With the best of intentions and excellent credentials, even the top addiction treatment professional may lack the human experience of coping with alcohol addiction. That’s where a sponsor can relate and provide the kind of emotional support not necessarily replicated elsewhere. Having experienced the challenges of alcohol addiction recovery, a sponsor can help you identify areas to work on for improving your chances of a successful long-term recovery.
Though limited studies on the efficacy of 12-step programs exist due to a strict adherence to anonymity, information can be extracted from the interview and review process conducted by these organizations. This information indicates that those involved in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), who attended regular meetings and remained in weekly contact with their sponsor, remained sober longer.
There are at least a few studies on sponsors which indicate some of the perceived primary functions a sponsor plays, as well as other data. The study demonstrated that the average length of involvement in a 12-step program like AA for an individual who becomes a sponsor is between nine and 10 years, and an average of 11 years of sobriety.
The Role Of The Sponsor In Recovery From Alcohol Abuse
Key roles identified during one study indicated sponsors saw their primary role as one that encourages sponsorees to “work the program.” Second to this was a sponsor’s role as a regular and available emotional support person. And third, the sample group revealed the importance of sharing their individual success story in preserving the message of the program.
Externally, the role of the sponsor is one that cuts through the niceties to get to the grit of the matter. With years of experience behind them, they’re capable of identifying risk factors for relapse while providing guidance on avoiding drug triggers and encouraging positive coping strategies.
When To Locate A Sponsor
You are ready to locate a sponsor when you arrive at a point of deep commitment to your ongoing recovery from alcohol addiction. Some groups will recommend regular participation with specific programs for a certain time period before seeking a sponsor, however, there is no written rule. In some ways, the sponsor represents the transition from treatment into your long-term recovery goals. He or she functions as friend, mentor, and educator in helping you better understand the steps necessary for a long-term recovery.
How To Locate A Sponsor
If you are currently attending meetings, make it known that you are seeking a sponsor. Sponsors are typically of the same gender as the individual, have been in sobriety for at least five years, and can act as positive role models in their success having worked the program. In locating a sponsor, it is important to interview a number of people until you get a feel for which potential sponsor is a good fit for you. Choosing someone you respect or admire for their adherence to the program, positive outlook, and ability to speak candidly and communicate clearly on any subject is hugely beneficial.
What To Look For In A Good Sponsor
The role of the sponsor is an important one in helping you maintain sobriety through the stresses and challenges that can arise early in recovery. This relationship can offer a lifeline, and as such requires a level of trust, respect, openness, and commitment. A good sponsor will make themselves available within reason. This means your phone calls, if unanswered, will be returned within a reasonable time-frame. It also means you feel comfortable with the person you’ve chosen as a sponsor, enough to share even the darkest thoughts that can arise post-treatment.
A good sponsor can also communicate clearly and openly. They should be well-versed in the program and assertive in pushing you to continue with meetings, or to seek help, if risk of relapse becomes evident.
Most importantly, a sponsor is available to help someone work through the twelve steps. In this sense, regular communication, even when things are going well, is essential. In addition to helping you work through the program, the sponsor should also serve as a positive role model.
A Good Sponsor Will:
- Communicate openly, clearly
- Offer positive coping strategies
- Act as a good role model
- Also have a sponsor
- Help you work the program
- Have at least five years in recovery
- Be available as needed
- Be the same gender
How Does A Sponsor Increase Your Success In Recovery
In accompaniment with regular meetings, having a sponsor offers an additional level of support and a consistent reminder of what you need to do to work the steps of the program. It’s one thing to avoid attending a meeting after a while; the meeting won’t call you. A good sponsor, if they don’t hear from you, will check in and encourage you to attend and participate in the program.
Having also been on the other end of alcohol abuse, a sponsor can remind you of the harsh realities of returning to alcohol to cope, and connect you as needed with professional support to keep you on track with your recovery goals. In the end, a sponsor is a valuable resource for ongoing encouragement, support, as well as a means of regular contact to keep you from slipping back into the grip of addiction.
Get Help Today For Alcohol Addiction
If you are currently suffering from an addiction to alcohol, AlcoholTreatment.net can connect you with the online resources, professional support, and comprehensive evidence-based treatment options that will work best for you.
Contact us today and free yourself from alcohol addiction. Discover a better life in recovery starting now.