Tag Archive: 12 step recovery

  1. 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.

  2. Learning How to Forgive

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    Learning How to ForgiveThe theme of forgiveness runs throughout traditional 12-step addiction recovery programs. Adolescents and young adults who are recovering from substance abuse are suggested to reach out to the people in their lives who may have been hurt by their addiction. As important as it is to seek forgiveness and to make amends with others, it is equally important for a recovering addict to extend their own forgiveness to the people who may have hurt them. Lingering anger and resentment interferes with long-term recovery trapping us in the negative thought processes which greatly helped foster addiction in the first place.

    Human nature tends more toward vengeance than atonement. Reaching out to make amends or offer forgiveness is counter-intuitive. When a person feels that somebody else has hurt him, his first instinct is usually to try to get even. Learning to forgive requires stepping outside of ourselves and seeing things from the perspective of another person. Humans in general but especially those with addiction, operate from a selfish center. However, forgiveness is more about us than it is about the person we are forgiving or who is forgiving.

    Forgiveness is more than just forgetting about past transgressions. Forgiveness is about releasing the tight grip on anger and punishment. When we forgive others and ask others to forgive us, we end the cycle of punishment. One spiritual sentiment relates that anger is the poison we drink while intending to harm another.


    Ways of Forgiving and Making Amends

    • Repay debts
    • Give back stolen items
    • Volunteer to resurrect damaged property
    • Adopt new behaviors for “living amends”, such as showing up on time, obeying curfew, helping with chores, and participating in family activities
    • Sustaining long term sobriety


    True recovery from addiction will include looking for deeper meaning in life, going beyond the superficial and temporary euphoria previously found in drugs and alcohol. That deeper meaning involves living in the present and overcoming past pain and negativity. Forgiveness is a critical piece of the process that helps a recovering addict to find and develop that deeper meaning.


    Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past. Are you ready to change your future? Start with Sustain Recovery Services in southern California. We offer a comprehensive program for extended care services, catered to young adults and adolescents in recovery. Call 949-407-9052 to learn more about how our unique program can help you achieve long term sobriety.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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