A sponsor is like a 12 Step mentor. She is someone who has been sober for a long time and has worked the steps. She is happy in sobriety and will help you through the process. A sponsor is someone who can spot the warning signs before a relapse and someone you can call when you’re having a hard time. If you can, you should stick with one sponsor, because the better you know each other, the more productive your relationship will be. Sometimes that isn’t possible or desirable. Here are some reasons you might need to change sponsors.
One of you moves.
You can talk on the phone or online, of course. However, if you have ever tried to maintain a long-distance relationship with a friend or partner, you know it can be hard. It’s better to have a sponsor who can meet you on short notice if you’re in trouble, which is hard if she lives far away.
Your sponsor is too busy.
If you need more attention that your sponsor can give you, it might be time to change. This is especially true if you are new to recovery because that’s when you have the most trouble with cravings and triggers. It’s not realistic to expect your sponsor to drop everything whenever you need something, but if she never has time for you, you might be better off finding someone who can give you more attention.
Your sponsor is frequently negative.
Everyone has a bad day now and then, but consistent negativity is often a sign of trouble. Someone who is stable in recovery should be positive most of the time. You definitely want someone who is stable in recovery because it can be hard on you if your sponsor has a relapse.
Your sponsor doesn’t listen.
A good sponsor should listen more than she talks. Someone who goes on and on about her own recovery and doesn’t seem interested in yours will not be able to help you much.
Your sponsor is controlling or overbearing.
Your sponsor is there to support you and give you advice, not run your life. She may sometimes have to tell you things you aren’t comfortable hearing, but it should be done in the spirit of helping. If you feel she is too demanding, dogmatic, or judgemental, you may be better off finding someone else. This is especially true if she starts expecting favours like washing her car or anything you aren’t comfortable with.
You have a bad feeling.
Don’t ignore your intuition. If you have a bad feeling about someone, it’s better safe than sorry. It doesn’t have to be anything nefarious; sometimes people just don’t get along. If that’s the case, just try someone else.
If you do decide to change sponsors, discuss it in person and make it clear that it’s not personal. Sometimes it’s just not a good fit. Thank her for her help and try to remain on good terms.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centres in the UK. Castle Craig treats alcoholism and drug addiction as an illness and promote abstinence as essential for long-lasting recovery. We help patients recover through an intensive, personalised programme that combines medical treatment, 12 Step therapy, CBT and other psychiatric therapies and complementary therapies. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 29, 2020