Completing treatment is a huge accomplishment. The next step is just as important: how to navigate the ups and downs of recovery. Once a person is clean and sober, it is important to work at maintaining sobriety. Myriad emotions come with recovery including anxiety, fear and doubt but a recovery sponsor can help an individual stay on the path in spite of the ups and downs.
Work the Program
It may be easy to discount the need for a sponsor in recovery but an honest evaluation may reveal what truly lies underneath the confusion, doubt and other emotions. Completing treatment is not a guarantee of sobriety, it takes small steps to work the program day by day. A sponsor who understands recovery and all it entails can help a person navigate the first, challenging, days and the ones to follow. Self-denial is common for people during treatment and those first days after it ends. Many individuals believe it is possible to handle things alone without a sponsor but the answer is not that simple.
Temptations are part of the recovery journey. Without a sponsor, a person may feel lost and fall back into self-destructive patterns going it alone. Well-meaning family members may be sole support during recovery but if family members have not experienced counseling or 12-step groups, it is unlikely family members will be of much assistance in recovery. Family is very important but so is having a sponsor who really understands addiction and recovery from a personal perspective.
Qualities of a Recovery Sponsor
For individuals seeking a sponsor for the first time, it can be natural to question what sorts of qualities are important to look for in a person. Here are some points to consider:
- Look for one with a variety of capabilities, experiences and skills. Excellent communication skills are helpful but so is one-on-one support and encouragement.
- It is not necessary to like a sponsor per se but having admiration for that person will go a long way to receiving well what is said by that sponsor regarding recovery. This also includes the decision making process regarding goals and life situations.
- Sharing things in common can be helpful. It can be useful not to have to explain things in depth, particularly regarding worldview and religion but it is not always a necessity.
Why Get a Sponsor?
For individuals in recovery longer than someone in early recovery, it may be questionable as to the necessity of a sponsor. A 12-step sponsor is important because recovery happens in stages. After a long period of time, current and former sponsors may become more like friends than sponsors (as it should be). It is good to build friendships and have allies on the journey. It may also be appropriate to consider becoming a sponsor to someone else on the journey who needs encouragement from a person who has been there and is able to offer support.
Recovery is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Hired Power provides resources for individuals in need who struggle with addiction. Call us to find out how we can support you on the road to sobriety and recovery.