By

Tracey L. Kelley
Veterans With PTSD
The board-certified professionals at Willingway follow distinct protocols to help active service members, first responders, Veterans, and their families receive the attention they deserve. Through the Tactical Recovery Support Services, we create a culturally competent and trauma-informed environment, using evidence-based, customized practices to help individuals learn effective condition management and create long-lasting recovery. The Threat...
How to Ask for the Support You Need
Why is asking for help so hard? There are numerous reasons, but to continue to thrive in recovery and in life overall, it’s essential to recognize when to seek out the support you need. This is a learned skill that not only gives you vital reinforcement during critical times, but also strengthens relationship bonds—especially when...
Now that you’ve moved past the fear of treatment and are crafting a new life in recovery, you’ve learned there are many tools you can use to prevent relapse. Most likely, you’re part of a peer support group such as one of the 12-step programs—Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous, and others—and have the help of a sponsor. How can you make this sponsorship really work for you? We have some suggestions. How a 12-Step Sponsor Helps You To have someone in your life with an inherent understanding of what you’re going through was the initial intent of Bill W. and Dr. Bob when they established AA, the foundation of many 12-Step programs. AA’s archives note that when Bill W. was in the first few months of sobriety, he “was stricken with a powerful urge to drink, and this thought came to him: ‘You need another alcoholic to talk to…you need another alcoholic as much as he needs you!'” When he found Dr. Bob, the two realized that “through sharing, their own sober lives could be enriched beyond measure.” This is one of the primary reasons why many people believe following a 12-Step philosophy is successful for achieving sobriety: you’re never alone in the process. The larger community provides valuable connections, but having someone to not only rely on but also hold you accountable for your choices is what prompts effective, long-lasting change. While some individuals might have a therapist, spiritual advisor, or another influential person in their lives who will listen and provide comfort, that person might not comprehend or relate to the unique challenges of alcohol or drug addiction. So a 12-Step sponsorship is important, and forging a relationship based trust, respect, and communication is beneficial to your long-term recovery goals. Research also suggests that individuals who act as sponsors benefit in numerous ways as well. For example, results from a 2021 study indicate that “over the longer term, sponsorship becomes a meaningful and purposeful activity as it allows those providing it to be productive, make meaning and maintain a non-addicted identity. Additionally, sponsorship is a process which is beneficial for those who have little access to wider social networks.” 12 Tips to Make Your 12-Step Sponsorship Great You and your sponsor both have particular responsibilities in the relationship. Sometimes, two personalities don’t seem like a good fit at first, and that’s fine. In a 12-Step sponsorship, you’re looking for someone who can relate to your challenges but provide the additional support you need to overcome them. If you don’t seem to have a lot in common but the sponsor has traveled a similar path, that connection might be more important than liking the same college football team or types of music. Your sponsor might not come across as a friend, necessarily, but the two of you should be able to form an alliance to work toward good health and progressive recovery. Here are some points to consider. Set clear expectations. Clarify your goals for the sponsorship relationship. Discuss what you hope to achieve and how your sponsor can support you. Communicate openly. Foster open and honest communication with your sponsor. Share your thoughts, feelings, and struggles without fear of judgment. Be transparent, even when it's difficult, and share successes and setbacks without minimizing or exaggerating them. Respect boundaries. You both have a right to outline your limitations and boundaries. Also keep in mind that your sponsor has responsibilities and commitments outside of sponsorship. Practice active listening. This method requires paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication. If you’re not familiar with how this works, here are some ideas. Use your active listening during interactions with your sponsor. Listen to their guidance, suggestions, and feedback with an open mind. Be open to feedback. This is often challenging, but use the insights, feedback, and constructive criticism from your sponsor to learn and grow in your recovery journey. Be reliable. Honor your commitments and show up for meetings, check-ins, and other agreed-upon interactions. Take initiative. You’re responsible for making proactive steps in your recovery, such as attending meetings, working the Steps, and seeking additional support when needed. However, if you need more direction in these areas, your sponsor should be able to help. Ask for help. