When following the 12-Step method, many individuals seek to find a sponsor to assist them through their recovery journey. While having a sponsor comes with a lot of benefits, there are many important factors to consider when finding a sponsor.
Importance of Having a Sponsor
Sponsors are a resource to use throughout your recovery journey. Having a sponsor is important because it adds a person who has first-hand experience with addiction recovery to your support network. While this individual is not in charge of holding you accountable, they can help you keep yourself accountable.
Having a sponsor is also greatly important from a motivational standpoint. It is easy to lose interest in the recovery process or feel the desire to give up, as progress can feel slow at times. Having a sponsor that you trust and can reach out to can encourage you to open up about these feelings and seek advice from someone who understands the recovery process. Hearing their point of view and relating to their struggles can help you keep your head in the game and continue down the path of success.
Influence on Long-Term Recovery
Studies have shown that obtaining a sponsor during the early stages of recovery highly influences the maintenance of sobriety on a long-term spectrum. As people begin engaging themselves with a sponsor early on, they develop a deeper understanding of what life can be like after treatment.
Many individuals keep a strong relationship with their sponsor, long after the treatment process. Having a sponsor can provide you with a person to communicate with about your struggles with addiction and sobriety maintenance, even years after beginning a sober lifestyle. Having this person to support and motivate you through the lifelong journey of recovery can improve the potential of your success.
Finding a Sponsor
When searching for a sponsor, it is important to ensure the relationship is professional. Some individuals find they connect well with a sponsor and have a lot in common with them. At times, this relationship can progress from a professional relationship to a romantic relationship. While there is nothing wrong with finding a significant other who supports you in recovery, having a romantic relationship with your sponsor can involve risks.
Align Your Priorities
Each individual has their own set of priorities they wish to focus on in recovery. As you seek to find a sponsor, keep an eye out for someone whose priories align with yours. If you feel strongly that you need to focus on improving your physical health, find a sponsor who is passionate in that area. Finding a sponsor with similar viewpoints can help keep you on the same page and encourage feedback that aligns more with your goals.
While you may have opportunities to obtain a sponsor at the beginning of your treatment, that is not always the best time. Don’t push yourself to find a sponsor immediately, regardless of their viewpoints. Take the time and effort to find a sponsor that you feel comfortable around and who is a positive influence on you. You may find this person right away, but it may take time to pinpoint.
Set Clear Boundaries
When searching for a sponsor and beginning to work with one, it is important to set clear boundaries about expectations with one another. Discuss how often you will meet and follow up, as well as how you will communicate with one another. Keep in mind that this is a professional relationship. As you set these boundaries, ensure you are keeping the relationship held to a professional standard.
Risks of Romantic Relationships With Sponsors
As you go through the process of finding a sponsor, it is important to be aware of the potential risks involved with developing a romantic relationship with your sponsor. One major risk is the potential of developing a dependency on your sponsor. If they are helping you work through and stand on your own in recovery and you become romantically involved, you reinforce the need for their presence to move forward with your success. If there are any downfalls in this relationship, that can increase the potential of you encountering relapse.
When this form of relationship occurs, the relationship loses its core base, as it is meant to be a form of support. While the support can potentially continue while in a romantic relationship, it no longer is the base of it. Your sponsor is meant to be a person that follows up with your recovery journey and provides you support in your sobriety maintenance.
Dating in early recovery is generally not recommended, as your main priority should be yourself and your recovery journey ahead of you. Opening yourself up to a new relationship can leave you in a vulnerable state and take away from your focus. Meeting with sponsors should not be impacted by these emotions and should be used as a tool to further your recovery success.
Finding a sponsor in recovery is not always easy, however, it can be very beneficial through your recovery journey. When looking for a sponsor, there are many aspects to consider to ensure they will be a positive influence on your sobriety. Finding a sponsor with viewpoints and goals that align with your own can help you feel supported in their presence. Setting firm boundaries and ensuring the relationship is strictly professional is important to keep the focus on your recovery. Allowing the relationship to take a romantic turn can come with many risks for your sobriety maintenance. There are many important factors involved with having a sponsor, including the increase in long-term success. To learn more about the benefits of sponsors, finding the right sponsor for you, and the potential dangers of turning the relationship romantic, reach out to Spero Recovery today at (303) 351-7888.