You may have heard the term “sponsor” from other recovering addicts and alcoholics, but what exactly does it mean? Sponsors are individuals within organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous that act as a support for other recovering addicts. These individuals have usually been successfully sober for an extended period and are in good positions to support others. 

What are NA and AA? 

Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are both organizations founded to assist others in becoming sober and maintain sobriety. They are both international, non-profit, unaffiliated organizations that are open to the public. NA and AA follow the 12-step program, a specific outline designed for addicts to reach sobriety. They also offer mutual aid and assistance for members as well as a welcoming community. While AA is limited to those struggling with alcoholism, NA is open to individuals with an addiction of any kind. 

How Do I Join NA or AA?

Membership to both NA and AA is completely open. The only requirement for AA is that you are/were an alcoholic and are committed to sobriety. NA’s only requirement is a commitment to sobriety, with no need to specify your addiction. To join a meeting in your area (which are currently being offered online) you can visit their websites to find links and locations. 

How Do I Get a Sponsor?

Getting a sponsor is something that, once you join NA or AA, you must take into your own hands. Sponsors are simply other members of the organization that are willing to support you. When looking for a sponsor you may seek out someone who you know has been sober for a substantial amount of time and who may have sponsored others in the past. Not everyone will be willing to take on the responsibility of being a sponsor so it may take more than one try. 

What Are the Benefits of Having a Sponsor?

A sponsor can serve as a role model and a person of comfort. Because NA and AA don’t regulate or manage sponsors, each individual may have their own way of going about sponsorship. Some sponsors may take a more active role in your recovery while others may prefer to have more distance — what works will be up to you. Having a sponsor allows you to interact with form a relationship with someone who has reached sobriety. This can help encourage you along your path to recovery. Sponsors are also frequently available to check-in when you need counsel and can coach you through certain situations, especially if they have been there themselves. You can think of a sponsor as a veteran of recovery that can show you the ropes and guide you. After recovery, it can be difficult to form new relationships; having a sponsor can help you re-learn how to navigate trusting and communicating with others. 

How Do I Know if NA or AA is Right for Me? 

While many people benefit from NA and AA, the programs may not be the perfect fit for everyone. Whether you’re not a social person or just aren’t ready to socialize with others, NA and AA can seem intimidating. However, both organizations are founded on compassion and community — meaning that if you attend a meeting you will be guaranteed a safe and welcoming space. There is also not a requirement that you commit to attending meetings nor that you continue going after your first one. You are also free to just sit in and there is no pressure to share your own story. NA and AA are internationally recognized organizations that help millions of people every single day, you won’t know if you could be one of those people if you don’t give it a try. 

Are There Other Options for Post-Recovery Support? 

NA and AA are not the only organizations that exist that provide support to recovering addicts. Some people may find support within their community or church and others may look into other resources. Many smaller-scale post-recovery organizations may be of interest to you. In addition, after receiving care at a treatment facility, your care team may provide you with information on local resources and organizations or even connect you with them. Other treatment facilities may provide alumni programs where you can stay in contact with other alumni as well as your care team. 

Sponsors are individuals within NA or AA that provide other members with support and guidance. They can be great resources for those struggling with recovery or recently beginning recovery. If you are currently struggling with addiction and ready to begin your own recovery journey, call Rancho Milagro at (951) 526-4582. We are a treatment center located in the secluded hills of Temecula, CA, and can guarantee you a private and peaceful place to heal. At Rancho Milagro, we believe in treating the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. Our commitment is to your recovery and because we know that there is no one path to sobriety, we offer personalized treatment based on your needs. Rancho Milagro offers both detox and inpatient care as well as many different options for therapy. We also give alumni the option to return for a day and spend time on our private hiking trails or with the 20+ farm and therapy animals that call Rancho Milagro home. 

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