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How to Find The Right Sponsor

Finding the right sponsor for your recovery doesn’t have to be a challenge.
So, you’ve decided to get sober. Bravo to you! You’ve completed detox and treatment. You may now even be in sober living. Perhaps you detoxed at home and started hitting 12-step meetings on your own. Either way, all are amazing accomplishments to celebrate and for which you should be proud! However, the way you GOT sober isn’t quite as important as what is going to KEEP you sober. Even if you could “white-knuckle” it, as they say, and stay sober on pure will power, life may not be what you expected out of sobriety. So, what has been working for decades to keep people sober and change lives, you ask? The answer is 12-step meetings and sponsorship.

Sponsorship and meetings go hand-in-hand. One doesn’t work without the other. Meetings alone are not enough to create the change that so many in recovery crave. What’s really going to jump-start that inner change is working the 12 steps. The most frequent hang-up at this point is the need to find a sponsor to take you through those Steps. Often, people are afraid to ask someone to bring them through the steps. Another common question that comes up all the time is “Who should I choose?”

Finding the right sponsor shouldn’t be complicated, but a lot of people sure do make it that way. All the excuses in the world get thrown around to avoid choosing someone. Some of the classics include: “They’re too old!” “Too young!” “Too into recovery!” “I don’t know them well enough!” “I don’t like their pants!” “Not enough tattoos!” and let’s not forget “Do you even lift, Bro?” These types of excuses are typically reserved for someone who may not really want a sponsor at all. Any excuse, as a way out of doing those pesky 12 steps, will do!

If you’re truly ready to find someone to guide you through the steps and make a real change in your life, here are some quick tips:

  • Be open-minded – Don’t confine your thinking when picking a sponsor. Be open to someone who may not be exactly what you expect. You may be pleasantly surprised.
  • Pick someone experienced – Ideally, a sponsor should have at least one year or more of continuous sobriety. By no means is this a must, but it’s a good rule of thumb to go by.
  • Make sure they have something you want – A sponsor should have something you want. Whether its similar experiences, goals or just a vibe, make sure they’re a reflection of who you want to be.
  • Consider how many sponsees they have – Having a large sponsee network is a wonderful thing, but sometimes sponsors can become spread too thin. A sponsor with multiple sponsees may not be able to devote the amount of time necessary for quality work. Be sure they’ll be available to do step work and meet with you regularly.
  • If all else fails, pick anyone – If you’re undecided, on the fence or maybe not sure if you want a sponsor at all, pick one anyway. Even a temporary sponsor is better than no sponsor. Most of the time, a temporary sponsor turns into a long-term one. It’s always better to have a sponsor and not need them, than to need a sponsor and not have one.

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