Being a sponsor can make for an essential tool on your road to recovery. Your sponsee can quickly become your confidant as you each share personal experiences about your lives before recovery and experiences during your life of sobriety. There is a responsibility that comes from being a sponsor, in that you help to keep your sponsee motivated and meeting goals; there is also a shared responsibility. It is important to remember, while your sponsee might see you as their go-to support, you too can still make mistakes. 

Just like your sponsee, you are not immune to sobriety slip-ups, mistakes, or setbacks. While you might feel unstable at times during your leadership role, try not to feel discouraged and instead find ways to learn and benefit from the experience. Understand that becoming a sponsor means that you have made enough progress in your recovery to assume this role. Remember, progress before perfection; your sponsee helps you as much as you are helping them. If you feel unstable in your sponsorship role, here are some ways to help you become the best you can be in your journey to recovery.

Addiction is Chronic

Remember that addiction is a chronic disease. Even after years of sobriety, it is possible to relapse. Such impulses can occur after a triggering episode. You might further stress about succumbing to them and failing in front of your sponsee. Remember that, in many ways, this is the essence of being a good sponsor. Use your knowledge and tools as examples to teach your sponsee how to navigate challenges—being proactive and courageous shows no invincibility in recovery, rather that there are effective ways to handle and overcome challenges. 

Talk Openly

There are no rules as to what you can share with your sponsee. Instead of feeling anxious and trying to hide your weaknesses from your sponsee, let them in. It is healthier for your recovery when you do. You can discuss your fears and weaknesses personally or in a group setting, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings and other group therapy sessions where your sponsee is present. It will further influence your sponsee not to withhold information or feel guilty or ashamed when encountering challenges.

Try to focus the conversation on how the idea of relapse makes you feel. Remember to express how you feel about where you’re at in recovery and that it is in no way related to your sponsee. You will feel much better when getting these issues off your chest and allowing your sponsee to partake in this journey of helping you move forward. 

Keep Your Network Channels Open 

The next thing to remember is to keep your network open. The sponsor-sponsee relationship is based on a lineage of sponsors to come before and after you. You may also have a go-to support system that you can call on for help. Such networks will remind you that you are part of a more significant community built on helping one another. Reaching out to support groups does not exhibit being a poor sponsor. Instead, it takes courage and stands to teach your sponsee to react the same when they meet challenges. The bigger your network, the more people you have to stand up to your challenges. Why play cover one when you can play zone? 

If you have lost contact with your sponsor or never had a sponsor, it is never too late to seek one out. If you wish to become a sponsor for another, it may be best to have one of your own. The strongest of recoveries exists in the strengths of the recovery community. You might even find a sponsor who has experienced what you are going through to share with you how they endured. Their experiences can also help to reassure you that you are not alone, nor are you the first to experience these thoughts and reservations. 

Look for the Lessons

There is no wasted pursuit in recovery or life. Whether you believe you are operating to your schedule or a higher power’s schedule, realize that every lesson and mistake is essential in telling your story. Sometimes this can even mean relapse. It is okay to make mistakes and experience setbacks so long as you can draw from them the lessons that help teach you how to move forward and become stronger. The way you rise after a mistake can be a more powerful teaching experience for yourself and others than trying to display and maintain this falsehood of perfectionism. As a person, you will make mistakes; as someone in recovery, you will make mistakes, and even as a sponsor, you will make mistakes. It is what you do with these mistakes that will determine the person you want to be. Always look for opportunities in the lessons. 


Remember, progress over perfection. Recovery is a lifelong journey that sometimes experiences setbacks, heartache, and disappointment. Likewise, recovery is also a journey that possesses meaning, possibility, happiness, and wonder. The best way you can pass the gift of recovery on to another is by giving it away and keeping one thing in mind while experiencing it yourself; always set your compass toward recovery. Never feel ashamed or guilty to exercise humility and reach out for help. If you feel unstable as a sponsor, do the best thing you can for your sponsee and seek help today. At True Recovery, we are a community that built upon accepting wherever you’re at in recovery. We offer both conventional and alternative treatment to ensure that we meet your individual needs. You always have a place in the True Recovery family. With 24/7 admissions, there is never a wrong time to reach out. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.