Making positive personal connections is an integral part of your recovery journey. Sponsors play a valuable role in many addiction support groups, and you will often hear people talk about the importance of having someone who helps to make sure you never feel alone. Yet, figuring out how to find a sponsor is often one part of recovery where people tend to struggle.
While it is true that asking someone to be your sponsor feels much like requesting a first date, the truth is that people typically want to help others find success in sobriety. Adding a sponsor to your support network gives you someone you can call for help when you get the urge to do drugs or drink. They will also help you stay accountable by attending your meetings and therapy sessions. Choosing a sponsor is not hard when you know where to look and what traits make someone ideal for guiding you on your journey.
Write Down Ideal Traits for Your Recovery Sponsor
The ideal sponsor should be actively involved in their recovery community. They should be able to claim at least one year of sobriety, and the longer a person has been practicing abstinence from substance misuse, is better. Most addiction support programs will also suggest looking for someone of the same gender when you ask how to find a sponsor. This is just to help you avoid any potential romantic entanglements since this can make it harder to be open and honest with your sponsor.
Other than that, your list of options is relatively open. As you create your list of traits, you will want to think about what characteristics will make it easier for you to reach out to them for help. For example, you might look for a sponsor who demonstrates honesty in their group discussions. This means that they will likely be honest with you.
Keep in mind that personal differences can also be a good thing. Don’t immediately dismiss someone for being older or from a different background. Sometimes, these differences can help your sponsor provide you with a different perspective that helps you make better decisions for your recovery.
Understand How to Find a Sponsor In Early Recovery
Now that you have your list of characteristics, you probably wonder how you meet someone willing to be a sponsor. The best place to start looking is within your sober community. Many people start with a temporary recovery sponsor that might be a sober coach or member of their recovery community who can provide immediate help. This relationship is often beneficial for helping you figure out how to handle your very first few weeks of sobriety.
As you begin to attend more group meetings, look around to see who is actively participating. At some point, you will likely start to notice a few people who always have something to say that resonates with your situation. Those are the people that you will want to consider for being your sober support.
Learn How to Get a Sponsor to Agree to Help
Once you have identified a potential sponsor, you will be ready to take the next step and make it official. There are two main ways to do this. During many recovery meetings, the group leader may ask people to raise their hands to either request a sponsor or be one. This provides an open opportunity to let people know that you are looking for one or see if someone is open to being a recovery sponsor. You can also mention your need for a sponsor when you speak up at a meeting.
The other method is much more proactive. Simply walk up to them and ask. Most people are honored to be asked to be someone’s sponsor. If they say no, this usually only means that they are not ready to be one yet. They may even have a suggestion for someone who is in a better position to serve as your go-to person for sober support.
If they say yes, you can be formal and invite them out for coffee, or you can just ask to exchange phone numbers to chat later. This gives you a chance to get to know each other better to ensure they are the right person to be your sponsor.
Keep Up Your Momentum With Frequent Communication
Sponsors are there to support you, and each one has different ways of doing so. Some sponsors will give you mini assignments such as calling them at a specific time each day or writing down a list of things to be grateful for each night. Others may want to meet in person regularly. Some sponsors may wait for you to call for support and encourage you to do so at any time of day or night. Communication helps you get the most from your new source of support.
The relationship between you and your sponsor is beneficial for both of you. Remember that sponsors reinforce their commitment to sobriety every time they help you with a question or need. While it might be a little scary at first to open your life up to a stranger, you will soon find that reaching out to your sponsor gives you valuable insight into how you can stay sober. Try to keep in mind that they were once in your shoes, and you may even find yourself being asked to be someone’s sponsor someday, too.