5 Fundamental Qualities to Look for in a Sponsor
qualities to look for in a sponsor
14 Apr, 2019

If you are at the beginning of your recovery journey, one of your greatest assets is a good sponsor. Your sponsor, who is most likely a part of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can bring you one step closer to a lasting recovery. Consider these 5 qualities to look for in a sponsor when it’s time to find your ideal sober connection.  

What is a sponsor?

The role of a sponsor is one that hinges on the concept of fellowship. Research exploring the responsibilities of sponsors notes they:

  • “do everything possible to help the newcomer get sober and stay sober through the AA program.”
  • “field any questions the new member has.”
  • “give the newcomer an understanding, sympathetic friend when one is needed most—it assures them that at least one person cares.”

Qualities to Look for in a Sponsor is a sympathetic friend

The connection between the sponsor and sponsee is a mutually beneficial affair. Sponsees get support from someone who has been in his shoes. Sponsors get to connect with someone who will help inspire them to remain sober as well as to help others.

If you or a loved one are seeking a sponsor, you can expect someone who will act as your mentor and confidant. She can guide you through the 12 steps. Also, she can provide valuable insight to help you navigate your everyday life away from drugs and alcohol.

Ideal qualities of a good sponsor

There is no best kind of sponsor. Sponsors take many different approaches depending on their style and the needs of their sponsees. 

Some may be more patient and concerned. Others may have a “take it or leave it” attitude. The relationship and communication style that works for one person may not work for you. It’s important to find a sponsor you can connect with.

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Let’s explore 5 qualities to look for in a good sponsor: 

1) She’s been sober for at least a year

Someone who has at least 1 year of sober time sets a good example for your future. She can also impart important parallels from her own struggles to yours. You know that she has been in your position and was able to push through the hard times.

She also will have practical advice on how to handle your initial months of sobriety. Having time to reflect on her experience with substance abuse will likely empower her connection with you. AA recommends a year of sobriety for sponsors as well as the idea that sponsors should be enjoying their sobriety. 

2) He’s worked the steps

It’s one thing to read about alcoholism treatment, recovery, and mental health, but it’s quite another to have experienced it yourself. Your sponsor doesn’t have to know everything about 12-step programs, but his experience can provide you with a more informed outlook. 

He can also take what he’s learned from his own sponsor to help deepen your connection with him and with the program. 

3) She is confident in and enjoying her sobriety

If your sponsor is someone who seems miserable in her recovery, it might not provide the inspiration you need to abstain from substances. However, having a sponsor who is excited about the sober life she has created can help you stay on track.

Qualities to Look for in a Sponsor, sponsoring helping her sponsee

Talk with potential sponsors about their work lives and their home lives. These things can be powerful motivators to stay sober. If they are able to bring out the best in themselves, it will be far easier to bring out the best in you.

4) He makes time for you

Sponsorship takes time and dedication. While sponsors obviously have their own lives, they are expected to be there for you as much as possible. You need to know that your sponsor will be available when you hit rough patches and when you simply need someone to check in. 

Often times, you might even have to call on him at odd hours. If he has a demanding job or is sponsoring too many people, you might find that you’re not getting the attention you need. 

5) She is invested in being an effective sponsor for you

You might meet someone at a meeting and see her as your ideal sponsor. Her take on life, her personality and her sober experience may inspire you. But she may not be ready to accept or invest in a sponsee. 

It could be that she doesn’t want the added responsibility. Or maybe she already has enough sponsees and doesn’t want to wear herself out.

Whatever the case may be, focus on finding someone who is excited to invest in your sobriety. In group meetings, there will come a time when someone asks who is willing to become a sponsor. Pay attention to people who respond excitedly to that question. They will be your best bet. 

people chatting at an AA meeting

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At The Blackberry Center, you will have the opportunity to begin the journey to lifelong recovery in our state-of-the-art facilities.

If you or one of your loved ones are struggling with addiction, we can help. We use a personalized approach to addiction treatment. Our focus is on treating the disease, not the symptoms. We put our patients first every step of the way.

Our substance abuse-only treatment programs include detox, residential and PHP.  Our on-site rehab programs focus on a comprehensive recovery approach. They address your physical, mental and spiritual needs for optimal wellness. Your needs are unique. We treat you as such.


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You may be struggling with long-term addiction. Or you may be fighting strong temptations. We can meet you where you are in your fight for sobriety.

We welcome you to our treatment center. From support groups to individual therapy treatment options, we are here to fight the battle with you.

Reach out to us online today. You can also call us at (813) 908-4199.


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