Four Characteristics of a Good Sponsor

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Four Characteristics of a Good SponsorWhen Alcoholics Anonymous was formed by Bill Wilson and his friend Dr. Bob, there were few attendees. In the 1930’s, drug addiction and alcoholism were anomalies. Aside from mental hospitals, there was little solution to the insanity which drove men and women to drink. After word of AA’s success grew, so did the program. As the size of attendees grew the need for people who could support these “newcomers” did as well. Helping a fellow alcoholic take the 12 steps was how the role of a sponsor was developed. Today, a sponsor is a confidant, mentor, and guide through the journey of recovery. Choosing a sponsor is not a contract. However, the 12 steps require honesty. Finding a sponsor in whom you can trust and open up honestly to will be beneficial to your recovery process.

4 Characteristics of a Good Sponsor

First, sponsors are recommended to be of the same sex. Women should be sponsored by women and men should be sponsored by men. Many young adults in recovery from addiction and alcoholism have parental issues in their stories, or have experienced sexual abuse. These situations can complicate a sponsorship relationship with someone of the opposite sex.  

Second, a good sponsor will have experienced his own recovery from drug abuse or alcoholism through a 12-step program. The sponsor’s primary purpose is to take you through the 12 step process. Having completed the steps on their own is a basic requirement. In addition,  a sponsor who has experienced the same stresses and challenges you have can foster feeling of solidarity and trust. Sponsor relationships are strengthened through shared experiences.

Third, a sponsor should have their own sponsor. Nobody has all of the answers in recovery. One of the best examples a sponsor can set is that it is acceptable to seek help and admit that they don’t know everything.  A sponsor who has their own sponsor demonstrates the ability to be resourceful in finding help and support.

Last, your sponsor’s actions and lifestyle should show you that they enjoy life, live in the moment, and will not be dragged down by life’s stresses or inconsistencies. Recovering addicts are most at risk for a relapse when they have not developed good mechanisms to handle triggers, like stress, that can create otherwise unbearable cravings for drugs. Recovery also needs to be about fun. Wanting what your sponsor has in their life will be inspiration for you in yours.      

 

Sustain Recovery Services offers a 12-step based extended care program for adolescents and young adults in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Our daily program includes scheduled time for our clients to meet and work with their Sponsor. For more information on our unique aftercare program, please call 949-407-9052.

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  • Bridget Parker

    I am so grateful to be in the position to sponsor addicts that are trying to recover, considering that I too was once in their shoes. Having a support team is a must in order to change direction in an addicts lifestyle. Recovery requires service work and stepping outside of yourself, and those requirements have not only saved me, but rescued others.

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Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

K.C.
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