First of all, you’ve probably heard people throw around the phrase, “I have to fire my sponsor.” This isn’t the most tactful way of putting things but, essentially, it means that you’ve decided – for whatever reason – that the sponsor you’ve been working with isn’t working out and that you’ve decided to ask someone else to sponsor you, instead. Phew! That’s a lot longer to describe than simply saying you “fired” your sponsor and therefore probably why people say it like that.
Switching sponsors is a perfectly OK thing to do – as long as your motives are pure. So, what do I mean by that? Well, are you changing sponsors because the first one is being too hard on you? Maybe they are actually giving you work to do and they simply will not co-sign your bullsh!t. These are all very good qualities in a sponsor. If you are looking to “fire” your sponsor because your friend said they’d sponsor you, instead, and you know this person so much better and they just understand you and you can leave things unsaid and they somehow instinctively know what’s going on with you, then you’re really doing yourself a disservice and possibly sabotaging your recovery program.
Very early on in my sobriety – while still in IOP, in fact – I was pretty much hooked up with a sponsor by someone who worked at the treatment center where I was a client. I was grateful to be put in touch with a sober woman who would show me the ropes, as it were. I called her one evening and she asked me to call her every night before we could get started on step work. She instructed me to leave a message if she didn’t answer. I was familiar with this little ‘song and dance’ routine between sponsor and sponsee: we would-be sponsees would have to prove our willingness to do the work and take suggestions by calling every day. After a couple of weeks of this, we’d finally get down to brass tacks.
Well, I called her daily but, as it turned out, the best time for me to call her was late evening and that was too late for her. I arranged some things so that I could call her in the late afternoon instead; she still rarely answered her phone. During our first chat, she mentioned that she was experiencing health issues – she was recovering from cancer, as well as financial problems, which made it difficult for her to come see me – which was our only option at that point since I was still in treatment. We did finally meet and she took me to a meeting. She seemed excited to be working with me but, we just never really got a chance to get started.
My new sponsor is, in many ways, the opposite of me. She is a lot younger than I am and, as far as appearances and personality go, let’s just say that you would never have guessed that we would ever be acquainted with one another; that our social circles would ever overlap. And that’s because I wasn’t looking for a friend or someone just like me to be my next sponsor; I wasn’t looking for an easy way out of doing this whole 12 Step thing. I took a suggestion: find someone who has what you want and who you think can serve you in your recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-844-422-6926 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist.