Anyone who has completed rehab should feel gratitude and honor the achievement of getting to this point. Being clean and sober is the first step towards a long lasting and healthy recovery. A sponsor is a person who has been through the experience and can offer support through the process.
Self-denial can be common for people in the early stages of recovery. For many months, oftentimes, individuals believe in the ability to handle things on one’s own without help. After such a tumultuous experience, relapse is a very real possibility, more so than at any other time in recovery. For this reason, a sponsor can walk with a person to help navigate the temptations and opportunities which inevitably come along life’s path.
When to Ask for Help
A sponsor can only offer help when there are noticeable signs of falling back into old habits and patterns or can see the signs based on past experiences. What is not always noticeable are hidden triggers or signs which go unspoken. Some warning signs will pop up and being aware of them, and knowing when to check in to avoid a relapse, can be lifesaving in recovery.
- Check in daily. A sponsor has been through the early stages of recovery and understands the ups and downs but does not necessarily know an individual’s exact circumstances. Sometimes a sponsor is well known to a person, sometimes they are not. In this case it helps to build rapport, and a friendship, to keep the sponsor/sponsee relationship healthy, active and mutually rewarding.
- Emotional ups and downs are part of recovery. Checking in daily with a sponsor, at least for awhile, can help allay these fears, anxieties and emotional highs and lows. A sponsor can provide reassurance the emotions are perfectly normal and part of recovery.
- Isolation can be a relapse trigger. When feeling down or lonely, contact the sponsor for support. Seek new opportunities to meet people or just get together for coffee to discuss what is going on. They are there to help, so let them.
- Holidays and times of stress are great times to call the sponsor. Stress can be a trigger for relapse, especially with the holidays which include parties and perhaps more time around alcohol or temptations towards drugs to cope with stress at work or with family. A sponsor has been there and knows how to provide strategies for dealing with what’s happening.
- Loss of a loved one. When a loved one passes away it can be very emotional and may trigger relapse. If a family member or friend is sick or passes away, don’t hesitate to contact the sponsor to ask for support, guidance and possibly even as someone to attend the bedside or funeral. Sponsors provide ongoing help and support no matter the situation. The goal and focus is on recovery.
If you suspect yourself, a friend or family member needs help overcoming an addiction, contact Lead Recovery at 800-380-0012. Trained counselors and therapists are available to answer questions and provide support.