s good to stay proactive in addiction recovery, and occasionally getting a different sponsor might be the way to do that.
Once you’ve completed treatment and are in addiction recovery, you’ll need to stay vigilant. Although addiction can be overcome, like any disease, it can strike again. This is why having a supportive community you can turn to and contribute to is so important. Also, for the same reasons, a sponsor is vital. Yet, you can’t allow yourself to become complacent, so changing your sponsor makes sense.
Also, Westwind Recovery® offers various therapy programs that help individuals continue on a sober path. For example, we offer:
Not only do these services give you the best treatment for your addiction but also the best addiction recovery options. So reach out to us today at 855.340.8832 and find the support you need in the form you want.