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If you’re trying to stay sober long-term, you probably already know that can’t do it on your own. One of the best ways to ensure long-term recovery is by going to a 12-step program. These programs are great for meeting with others who share your issues and receiving support and suggestions in times of need. Although the meetings are useful, the recovery from addiction comes from getting an addiction sponsor and working those 12 steps.
In the 1930s, Alcoholics Anonymous became the first 12-step approach fellowship, and it helps millions of people. Originally, there were no sponsors, but it was always about one person helping another. As the fellowship grew bigger, the people of the program created literature containing the steps they followed to recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous also believes that you need three essential parts in your life in order to stay sober:
The unity comes from the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous or whichever 12-step program you attend. Service work is very important because they say, “We keep what we have by giving it away.” This means that people stay sober by helping others who are in need. Lastly, the recovery comes from the steps, but it’s difficult to work these steps without a mentor, called a sponsor in 12 step groups.
Some people make the mistake of going into a 12-step meeting, reading the steps and thinking that’s it. The reality is that the steps are a crucial part of staying sober, and they’re very in-depth. What you read on the walls of a 12-step meeting are just what the steps are, but each step has a background and a way to advance through it. Your addiction sponsor’s main job is to take you through the steps so that you have a thorough understanding of each one and how it relates to life-long recovery.
Some may hear that an addiction sponsor is there to boss you around and make you do things you don’t want to do. This is an exaggeration, because a sponsor may give you instructions, but he or she is extremely beneficial to your sobriety. A major part of recovery is learning about what you need to do rather than what you want to do. A sponsor guides you through that.
Sponsors have two primary jobs, which are to take you through the literature as well as the steps. Sponsors give their time freely to you and may spend hours upon hours with you during the process at no charge. You may meet your sponsor at a meeting or even in a halfway house. They are practicing the twelfth step of the program, which is carrying the message to the one who still suffers. This is how programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous continue to help people.
Some people overthink the process of finding a sponsor because he or she doesn’t know what to look for. Some want to find a sponsor who has his or her exact addiction story and others may want a sponsor who is successful. This is up to you, but the main aspect of a sponsor should be that he or she talks the talk and walks the walk of strong recovery. Find a sponsor who is happy independent of any circumstances and who can teach you about living a great life free from mind-altering substances.
In the beginning, a sponsor is there to really support your recovery and talk to you during this difficult time. Early recovery is extremely difficult because you may not know how to deal with certain triggers that arise. A sponsor is someone who has more sobriety time than you and who has navigated through parts of life drug-free. He or she will be able to share their experience with you to give you hope and teach you a better way of living.
Beaches Recovery will help you get clean and sober. We can help you find a sponsor if you want one. Our aftercare program will teach you coping skills that show you how to participate in sober living. But first, you have to make the call. The number is 866-605-0532.