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help or guidance when you need it. But remember, your sponsor is available to support you through challenges and difficult times. Express gratitude. Show appreciation for your sponsor's time, support, and the role they play in your recovery. Respect confidentiality. You have every right to expect that what you and your sponsor talk about is kept in the strictest confidence. Be sure to clarify how this works between you. Stay committed. Without a doubt, there are overwhelming moments in recovery, but be patient. Keep in touch with your sponsor about other ways to stay the course. Reflect and evaluate. Take time to review your progress and measure the effectiveness of your sponsorship relationship. Make adjustments as needed to ensure it continues to support your recovery goals. You might also discover that a certain sponsor isn’t the right fit after all, and it may be time for a change. That’s okay—trust the process and ask another person to step into the role. How Willingway Sets You Up for Recovery Success At our Georgia and Florida addiction rehabilitation locations, our board-certified professionals respect the 12-Step process, and it’s one of many recovery tools we offer our clients. We also provide the CaredFor app and valuable connection and inspiration through our continuing care community groups, available all over the Southeast, so you can join other people on a recovery journey filled with hope and purpose. Call us today to learn more.
Now that you’ve moved past the fear of treatment and are crafting a new life in recovery, you’ve learned there are many tools you can use to prevent relapse. Most likely, you’re part of a peer support group such as one of the 12-step programs—Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous, and others—and have the help of...
Concept of teenage depression and isolation.
When people struggle with trauma, they often strive to project an aspect of normalcy. If they haven’t sought professional treatment to remedy the effects of trauma, or a therapeutic approach wasn’t successful, or they have addiction in the family, they frequently default to coping mechanisms as a shield. The connection between trauma and substance use...
Inspiring Stories for Healthy Living, Stories for Healthy Living
All of us are unique beings with strengths and challenges. That said, once you’ve moved past fear and into treatment, your recovery toolbox might benefit from other people’s inspiring stories as a compass to help maintain healthy life choices. Here are some of our favorites that may add to your motivation.  Your Inspired Self  What...
Moving Past Vicodin Addiction and Into Treatment, Vicodin Addiction, Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Once one of the most widely-prescribed drugs in the U.S., Vicodin was a fixed-dose combination analgesic containing hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. Then in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration put new restrictions on its formulation, along with that of Vicodin ES and Vicodin HP, and those three particular brands were discontinued.  However, there’s still a...
Explore Your Creativity and Boost Recovery Success, Philosophy of Creativity, Exploring Your Creativity,
It’s a common misconception that creativity is only reserved for people who paint, draw, write, sing, and so on. In reality, all of us have the potential to explore creativity in different ways, developing a sense of satisfaction that fuels our recovery success. We offer these tips for tapping into your imagination and innovation.  The...
SMART Recovery, The Differences Between SMART Recovery and the 12-Steps
Most addiction rehabilitation centers introduce their clients to 12-Step recovery education and meetings. Willingway uses this approach in our treatment programs as well. For many people, the 12-Step philosophy provides essential accountability, foundational progress, and community. There are also other mutual aid support programs individuals turn to as additional reinforcement for sober living. For example,...
Generational Addiction, Addiction in the Family Tree
Scientific facts help dispel addiction myths and stigmas and also empower people to look more closely at the root causes for this disease. So while it’s true that heredity is approximately half of an individual’s risk for addiction, it’s also true that this family characteristic doesn’t mean you’re doomed—it’s simply another fact you have to...
Not Into Resolutions? Set Actionable Goals Instead
If you’re not reading this at the beginning of the new year, no worries. Many people aren’t into the typical resolutions, but setting actionable goals can be done anytime. In fact, if you’re trying to expand purpose in recovery, you might find that creating a new direction or establishing better habits might be achieved more...
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