Submitted by Pat Moore Foundation
If you’re in recovery and have a sponsor, there may be a time when you feel as if you chose the wrong type of sponsor for you. Maybe there is a personality clash or his or her tactics just aren’t what you need at the time. You may wonder if this is your fault but know that sponsor changing does occur in recovery and it’s alright. Most sponsors understand that not all personalities or mentor philosophies are a match.
When you’re in recovery having a sponsor is very important for various reasons. They are someone you can be accountable to, learn from, share with, and guide you as they’ve been in the same shoes as you when it comes to recovering from an addiction. But what if you have a sponsor and you two just aren’t clicking? What if you feel like your choice for a sponsor was the wrong one? What should you do?
To begin with, keep in mind that this does happen more often than you think. Just as with any type of relationship, sometimes there’s a match and sometimes there isn’t. When it comes to sponsorship, most sponsors are aware of the possibility that they and their sponsee may not match and that’s quite alright. They may have even been in the same situation at one time or another.
Is it my fault?
You might be thinking that it’s your fault, but that’s not necessarily the case. You might just have completely different personalities, values, or philosophies and that’s alright. For example, maybe your sponsor is the type that is hardcore, all-or-nothing, and full of tough love and maybe you are very sensitive. You’re apt to take tough love to heart and feel badly, instead of feeling encouraged. You need more empathizing and less military boot camp style. It’s just a difference of personalities and it’s alright to acknowledge that and discuss this with your sponsor.
Should I stick it out?
Discuss how you are feeling with your sponsor. Let him or her know what it is you are seeking in a sponsor. How he or she responds may indicate whether you should stick it out or find a new sponsor. If your sponsor has an excellent reputation for sponsoring, is living a reputable recovery, and is willing to work with your desires and needs in mind, then perhaps you can stick it out for a bit to see what occurs. If you really feel strongly about something your sponsor is doing outside of recovery and this bothers you, feel free to let your sponsor know that you would like a different sponsor.
Will there be hard feelings?
There may be some disappointment initially, but most sponsors understand that switching does occur in recovery. They understand that some people just don’t click and a match is very important for recovery’s sake. You want to feel confident that your sponsor is the best match for you, as your recovery comes first in your life. Do your best to leave a sponsor on good terms.
Some recovering addicts will change sponsors years into the recovery program for a variety of reasons. Sometimes sponsors get busy with life and don’t have as much time as they used to for the mentorship process. Sometimes as sponsees grow they feel as if they need a different personality type. Some want more sponsor attention and some want less. Some sponsors stop growing in their lives and their recovery light goes dim.
No matter what the scenario, know that it’s not your fault if you and you sponsor are not a match. Sometimes things like that just happen and it’s alright. Do what you have to do to take care of your recovery needs, so you can be the best person you can be.
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