Sponsoring a Recovering Addict

addict sponsorAs our society becomes more aware of what addiction is, people as a whole are becoming more compassionate toward the plight of an addict. What used to be seen as an undesirable quality in a person is now understood as a complex disease that requires a great deal of support and work in order to beat. That is why many people are asking what they can do to help recovering addicts. One thing that a drug or alcohol abuse rehab centers or support group is always in need of is people who are willing to sponsor a recovering addict to help them along the road of sobriety. A sponsor may lend support through in person meetings, phone calls or written communication.

In-person meetings between a sponsor and an addict are usually arranged in advance and are often reoccurring. Because a sponsor acts as an accountability partner, reoccurring meetings serve the purpose of checking on the recovering addict’s progress. They give the person the chance to talk with someone about their recovery, express how they are feeling, communicate any struggles they have been going through and receive advice, support and encouragement. In-person meetings are important because they usually achieve the most honest and personal communication.

One of the most important functions of a sponsor is to be available by phone when the recovering addict is in a time of need. A sponsor’s duty is to do everything within their power to encourage the addict to refrain from their addiction, so when something triggers them and they are in danger of relapsing, a support system that can be available at a moments notice is critical. A sponsor should be available most of the time, within reason, via phone to the recovering addict that they sponsor and be ready to do what they can to pull them back from relapse through love and encouragement.

Written communication between a sponsor and an addict can be particularly useful to people who express themselves well through writing. This form of communication is very valuable when a recovering addict needs to explore in depth their thoughts and feelings about their recovery journey recovery. Sponsors should be prepared to write well-thought out responses to any written communication they receive from the person they sponsor.

Volunteer as an Addict Sponsor

addict sponsor volunteerWhen you volunteer to be a sponsor for an addict, you are much more than just an acquaintance to them. You serve as an important reminder to them of the valuable lessons of recovery that will help them get their lives back on track. People who sponsor addicts are not paid for their work. It is entirely on a volunteer basis. Often times, sponsors are former addicts who fought for a recovery of their own, and can offer invaluable insight to the recovering addict who is looking to them for support. Addiction service centers and networks are in need of reliable sponsors and are eager to generate interest.

Addiction is a largely misunderstood thing. Addicts are often met with more criticism than they are met with support in the world. Even recovering addicts who are fighting so hard to regain their lives often get their faults thrown in their faces. Addict sponsors are available to addicts to counteract the negative judgments and stigmas that they encounter in the world. Where their support system may not be reliable enough to lift them up when they are struggling, a sponsor will fit the role of supporter and encourager. This simple gesture can make more of a difference than a whole pile of self-help books. There is no kind of help that people respond more dramatically to than that of a caring relationship.

If you have the desire and the ability to volunteer as a sponsor to an addict, the addiction treatment services industry would love to hear from you. Simply contact any rehabilitation center, addiction treatment facility or addiction support organization in your area to plug yourself into the network. There is typically a screening process to determine your eligibility to serve as a sponsor, but it is not rigorous. Simply demonstrate your compassion for addiction and your desire to serve and empathize with those who are struggling with it and you can begin your personal journey of serving those who want to make a recovery. North America contains many rehabilitation centers that could greatly benefit from sponsor volunteer services, such as the overtaxed substance abuse treatment centers in downtown Los Angeles or the overcrowded drug rehabs in British Columbia.

What Does an Addict Sponsor Do

addict sponsorshipA person who sponsors an addict is essentially there for them when they encounter problems in their recovery. When an addict is in rehab for their addiction, they are protected from their addiction around the clock. The walls of the rehab as well as the rehab staff make the environment controlled and safe from objects of addiction. However, when an addict re-enters the world and they encounter triggers that put them in danger of relapsing, they are in critical need of a support system to turn to for encouragement. Those who volunteer as sponsors to recovering addicts make themselves selflessly available to the addict in moments of need around a predetermined schedule.

A majority of the time a sponsor gives to the recovering addict is over the phone. A recovering addict can encounter a trigger anytime day or night. If they relapse, they are putting themselves in danger. Not every relapse is a crisis. Some people pick up and start again on their recovery the following day. However, some people binge to an extreme and put their health, or even their life, in jeopardy. A sponsor being available to them to encourage them to follow the lessons of their recovery can make all the difference. Sometimes, it can even mean the difference between life and death.

At other times, a meeting between a recovering addict and a sponsor may take place in person. These meetings are usually scheduled in advance and are a planned part of the recovering addict’s ongoing aftercare treatment. Some organizations that provide sponsors have the sponsor keep a log of the recovering addict’s progress, which is often collected at these in person meetings. And lastly, written communication is another means of recovering addicts and their sponsors keeping in touch. E-mails and written letters are sometimes exchanged in non-critical situations, or when a recovering addict is growing in independence in their recovery. Sponsors cannot save a recovering addict from relapsing. Ultimately that responsibility is on the recovering addict themselves. They can, however, fill a critical role in the recovering addict’s lives as their support system and encourager.

What is an Addict Sponsor

sponsor an addictAn addict’s sponsor plays an important role in their addiction recovery. A sponsor will serve as a lifeline to the addict when they feel like they are sinking. The most important thing a sponsor offers to an addict is support and relationship. Because recovering addicts are often in need of a stable support system to help them through the difficult moments in recovery, they can benefit greatly from a designated person to reach out to for this purpose. Sponsors who are assigned through an addiction treatment service undergo an evaluation, but there is no rigorous criteria involved in becoming an addict’s sponsor. It is a volunteer task open to people who are mentally healthy and who can empathize with the plight of a recovering addict.
The function of a sponsor is to be available to the recovering addict, both in moments of reflection and moments of desperation. There are, of course, boundaries set to protect the sponsor, but simply by making themselves available to the addict when they are in need is what makes all the difference. Many addicts have largely lost their personal relationships to the strain the addiction created. Others are enabled by their former support systems and are in need of new ones. It is very common for addicts to have few people to turn to when they are just beginning their recovery.
The ways a sponsor is available to an addict is by phone primarily, but sometimes in person or in written communication as well. The most important thing a sponsor does is offer the recovering addict support in times of crisis and struggle. Recovering addicts will encounter opportunities to relapse and will find it very difficult to stay strong, especially when they are new to recovery. In these moments, the voice of an encourager is invaluable. Most people who struggle with addiction do so largely because they have had a volatile life, which means that they are still susceptible to moments of mental crisis and breakdown. The sponsor is also to be available to them in these moments, and know when to refer them to a professional counselor.