If you or a loved one is currently dealing with an addiction to alcohol, it’s likely you’re familiar with the support group, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). A key component of this program is to match those who are struggling with a mentor who has overcome their addiction. This person is known as a “sponsor”, and their purpose is to provide guidance to their sponsee during difficult times. You may wonder how to find the best AA sponsor, as it seems to be an important decision. Continue reading for some tips.
Don’t Wait for Perfection
While it is important to find a good fit, try not to get hung up on finding the perfect match. Doing so can lead to spending unnecessary time without the personal support that can make a crucial difference in the beginning steps of recovery. Instead, know that it’s perfectly acceptable to pick a temporary sponsor to help you along, with the understanding that you may choose someone else if your needs change.
Understand the Sponsor Role
A common misconception of those new to AA is to view their sponsor as a parental or authority figure. This can cause you to feel resentful of that person, leading you to rebel or resist their assistance. View your AA sponsor as a guide, mentor or coach. It’s important to remember that the purpose of your sponsor is to help you, not to punish, demean or intimidate you. Also, feel free to share your expectations and desires related to your relationship with your sponsor.
Have Realistic Expectations
Remember that your sponsor is not there to fix everything for you, nor to be the only support in your life. It’s tempting for sponsees to become overly dependent upon their this new person in their life. Expecting your sponsor to be there every time you have a question or crisis is placing too much pressure on them. It’s a far better and healthier strategy to cultivate additional supportive relationships in different aspects of your life such as family, friends, fellow AA participants, clergy or mental health professionals. Building a wide and varied support network will improve your chances of success and provide you with resources to meet your various emotional, social and psychological needs.
These three suggestions should help you on your way to finding the best AA sponsor for you or your loved one. A dedicated sponsor is one of the best tools you have on the journey to recovery.