Millions of Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and the first step toward an ultimately successful treatment is finding a sponsor to introduce them to a recovery program to help them stay sober and drug free.
A sponsor is a person who acclimates a newcomer to a proper treatment program. This individual helps educate the person on how the program works, and warns of pitfalls and challenges along the way. Most sponsors allow the person they introduced to the program to call them whenever they need support or help and are usually more than willing to offer advice and act as a guide as the person goes through the peaks and valleys of early recovery. Other things sponsors usually do for those getting started in rehabilitation programs include the following:
- Helping the person stay free from substance abuse
- Help to prevent the newcomer from relapsing during those crucial first days
- Makes sure the newcomer understands the program
- Helps the person get to meetings and encourages consistent attendance
- Introduces the newcomer to other members so that he or she feels welcome
Getting sponsored by another individual is quite easy. All one must do is attend a meeting such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and simply make his or her desires known. In most cases, asking will not be necessary, but once it becomes common knowledge that one is in need of such an individual, several people will probably volunteer. When choosing a sponsor, it is important to select one who has spent a significant amount of time in recovery, as such experience will help that person to guide the newcomer. An individual should also choose someone who respects his or her views and who will not force his or her own personal opinions on the new person. Sponsors who seem overbearing or pretend to be right a hundred percent of the time may not be a good fit for most people who are new to addiction programs.
When Sponsors Relapse
Unfortunately, no one is immune to relapse. Therefore, it is possible that the person who originally sponsored the individual in need of treatment may “fall off the wagon” and find himself or herself abusing substances once again. If this happens, the most important thing for the individual to do is immediately find a new person to take his or her place. It is never wise to fall into the trap of trying to “save” the person who has relapsed, especially if one is still a newcomer. Those just getting started must focus exclusively on their own rehabilitation before trying to help others.
Virtually all individuals who struggle with addiction can find help by being sponsored into a 12 step program or other type of rehabilitation therapy. Fortunately, many people are willing to act as sponsors for individuals struggling with substance abuse problems. Therefore, no one suffering from drug or alcohol dependency or abuse should delay seeking help for their problem.