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Getting a sponsor can pay off for recovering alcoholics

The path in to and out of addiction can be a lonely place indeed. That is why group and one-to-one therapy is such a central pillar of rehab. It is also why Alcoholics Anonymous advocate sponsors – fellow recovering alcoholics – to help their peers work through the 12 step programme and support them on their on-going journey to recovery.

Residential alcohol rehab treatment centres provide 24-hour support and a community of fellow recovering addicts and alcoholics – as well as professional counselling teams – to assist an addict’s journey towards recovery.

Maintaining a programme of abstinence and addiction recovery beyond the confines of this structured support system can be a bewildering prospect for many recovering addicts. The transition back to ‘normal’ everyday home life is a delicate period, which requires careful handling.

Alcohol recovery is a lot easier if you have a sponsor

Most treatment centres will normally offer a course of aftercare, which typically includes weekly meetings to check in with peers and counsellors. But what happens after that? Well, this is where the support of Alcohol Anonymous’ (AA) fellowship can prove hugely beneficial.

The two-way street of sponsorship

Continuing to work through AA’s 12-step programme is something many people find helpful. One of the most powerful allies in this ongoing process is a sponsor. The main role of a sponsor is to help another individual in recovery work through the 12-step programme. Sponsors offer guidance, support and a listening ear to help their sponsee to maintain their sobriety.

This type of peer support is also a two-way street. AA’s founders realised very early on that the very thing that kept them sober was helping other people. In other words, members can talk through and listen to each other’s issues, to ultimately prevent a relapse for either party.

The focus of AA meetings is group support. However, many find the one-to-one support of a sponsor can foster an equally, if not more, effective environment in which to share and discuss their thoughts and feelings in complete confidence. Hence why the tradition of sponsorship remains a pivotal element of this 12-step group.

How a sponsor can help

A sponsor helps another person work through the steps of AA. They tend to have more experience in the program than the person they support, so are ideally placed to share their experiences and knowledge. Knowing that the urge to relapse can strike at any time, they also make themselves available any time, day or night, to talk through issues.

As sponsors have been there, and worked through the 12-step programme, they also play an important role in spotting the early telltale signs of a potential relapse. They are ideally placed to steer their sponsee away from temptation and maintain their positive progress.

As a bi-product, the relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee can turn into a solid friendship; people often develop a connection in sobriety that is infinitely more meaningful than anything they experienced while in the throes of addiction.

It is easy to see why finding a sponsor can really pay off for anyone seeking recovery.

Make us your first Port of Call. We can help you to access the alcohol addiction help in your area. Take the first step towards recovery by speaking to one of our advisers today. Please call our free phone line on 08000029010.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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