As you are introduced to 12-step recovery, hopefully while in residential treatment, you will be encouraged by all those you encounter to find and obtain a sponsor in your program of choice, either AA or one of its offspring. For those unfamiliar with the inner workings of AA, you may be questioning the need for a sponsor’s assistance, believing you are perfectly capable of following the instructions laid out in the Big Book of AA on your own to complete the 12 steps of recovery. This is a dangerous position to take for a number of reasons, as a sponsor serves an important role in your recovery program.
In early recovery we have not learned to truly hold ourselves accountable to the principles of rigorous honesty and unwavering commitment to our recovery. This is a practice mastered over time, but accountability is necessary during all phases of our recovery, especially early on. A sponsor provides this for us, offering a healthy level of oversight and guidance as we navigate our lives in early sobriety. Attempting to go it alone in early recovery would deny you this important source of accountability, leaving you vulnerable to your addiction’s rationalizations which could easily sway your behavior from that of healthy growth to that of relapse.
Another crucial role a sponsor plays in our lives is that of a non judgemental advisor, someone who we can communicate with about anything we are thinking or feeling. This is important in early recovery as previously suppressed emotions and traumas of our past resurface, requiring proper processing so we may move forward in our lives. Having a compassionate, understanding individual with whom to speak about anything in our lives, past or present, is an invaluable part of anyone’s recovery program. Without this sounding board for your thoughts and feelings you are far more likely to continue the unhealthy repressive behaviors which will prevent you from letting go of your past, trapping you in a destructive mindset which will lead you right back to your substance of choice.
Sponsorship is a key part of any 12-step recovery program and benefits both the sponsor and sponsee. For those entering the rooms of AA or NA for the first time, you may be resistant to the idea of placing so much of your trust in another person, especially given the isolationist mentality we form in active addiction. It is imperative you follow the advice of those in the rooms of recovery and obtain a sponsor as soon as possible. The support and guidance you will receive from this vital friend and advisor will do nothing but help you in your quest to achieve lasting sobriety. Set aside your desire to hide your flaws and emotions from others which served to feed your addiction and try something new to serve your recovery!