If you are new to fellowship groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, a sponsor is someone who will help to guide you through the process and will be there to support you when you need it. For those who have been working the 12-step programme for a long time, their sponsor will become someone who knows every part of them; someone who they can rely on through good and bad times. And their sponsor is also their friend.

The idea of a sponsor may sound strange to you, especially if you are in the early days of recovery. You may not like the sound of having to lean on a stranger, and it may make you feel uncomfortable. However, as a recovering addict, a sponsor is a valuable support tool that you just do not realise you need right now.

A sponsor is someone who will take responsibility for your recovery and will guide you by helping you to make decisions regarding your wellbeing. Millions of people have found fellowship groups such as AA to help them stay on track with their recovery, and they have also found that leaning on a sponsor an effective way to stay focused and overcome their illness once and for all.

How to Choose a Good Sponsor

Because your sponsor is someone you will turn to in times of crisis, you will need to think carefully before choosing someone to take on this role. The great thing about a sponsor is that he or she will have no emotional ties to you and will have experience with addiction and recovery. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a sponsor, including:

  • Length of time in sobriety – The person you choose should be someone who has been in recovery for at least three or four years. Choosing someone who is not much further along in his or her recovery journey than you are is a bad move. Although some people with as little as two years of sobriety have proven to be excellent sponsors, it is wise to opt for someone who has been dealing with sobriety for a longer time.
  • Success as a sponsor – Choosing a sponsor who has already had success with helping other recovering addicts is astute. Obviously, everyone has to be a sponsor for the first time, but if know that someone has already been successful, there is a greater chance that he or she will work for you.
  • Personality – The person you choose as a sponsor should be someone with whom you find it easy to talk to. You should feel comfortable with this person and be able to confide in him or her.
  • Availability – Make a point of choosing a sponsor who lives near to you and who will be available to meet when you need to. Your sponsor should be someone who can answer texts or emails or even take a phone call should you find yourself in trouble. It is a good idea to make sure that you and your sponsor can meet face-to-face at least once a week.
  • Strong – Your sponsor should be tough and should be able to tell you things you would rather not hear. You do not need someone who will constantly agree with you or say yes to everything you want. Try to find someone who will challenge you or confront you should you find yourself heading in the wrong direction.
  • Active in recovery – By looking for a sponsor who is active in the recovery community, your recovery will benefit. This person can introduce you to various recovery meetings and activities, which will help to strengthen your recovery.