A reader asked us this: Is it OK to change my AA sponsor? We will address this question in this post to help guide this reader and hopefully, she will be in a better position to decide on her next step.
Well, if you count yourself among the thousands of people struggling to break free from alcohol addiction, then Iím sure you heard of AA until this point. Even though itís not mandatory to get a sponsor once you decide to attend the AA meetings, getting a sponsor is highly encouraged.
The reason I decided to join an AA group was that I thought being around people in the same situation as me could help me escape my addiction. Once I took this step, I started looking for a sponsor, meaning a recovering alcoholic who is willing to take some responsibility for me. In short, he would be the one to guide me through the 12 steps and provide me with one-on-one assistance.
Do You Really Need a Sponsor to Get Better?
Although the Big Book doesnít specifically spell out ďget a sponsorĒ, letís not forget that it also recommends that step 3 should be taken alongside another person. Therefore, if you think that you can handle all the challenges heading your way in early recovery and that you donít really need help, then youíre in denial.
Moreover, chances are that youíre still slightly confused from all youíve gone through and youíre not really thinking straight. So yes, if you want to navigate the 12 steps and make the best out of the recovery, you should get a sponsor.
What if I Donít Get Along With My Sponsor?
If your current sponsor is too busy with his work or family commitments and simply doesnít have time to guide you, then you should change your sponsor. Further good reasons to change your sponsor is him/her moving to a new location, a sexual attraction has developed between the two of you or when he or she is too bossy or controlling. Frankly, you have too many things on your plate to put up with this type of behavior!
In case the person has problems with his/her own sobriety, like it happened in my case, then thatís another valid reason to abandon ship. Although the sponsor is supposed to help with your newfound sobriety, that person is not a god, but a human being struggling with the same problems as you.
If he/she strays from the path and starts drinking again, the best thing you can do is move on and look for another sponsor. I wonít deny that a sponsor relapsing has some devastating consequences on you, especially when youíre confronted with withdrawal symptoms. Then again, you shouldnít take it as your own fault or as your responsibility. Remember that you alone are responsible for your own addiction and your own recovery.
Ending the Relationship With Your Sponsor
Although many AA members use the phrase ĎI fired my sponsorí when terminating the relationship with their sponsor, keep in mind that these people offer their time and experience for free. This is why you should make sure to end the relationship as tactfully and respectfully as possible.
Despite the fact that my first sponsor relapsed, I asked him to meet up with me before the ending the relationship. Even though I was rather embarrassed and was looking for an excuse to ĎfireĒ him, it was only polite to get together and thank him for being there for me in my darkest hour. He appreciated my honesty as well as my gesture and we terminated the relationship on good terms.
If you donít feel like your current sponsor is there for you or youíve experienced a problem similar to mine, then go ahead and fire him. Get over your embarrassment, because honesty and assertiveness go a long way in this situation. For more information on how other people managed to overcome their fear and embarrassment, check out our forum.