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How to Choose the Right Sponsor after Rehab


January 17, 2018

If you have completed a stay in rehab and you are now attending a 12-step program as part of your addiction recovery, one of the tasks ahead of you is to find a sponsor. Having a sponsor can be a huge advantage in your recovery. What is the role of a sponsor, and how can you find someone who is the right match for you?

What Is a Sponsor? 

If you wanted to learn to run a marathon without suffering from a lot of setbacks along the way, you would hire a coach or sign up for a program to support you in your goals. That coach could help you out from your first mile to the finish line.

When you are in addiction recovery, you are always moving along the path of recovery, and you need someone who understands that journey. Others who do not understand addiction might see recovery as a process that is complete when you finish rehab, but you know that you need support for the long term.

According to, “a sponsor is another person in recovery further along in the process who acts as a recovery coach of sorts, sharing their experiences and understanding of the program to help newcomers get and stay sober.” Think of the sponsor as your health coach who has been there, understands the challenges, and can help you avert crises in your recovery.

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Try to find a sponsor who has enough time to support you when you need support.

What To Look For In a Sponsor 

If you were to partner with someone who could support you in achieving a healthier mind and body and stronger social relationships, who would you choose?

  • Your sponsor should have experience. Now is not the time to choose someone who is new to this type of assistance. Look for someone who has been sober for at least a year and preferably longer than that.
  • Watch how that person treats others. Attend 12-step meetings and observe the behavior of potential sponsors. If you do not feel that the person is respectful or supportive, that person is not a good sponsor for you. Look for someone with a positive, supportive demeanor. Look for someone who is an example of who you want to be, and you have likely got a good fit as a sponsor.
  • Consider what expectations you have for support, and find someone who can match those. If you choose a sponsor who is working full-time and has a family and you are a retiree, you may not be available at the same times of the day.
  • Think about what is important to you in a sponsor. Do you need to find someone who has a family as well and understands the challenges of recovery when you have young children? Could you choose someone who went through that process a long time ago instead?
  • Look for someone who would not interest you romantically. Depending on your sexual orientation, you might choose a person of the same or opposite sex. That can help you avoid additional emotional complications in your recovery.
  • Make sure that your prospective sponsor is interested. According to The Recovery Village, “just because someone is sober and has been in the program for some time does not automatically mean they are willing to be a sponsor.” Watch for a time in the meeting when sponsors raise their hands, and you will discover who is actually interested.

At Advanced Recovery Systems, we want to make sure that you have success after rehab. We are here to support you in your long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our ongoing addiction recovery programs.

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