Putting down the booze or abstaining from drug use is a huge achievement in itself. The first step is tough but now comes the hard work: navigating through life without an addiction to help.
Those in a 12-step recovery group tend to fare much better when it comes to sobriety longevity. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are just two examples of positive support groups for recovering addicts. Based around addicts helping addicts, it may be nerve-wracking to attend a meeting for the first time but you’ll be surprised at how much more comfortable you get after just a few.
Once you start attending, you may be encouraged to get yourself what is called a “sponsor.” A sponsor is simply a mentor and accountability partner for abstaining from addiction and learning how to live life without alcohol or drugs. He or she is there to help you when you’re emotionally spent or want to drink or drug again. Before picking a sponsor, it’s a good idea to think about what you want. After all, your sponsor should be someone you can trust, who will encourage and challenge you and has a lot of clean time.
Here are some attributes you can look for when choosing a sponsor:
1. Adequate Clean Time
An ideal sponsor will have at least one year of sobriety and a solid relationship with their own sponsor. You don’t want to choose a sponsor who does not have one himself, has jumped from one sponsor to another in a short amount of time or does not stay in touch with his current sponsor.
2. Lives the 12-Step Principles
Not every sober person in recovery is living a life according to the 12-step philosophy. Be sure that potential sponsors are living with integrity, compassion, generosity and have a generally good attitude about recovery and life. Those that are angry, bitter or carry on drama in their lives are not the best choice.
3. The Same Gender
Most of the time, it is advised that you choose a sponsor that is the same sex as you. There have been exceptions made but far too often choosing the opposite sex ends with a strained relationship. When you choose the same gender, you have much more in common and there will be no temptation for romance.
4. Has Availability
Be sure that your potential sponsor is available. If he or she is super busy and is consistently unable to talk for just a few minutes, you might want to keep looking for someone else with more time. Texting is acceptable but be sure that you also take time to talk on the phone and in-person so you’re not limited in your communication.
Your recovery is very important so be sure to take some time to consider your sponsor. If you are concerned about the matter, discuss it with other people in your support group. They may be able to recommend a good sponsor or let you know who to stay away from. The worst case scenario is that you choose a sponsor who is not a great match. In that case you can discuss the situation privately and politely let him or her know that you would like to be matched with someone else.