The Immense Value of a Sponsor in Your Addiction Recovery

The Immense Value of a Sponsor in Your Addiction Recovery

The definition of a “sponsor” and their role, within the context of addiction recovery through a 12-Step program, can best be described as “an alcoholic or drug addict who has made some progress in the recovery program, and shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic or drug addict who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.”

In other words, an AA or NA sponsor is someone that can be counted on by someone relatively new to the 12 Steps to act as both their guide and their confidante during their stay in the program.

I never considered AA back in the days when I was a chronic drunk, even though countless people were telling me to try it for a while – “What harm can it do?” and “It’s got to be better for you than this, surely.”

To be downright honest, I was not a spiritual person, and I never considered even attempting recovery – most days, just finding my way to the local liquor store stretched my thought processes enough. Thinking about anything that closely resembled a future? That was way, way beyond me back then.

Until one terrifying, the idea of a future seemed very, very remote, following an alcohol-induced seizure that showed me the shaky tightrope I was walking with my health.

When something like that happens, things change. Quickly. Waking up in an Emergency Room I still do not remember getting to, tubes everywhere, worried looks on the faces of the doctors and nurses, and the words, “Touch and go.” Now those three words – I remember those simple words every single day now.

I later learned that an off-duty police officer found me, prostrated on the filthy ground in a backstreet alley, muscles spasming and face contorting, as he was walking past, and took me in his own car to the ER. I know his name now, but we’ve never met. He got a transfer out of the city, apparently. So, good luck to him.

Once out of the hospital, I pleaded with my family to help me find treatment for my alcoholism, and they did – to their credit. After a few months of detox, treatment and therapy at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Philadelphia, I was sober, clean and trying my damnedest to stay that way. With the advice of the treatment facility fresh in my mind, and my relapse prevention plan pretty much glued to my hand, I started looking for local AA meetings to get to. Fortunately, I found plenty.

Within a couple of weeks, I had a sponsor, too.

That was over 6 years ago now, and I’ve been clean and sober ever since, thanks to the tremendous support around me, particularly from the same sponsor who took me under his wing all those years ago. He’s still my sponsor today.

What is the Role of a Sponsor in 12-Step Programs?

Before we get to the excellent benefits of getting yourself an AA or NA sponsor, however, here’s a brief guide to the sponsor’s role:

  • A sponsor does all they can, within the limits of personal experience and knowledge, to help a newcomer get sober and stay sober
  • A sponsor is there to answer any questions the newcomer may have
  • A sponsor is an understanding, sympathetic friend when one is needed most – it assures the newcomer that at least one person cares about their recovery

The Main Benefits of an AA or NA Sponsor

Here are the excellent benefits of getting yourself an AA or NA sponsor – believe me, one person really can change your life

1. Structure

Many newcomers to AA or NA have lived relatively unstructured lives prior to attending meetings – thanks to their substance abuse. AA and NA meetings can provide structure to your day, and to your week, by attending as many meetings as you can, if, of course, you’re able to do that. Getting to as many meetings as possible is advised for those in the early days and weeks of their recovery. Within the meeting itself, a sponsor can provide further structure, by explaining how the meetings work, answering questions about the “Big Book” and other topics, how to share your own story, and so on.

2. Experience

You really do feel like a stranger in a strange land when you first start attending AA or NA. Your emotions will be all over the place, and you may be doubting yourself and your ability to stay sober. A sponsor has already been standing exactly where you are standing now. They know those crazy emotions, and they know the doubt – they have lived it all themselves. By sharing their experiences with you, they can calm and focus you. Additionally, they really are living proof that sobriety works, that AA or NA works, and there is a healthy and happy future waiting for you.

3. Accountability

Learning to hold yourself entirely accountable for your past actions and for your choices in the future is one of the most important aspects of recovery from addiction. You need to have that personal accountability. In early recovery, all of this may be hard to achieve, so a sponsor can be someone you will be accountable to, someone watching over your shoulder with compassion and empathy – because they know how you’re feeling.

4. Grounding

In early recovery, there is often a tendency to feel invincible. However, your addiction has shown that you are not, and that we all need support and help to make it into a sustainable, long-term recovery. Early sobriety can even be exhilarating for some. However, a sponsor will understand that feeling, can keep you grounded, and remind you that you were feeling invincible before your addiction, too.

Perhaps, one day, months or even years down the road to recovery, you may be able to do the same for another newcomer to the 12-Step program, and be someone’s sponsor, using your experience and understanding of early recovery to get them safely on the right track to a sober life – we sincerely hope you can.

Article written by admin

By Profession, he is an SEO Expert. From heart, he is a Fitness Freak. He writes on Health and Fitness at MyBeautyGym. He also likes to write about latest trends on various Categories at TrendsBuzzer. Follow Trendsbuzzer on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.