Reliance on Mentors in Recovery


In 12 step recovery we learn that we must rely on a higher power to get over our addictions. This means that we are no longer relying on self-will. We should stop trying to control the addiction or the situation and surrender. This also means that we cannot rely on other people to make us better. A sponsor won’t make you better, the group won’t make you better, your husband/wife won’t do it either. You may be thinking “Sponsors are supposed to make us all better though, right?” And my answer to that is ‘NO’. Sometimes people can be really helpful when we are facing our addictions but, sponsors or mentors or spiritual advisers can only point us in the right direction and teach us how to have a spiritual awakening.  No one can do this for you. Another big problem you may have experience with is if you have really taken the time to get to know your mentor, you may have realized that they are not perfect. I remember when I was first getting sober I had this perfect picture of what I wanted my sponsor to be. What I came to realize is that there is no such person, nobody is perfect, and most importantly, I don’t know where the hell I got the idea that I knew what was best for me anyhow! People who are new in sobriety have no clue what they need. When I look back at how I used to be its pretty hilarious. I’m sure in a few years I’ll look back at this time in my life and think the same thing.

Until we are aware of this we will always look to other people to fix us. If we get loaded it must be our sponsors fault, or the wifes fault! The truth is it is not their fault at all, I will say that there are some people out there who are just not good at teaching people how to recover, mainly because they never lost their ego to the extent one needs to in order to be useful to others. It is not their fault because the person who is pointing the finger had put their faith in that person. The problem with relying on sponsor or friends and family for ‘support’ is that humans are fallible. No matter how well intentioned they are, at some point they will not live up to your expectations, they will fail you. So how then, can we rely on a 12 step group as a higher power? In my opinion the group is made up of fallible humans, groups fall apart and go away, drama does come up in some groups and this is the reason that the group is not a good choice as a higher power.

If you are in 12 step recovery do get a sponsor, I am not saying that sponsors aren’t helpful, in fact a sponsor will save your life if you know what they are actually for. Even if you aren’t in 12 step recovery I think it would be wise to find someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to recovery, someone who has found their way out of hell and most importantly someone who is leading a fulfilling life. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that once you have this person you are safe. You have to be willing to do the work or it will not work for you.


About recoveringfrompowerlessness

I am a 28 year old female who began my spiritual path at the age of 24. I was dying of alcoholism, I felt completely hopeless and powerless. After 2 months of working a 12-step program I learned that I was pregnant. I was a complete mess and I was about to be responsible for another life. I had my baby and later found that the whole time the father of my child, whom I am still with, is addicted to pain killers. Even after getting sober and working a program my life was miserable. I was back in school but my drivers license had been revoked permanently. Basically my short life has been one huge hurdle after another. And yes, I realize they are all hurdles of my own making. Throughout the years I began to feel like that the program that I was involved in was not feeding me spiritually anymore. I am still involved, and I owe my life to that program, I just felt like i was merely getting by. I was trying to conform in a Christian-Based program and I felt like I was the only person who didn't share the common belief system. It took me some time to figure out exactly what was going on, I was not being my authentic self and it was killing my spirit. By the way I am pagan, in case you were wondering. I am learning more about myself constantly and the more I learn to love myself the more I thrive in life and in recovery.
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