The time has come whether you are considering it or officially motivated to become a sponsor. Becoming a sponsor is a big decision because you’re essentially leading other newly sober people with your knowledge and inspiration. But, before you jump on board, there are some things you should know.
The good thing is, there’s no certification or training needed. You just need to feel comfortable with your own sobriety and work your recovery every day. It’s also important that you actually want to be a sponsor because it’s definitely not mandatory!
Some people may respond to being a sponsor better than others. They might feel more confident about it, ready to help and encourage newly sober friends to keep their recovery going. Others might feel insecure or not ready to take on the responsibility when they’re asked to sponsor someone. The plus side is, if someone asks you to be their sponsor, that means they look up to you. It’s a good feeling regardless if you’re ready for it or not.
“The best way to prepare yourself for becoming a sponsor is to live and work the philosophy of the program in which you have chosen to participate.”
You should have patience if you want to become a sponsor. If you’re sponsoring a newly sober member, you are the “leader”. They might call you at any hour, they could call you if they’re contemplating drinking or taking drugs. They could also call you after they relapse for help. Cravings happen all the time, especially to newly sober friends. If you want to become a sponsor, understand that you might be taking phone calls at any point of the day. If you’re agreeing to this responsibility, you’re agreeing to help this person conquer the same disease you conquered. And we all know how hard and challenging it can be, especially in the beginning.
Encourage AA or NA meetings
Introduce to other sober friends to help increase their sober community
Answer any questions they have about recovery and how they should work it into their lives
Make sure they have enough resources (literature, support materials, support groups, contact info)
Sponsors should encourage and motivate and help their sponsees. But sometimes it’s not so easy. If you’re feeling pressured or trying to help someone professionally, it could become a lot to take on. If your sponsee is under a lot of stress or acting out, it might benefit the both of you to suggest seeking a therapist. It’s not your job to be their “therapist” as a sponsor, and it puts a lot more time and stress to your life.
It’s also encouraged that your sponsee isn’t family or a close friend. You don’t want any hurt feelings if things don’t work out. This goes the same with starting a relationship with a sponsee. Leave the sparks and chemistry off the table and just be their friend and advisor.
If you’re noticing unusual patterns or believe your sponsee is using again, it’s important to help them. Build trust so your sponsee can talk to you and feel comfortable discussing options. If they’re in need of detox or residential, New Start Recovery could be a great option for them.
It’s a big step but it can benefit you and your peers. If you’re ready to take on the responsibility of becoming a sponsor, that’s awesome! Just make sure you’re ready for it. Make sure you’re well into your recovery, you are well versed in AA/NA meetings, and you have the resources. If you feel comfortable with it, your sponsees will feel comfortable with it, too.