Why Do You Need a Sponsor in Long-term Recovery?
Updated: Feb 1
Having a sponsor in recovery is unlike any other support you may have. A sponsor offers you a unique type of aid because their knowledge comes from experience. However, finding a sponsor isn't always the easiest.
Understanding why it is so important to have a sponsor during recovery can motivate you to find one.
What Is A Sponsor?
Addiction and recovery will always be challenging, having the assistance of a sponsor can make things feel less out of control. Being able to reach out with questions, worries, and just to vent to someone who understands provides unmatched navigation through an unknown time.
Not only does a sponsor offer support emotionally, but being as they are further on in their recovery, they can also help with the concepts and the terminology you learn throughout recovery.
Having a good sponsor can make all the difference between long-term recovery and the cycle of addiction.
Risks of Going Through Recovery Without a Sponsor
The lack of support you may feel without a sponsor in recovery can be incredibly lonely. You are going through something entirely new to you, and your support system is new to it as well.
You may have doctors and family who are there for you, but there is only so much someone who has not experienced addiction can offer you.
Without sponsorship, you can feel alienated and lacking in social relationships. In recovery, especially in the early stages, bonding with old friends or social circles can be difficult when your interests no longer align. There is a reason that so many people relapse early into their recovery.
After changing so much and being sober, adjusting back into your life is challenging. It can be hard to feel alone while struggling, so you fall back into old ways.
The aid of a sponsor is what provides you with that support and guidance. Without having someone to ask about specific terms, learn from, and lean on, you may struggle even more.
The Benefits of Having a Sponsor in Recovery
Having a sponsor is not just something to cross off your list during recovery. It isn't something you need to accomplish. A sponsorship is a relationship similar to that of a mentor and mentee.
The benefits of having a sponsor through recovery are unmatched. In fact, according to The Department of Health and Human Services, "AA affiliates with sponsors were more likely to have more social support for abstinence than were people without a sponsor, especially during early AA affiliation when the group and member-based social relationships were still developing."
Finding a sponsor to guide you through those beginning stages of recovery can significantly impact your outcome long-term. Your sponsor's goal is to help reduce the chance of relapse and help prepare you for the rest of your life living sober.
Not only has your sponsor been in your shoes, but they have the wisdom of coming out of those hard times. They have gone through withdrawal symptoms, urges, and more. A sponsor has figured out how best to cope with life's stressors and family drama and can help guide you in that same direction. Someone who has been through therapy, overcome trauma and found the best way to live sober is the ideal candidate to help you do the same.
Not only is their experience an excellent guide for you, but they are a wonderful example. Seeing how someone is successful and highly functioning in their recovery is inspirational. It shows you how possible it is.
A less well-known benefit of having a sponsor through recovery is that they will hold you accountable. They know the signs of enabling, so they won't do that. If they see you making risky choices or falling off your path, they will call you out. It is vital to have friends and family around during recovery, but a sponsor offers support from a completely different perspective.
Yes, you can vent to them and count on them as you would a friend, but they won't judge you. They will remind you of your goals and help you through all your tough times. They can help prevent relapse or support you through it if necessary.
They may even introduce you to a whole world of sober living you weren't aware of. There are sober groups, social gatherings, and more they can show you. These sorts of activities can help you feel motivated, confident and gain independence in your recovery.
As you progress through recovery with a sponsor, you gain a lifelong friend and may even benefit from being a sponsor yourself someday.
Sponsorship is a significant part of any successful long-term recovery. It is wonderful to have support from friends and family, but a sponsor offers a unique type of support that comes from earned experience. They have been where you are and know what you're going through better than anyone else. They will support you without judgment and hold you accountable. They will remind you of what you want and what you're working so hard for and encourage you to keep working towards that goal. You want to feel confident in your sober identity, and having a sponsor to introduce you to that world and all it has to offer does just that. Having a sponsor is vital to ensuring you remain in recovery long-term. If you need help finding a sponsor or learning more about sponsorship, reach out to us at California Care Detox & Treatment today by calling (949) 281-0632.