Sometimes we could use a shakeup to bring back the spark in our recovery. If we’ve completed the steps with our sponsor and entered a routine, we could become stagnant. Your sponsor may be great as far as getting you through early recovery, but a new one might be in order once you’ve entered long-term sobriety.
It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. It takes courage to return to the hunt for a new sponsor. The first one we ask may not work out. They may not be as available as we’d like, or they have an overbearing style. We shouldn’t be hasty to jump into something else when our current situation may require an honest conversation with our sponsor on how you can grow.
Below we’ll look at how a new sponsor can jump-start our recovery.
A new way of doing the steps
A new sponsor brings a new way of working the steps. They followed a style that their sponsor passed on to them, different from your previous sponsor’s.
The new framework encourages you to apply the steps differently in your life. As you learn new ways of thinking about the steps, you may uncover methods for using them that you didn’t see before.
For instance, perhaps your last sponsor didn’t put much emphasis on doing a thorough 10th step inventory each day or didn’t bring it up at all. Your new sponsor may recommend the nightly inventory wholeheartedly and provide a guide for completing it, such as a worksheet or questionnaire.
Thus you begin reaping benefits from a step that you didn’t put importance on before.
Learning about another person in recovery
Walking each day sober with a new person is exhilarating. You learn about their lives, successes, and struggles. You may find their lives closely align with yours, or it could be radically different. Either way, we get to see how another person applies the program of recovery in their lives.
Sometimes, working with a sponsor whose lifestyle drastically differs from our own can be educational. We begin to appreciate the perspective of someone who doesn’t think or believe as we do. We begin to learn tolerance and understanding.
For instance, working with a gay sponsor could open our eyes to the community’s struggles that we didn’t know existed before. We can see beliefs that we took for granted that may not come as quickly to a minority group. We begin to appreciate another group’s perspective on issues like family and state so that we might question our own or temper the intensity that we justify our stance on the issues.
Seeing another person’s interpretation of recovery
As another benefit of the daily walk in sobriety, we learn how the new sponsor applies the steps and principles in their lives. We see them in action outside the meetings, and we can use what we discover in our own lives.
Do they use the steps on new problems that arise? How do they apply the steps to those problems? Do they wallow in self-pity or anger longer than they need?
When we are open to learning from others’ mistakes, we open up a new avenue of growth. Keeping in close contact with another who believes in recovery is an educational experience we should not miss.
Finding a new group of people through your sponsor
A sponsor puts us in their inner circle. They hang out with a group we weren’t a part of before, providing initial contact. In this group, we’ll find new friends and connections we can build on.
As we build up this network, we’ll rely on our sponsor less and have more resources to draw on. It’s fun to build a network of which our sponsor is a part. We become a group that gets through each day sober, and we depend on each other. Outings become a common occurrence, such as dinners and sporting events. It’s like being a part of that fraternity or sorority we never joined.
Finding new meetings
A new sponsor also advises on different meetings to attend. There may be unlisted meetings that they attend, where you hear a message you’ve missed entirely at your regular meetings.
Getting into a new meeting routine can also shake off any stagnation. You no longer hear the same stories and messages from the same regulars over and over. At the meetings, you’ll listen to different perspectives and obstacles that attendees face, and you may look forward to going again. You’ll meet others, and your network may shift to others who offer a more profound message for you.
As we see, a new sponsor isn’t just someone different we call. Getting a new sponsor can shift our entire recovery program. A different sponsor:
- Opens up a new method of doing the steps
- Shows a unique perspective of practicing recovery principles
- Provides an in-the-flesh lesson on using the program for daily issues
- Puts us in contact with their network of sober people
- Recommends different meetings
While the decision to change isn’t always easy, it could be a missing component if you suspect you’re stuck in a rut.