Content reviewed by Anthony T. Triola, Executive Director at New Hope Ranch

Finding the right sponsor can be intimidating. However, when you attend peer-supported programs such as 12-step programs, you will meet like-minded individuals who share similar experiences related to addiction recovery. Programs such as AA and NA allow you the opportunity to let other peers in recovery know that you are seeking sponsorship. Together, everyone can work to support you in your pursuit of the right sponsor. Having difficulty seeking a sponsor or wondering where to go to meet the right sponsor? Let’s explore the beneficial things you can do to help you in your pursuit of the right sponsor.

There are many benefits of participating in 12-step programs.

Most local communities offer 12-step programs such as AA and NA. They are among the best places to make lasting connections and find an appropriate sponsor. Not only do these programs strengthen your local recovery community as a whole, but they allow you the opportunity to see that you are not alone in your recovery journey.

If you are worried about which program to attend, New Hope Ranch can help by providing additional education on what to expect and ultimately help you navigate the process. New Hope Ranch aims to help you feel comfortable, knowledgeable and confident when considering the best 12-step program for you.

Your sponsor should not be new to recovery.

Your sponser should be actively involved in the 12-step program and have at least one year or two years of sobriety. An experienced sponsor will have moved through the stages of the said 12-step program. For example, in AA, this could mean working through all the 12-steps and becoming familiar with the “big book” and twelve-step traditions. Such a person should have an understanding of how a sponsor functions because they also have a sponsor. Simply put, someone with experience will be able to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk.”

Pursuing a sponsor should be about putting your recovery needs first and focusing on establishing trust before seeking romance.

Often in early recovery, you will focus on restoring balance to your emotions. During this process, you might experience emotions that you have not felt for a long time, such as romantic feelings. Therefore, such emotions could create deception and negatively influence your decision when selecting a sponsor. It is essential to monitor your feelings and relationships with others when making a decision that will impact your recovery.

If you pursue a sponsor for romantic reasons, it could complicate recovery by developing dependency or resentment if things do not work out. If this occurs, it could cause you to leave the program and sour your opinion of a sponsor. Therefore, while choosing a sponsor, try to check your romantic feelings at the door.

Take time to develop trust with your sponsor.

No rule suggests that you need to pick the first person that might seem like a good sponsor. It is okay to attend multiple meetings before approaching a person to become your sponsor. Taking time will allow you the opportunity to get to know people and develop trust with them. It will also help you trust yourself and choose a sponsor with more confidence. Since your sponsor is a person you will share your emotions and vulnerabilities with, trust is critical.

When deciding, ask yourself if this person can respect and maintain confidentiality. Do they provide a safe space for you to be vulnerable and sometimes insecure? Additionally, a good sponsor will allow you to speak freely without judgment. You can develop trust and learn about a potential sponsor through your interactions with them and while observing how they interact with others. If you have any reservations, trust your instincts and remain patient. You will find the right sponser for you.

Make sure your sponsor has time to support you.

You might consider someone a great candidate to be your sponsor because they sponsor others within your group. However, the popular sponsor of choice is not always the best choice. You want to make sure that they have time for you, time to connect and check-in and time to really form a bond with and be there for you in times of challenge.

If you are new to recovery, it might help to select a sponsor who is available most of the time. It can be very reassuring knowing that you have someone in your support system that you can reach out to with any questions or concerns at any time. It is also good to form a relationship with someone to discuss your expectations and goals. Further, you will want to choose somebody who will have time to work with you, hold you accountable and keep you motivated. While you might want to choose the popular choice, it might not be the best choice for you.

At New Hope Ranch, we work with the top 12-step programs in Texas. Our primary goal is to find a recovery plan that will work best to meet your needs. For more information, please call New Hope Ranch today at (512) 566-3050