25 Sep Do I Need a New Sponsor?
If you have been going through addiction treatment and recovery, a support group has likely been a part of your program. Support groups are wonderful tools for helping addicts newly in recovery. They offer mutual support, the ability to share experiences and—often most helpful—the guidance of a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has been through addiction and recovery, who has been sober for a long period of time, and someone who can give you the benefit of his experience.
Not all sponsor relationships stand the test of time. You shouldn’t feel bad if you think you need to request a new sponsor from your support group. Some people just don’t mesh well, but it is also possible that your sponsor isn’t right for the job. For your own well-being and recovery, politely ask for a new sponsor if you feel you need to make a change.
What Is the Role of a Sponsor?
The idea of sponsorship comes from Alcoholics Anonymous, but is a tool utilized in many support groups. A sponsor should be steadfast in his sobriety with at least two clean years under his belt. Your relationship should be personal, but is often anonymous. He is there to support you when you feel weak and as if you might relapse and should be available most of the time. You can also support your sponsor, but the main focus should be on you and your needs.
How Do I Know if I Need to Change Sponsors?
Requesting a new sponsor is sometimes necessary, and you should not hesitate to do it if you believe it is the right thing to do. Take careful stock of your relationship and be certain that you need to make a change before doing so. Having occasional disagreements with your sponsor, holding unrealistic expectations of him or simply wanting something different are not good enough reasons to make a request. Here are some valid reasons why you might consider getting a new sponsor:
- Your sponsor does not have enough time or attention for you. Your sponsor is not necessarily expected to be at your side at any hour of the day or night, but if he is consistently unavailable he is not fulfilling his duties. Furthermore, if your time together is focused more on his problems than yours, he is not being a responsible or caring sponsor.
- Your sponsor develops an attraction to you, or vice versa. The sponsor-sponsee relationship should be strictly platonic. Any hint of romantic or sexual feelings should be confronted immediately and are good reasons to look for a new sponsor.
- Your sponsor is bossy or demanding. A sponsor is there to listen to you, to guide you gently, and to help you learn from his own experiences. He is not there to direct you or to tell you what to do. If he sets rules or makes demands of you, it’s time for a new sponsor.
- Your sponsor’s attitude is negative or unproductive. Recovery calls for a positive and action-oriented attitude. If your sponsor is negative, lazy, or blames his and your problems on others your relationship will not be conducive to your own recovery.
- Your sponsor makes you feel uncomfortable. There are boundaries when it comes to the sponsor-sponsee relationship. If your sponsor makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, even if you can’t put a finger on exactly what it is, you need a new one. You will not be able to benefit from a relationship with this person.
Changing sponsors is sometimes a necessity for your own recovery. You may feel bad about hurting someone’s feelings, but you must keep your best interests in mind. Switching sponsors for valid reasons is completely acceptable. Make your request with the group and then speak with your sponsor personally. Most likely he will understand and support your choice.
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