Getting sober takes a lot of guts. If you’ve just recently hopped on board the wagon, get ready for an entirely new life to unfold for you. Some of us came here by external forces (family, court, work, etc.) and some of us came here by choice. Either way, if you have found yourself lucky enough to have landed in a rehabilitation program, there are some tools you can use to give your program a jump start. Primarily, getting a sponsor in treatment.
While there are a huge array of different rehab programs out there, twelve step based centers will often provide an opportunity for AA/NA meetings to come to you and/or bring you to outside meetings. This can be exciting and anxiety-inducing for newly sober people. Some of us don’t think we have anything in common with “those” people and we try to isolate as much as possible. However, the other alcoholics and addicts you will find in these rooms have been exactly where you are now and have been through a lot of the same feelings and experiences that you encountered while you were out drinking/drugging.
You’re going to probably hear at some point during the meeting, a request for anyone who is willing to be a sponsor or anyone who needs a sponsor, to raise their hand. The point of this is to connect newcomers with people who have worked their steps with people who haven’t. If you need a sponsor, I beg of you to raise your hand.
Why Do I Need A Sponsor?
As alcoholics, we have become masters at the idea that we run our own show and can control our own lives. While this is true, obviously it hasn’t worked too well for us. What a sponsor provides for us is access to the 12 steps.
These steps show us everything we have been missing, or abusing in our lives so far, and how to grow towards a new way of living.
And when we are brand new, we will see the list of steps in the meeting rooms and can be daunted, offended, or amused at the thought of our lives changing by working them. Getting a sponsor in treatment will help guide you through the steps appropriately, which will help you transition from a fearful, self-seeking alcoholic/addict into a human being of integrity, honesty, and love for your fellows.
I know, I know, it sounds a little corny, and a lot of us don’t trust other people enough to even want their help, and that’s okay. We have been through a lot. But I guarantee that if you find yourself a sponsor you admire, your life will become a whole lot better.
How Soon Should I Start Looking For A Sponsor?
Immediately! As soon as possible! The sooner we embark on our twelve step journey, the sooner we begin to heal! And healing for us is a beautiful and freeing starting point on our new way of life. This is why it is suggested to get a sponsor in treatment. Putting it off can be dangerous and lead to further procrastination, which is essentially getting one step closer back to a drink or drug.
Tips On How To Get A Sponsor
The first and easiest step is to get to a meeting. This could be an outside meeting that the center will take you to, H&I, (hospitals and institutions) where 12 step groups bring a meeting into your center or I’ve even seen some centers who have open meetings right there on campus. If this is the case, when the time for sharing starts and people start raising their hands, raise yours! Tell your name, that you’re new, and that you are looking for a sponsor. I guarantee you that at least one person will approach you to be your sponsor after the meeting. or connect you with someone who can take you on as a sponsee.
If you aren’t able to get to a meeting, start asking around your treatment center. There are probably some people who already have friends in the program who can either sponsor you or recommend a sponsor to you.
The Importance Of A Sponsor
They say to dedicate yourself to your recovery as much as you dedicated your life to your addiction. This can be tricky when we are new, and it helps to have someone who has been through it.
With your higher power
Sponsors provide us with guidance and help to direct us into a life built on trust in our higher power. If you are very new and don’t have or believe in a higher power, that’s okay! I had the same dilemma, and the thought of praying made me extremely uncomfortable. However, my sponsor broke it down in a way that I could live with. She asked me simply if I believed that she believed. Of course, I saw how happy and strong she was and I knew the faith she put into her higher power. So slowly but surely my mind was opened to the idea that not only COULD there be something greater than myself but that my life was worthy of the love and protection that comes from knowing that higher power. I never could have realized that without the guidance of my sponsor.
With day to day drama
When I first got sober, I still clung tightly to the idea that everyone was out to get me. I would call my sponsor about twenty times a day to complain to her about all sorts of small issues. She would lovingly help me to direct my thinking, showing me the difference between resentments and forgiveness. She also helped me to understand how I was the root of all my problems, and how to stop being my own worst enemy.
With your steps
The only actual job of your sponsor is to take you through the steps. And while we do tend to take advantage of our sponsors in early recovery (see above paragraph), we should only really rely on them for one ultimate goal, and that is to bring us through our steps. If you find a sponsor while you’re in treatment, you will have a huge advantage for when you move on to your next step, whether it’s halfway, PHP, or any other treatment that your center recommends you to do. Getting a sponsor early allows you to have at least one trusted support that can help you navigate through the ins and outs of the steps, your life, and everything in between. The steps help us to live a happy life, and our sponsors help us to live by our steps!
Getting Help For Addiction
If you need help overcoming addiction, treatment is a proven effective option. If you are a woman looking for treatment, Wayside House can help you. A woman’s treatment center offers a safe, supportive environment and our programs are developed specifically to address the unique needs of women. Call us today at 800-655-0817, our trained specialists are standing by to help you or your loved one.