If you’re committed to staying clean and sober, you need a sponsor. But finding your first sponsor can be a little intimidating. Many people early in recovery are leery of relationships with new people, especially a relationship as significant as the sponsor/sponsee one. Putting your trust into someone you don’t know may feel strange at first, but sponsorship is key to lasting sobriety. You can’t afford to go it alone.

Fortunately, finding a sponsor is actually pretty easy if you know how and where to look.

1. Go to meetings.

They only way to find a sponsor is by going to meetings. The more meetings you attend, the more people you’ll meet.

2. Don’t be nervous.

You might not be too keen on raising your hand during a meeting or introducing yourself to someone right off the bat. As scary as it is to step outside of your comfort zone, think of it this way: you’ve already stepped outside of your comfort zone by deciding to get sober. Plus, everyone there has been in your shoes and understands how you feel, so there’s no need to be nervous.

3. Just ask.

Finding a sponsor is as easy as raising your hand and saying you’re looking for a sponsor. If you feel comfortable doing so, go for it. Most members are grateful for the opportunity to serve as a sponsor.

4. Put yourself out there.

As a future sponsee, you’re there to learn. Instead of heading straight home after meetings, get involved. One study found that 42.3% of 12-step participants who found the program helpful were more likely to have been active in the program. If you don’t feel comfortable asking for a sponsor, volunteer to help set up, clean up or do other odd jobs. You’ll get to meet more people who can introduce you to more people while demonstrating your commitment.

What to Look for in an AA Sponsor

A good sponsor is someone who has worked through the 12 steps and is active in their own recovery. There are several other qualities to look for in a sponsor:

  • They’re of the same gender. AA recommends that it’s best for men to sponsor men and women to sponsor women. Recovery is challenging enough without the added distraction of attraction. Choosing a sponsor that you aren’t attracted to allows you to focus solely on recovery.
  • They have time to sponsor. Try to pick a sponsor who isn’t already sponsoring other people. It may be a sign that they’re a great sponsor, but you’re better off choosing someone who is more available.
  • They work with a sponsor. AA and fellowship go hand-in-hand. The best kinds of sponsors are the ones who are working with their own sponsors. They’ve experienced the sponsor/sponsee relationship from your point of view, and their sponsor serves as an additional resource in your recovery.
  • They’re not like you. You might benefit from choosing a sponsor who isn’t exactly like you because it forces you to focus on the things you do have in common: addiction and recovery. There’s safety that comes with having a sponsor similar to you, but if you’re looking for a sponsor, be open to all possibilities.
  • They enhance your recovery. There is no application or screening process to finding a sponsor, so it’s possible that you could end up with a sponsor who isn’t beneficial to your recovery. A good sponsor is a positive influence who is there to support you through the good and bad times by providing encouragement and optimism.
  • They’re honest. Your goal is to succeed in recovery, so you can’t afford to work with a sponsor who isn’t completely honest with you or afraid to speak up if they feel like you’re headed down a potentially dangerous path.
  • They make you feel comfortable. You should feel comfortable confiding in your sponsor. If at any time you don’t feel comfortable around them, it’s OK to pick a new sponsor if it will help you advance your recovery.

The sponsor/sponsee relationship is so crucial to recovery. It’s a partnership between two people in different stages of recovery who support one another and keep one another accountable. At Immersion Recovery Center, we take a comprehensive approach to recovery by employing the 12-step program and clinical and holistic therapies. For more information about how our treatment programs can help you or someone you love recover from addiction, contact us at 561.419.3349.