Sponsors: Giving Is Receiving, and Why It’s Important to Recovery
One of the guiding principles in a 12-Step program of recovery is working with others. People who have been blessed with the gift of recovery from an addiction frequently make it a priority to try to give back. This can be through leading group meetings, helping out with meeting logistics or working with another addict. These are all very important things, but the one that sticks out to me the most is working with another addict.
Working with or sponsoring another person who is trying to recover not only helps that person, but helps the sponsor as well. While the goal of helping another addict should not be motivated by selfish gain, the act of helping the other person can provide the sponsor with a sense of contentment. He is helping someone along the path to recovery the way he was once helped by another. Her guidance and advice can be extremely important to a person going through a situation similar to her own. There may be situations the sponsee is struggling with that the sponsor might have forgotten about, which she struggled with long ago. It can be a reminder and a safeguard to the sponsor on the issue. When a person has reached a point in his life that he feels recovery is necessary, he needs all of the guidance and help he can get. And a person that was once guided in his own recovery is the best person to provide advice and any first-hand experience he can.
A couple of the most impactful relationships are ones with people who are newer to recovery. Newer folks often struggle with things that more experienced people already have or are still battling with. More experienced people help by listening and providing advice from what they learned in their own recovery, from other recovering individuals and from the program that both persons may be part of. Whether the less experienced guys realize it or not, they help the more experienced persons just as much as the other way around. So, working together helps both persons get outside of their heads, which can be filled with their own problems, and instead focus on helping the other person.
Does this fix every difficult situation less experienced people face or every problem in more experienced persons haven’t sorted through? No, but it always makes you feel better knowing you’re not facing an uphill battle alone.
Questions for Thought
- If you’re a person in recovery or are familiar with recovery, what are some ways you have seen people give back to others?
- What is your commentary on someone in recovery giving back?