An 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.