When you attend a treatment program for addiction to drugs or alcohol, you will be strongly advised to join a support group or program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to help you stay sober once treatment is finished.1,2 Many of these groups and programs advise that you get yourself a sponsor, so here is some advice for how to choose a sober sponsor.

List Your Preferences when you Choose a Sober Sponsor

You may have no idea how to choose a sober sponsor, so it’s best to put down on paper some things you think may help. Write down a list of the qualities you would like to see in your sober sponsor. Would you like somebody who is extroverted, fun-loving and outgoing, or would you prefer a person who takes a more serious approach to life?

Your sponsor will become your mentor, so you will need to have trust and confidence in the person you choose. You may feel that a mentor who has shared many of the same experiences may be better equipped to help you. You may find that it is easier for you to trust somebody who has been sober for a long time. The fact that they have remained sober will give you the confidence to know that you can achieve the same thing.

Communication is Critical

One of the key things to take into account as you consider how to choose a sober sponsor is that you will need to be able to communicate with the person you select. In times of crisis, you may feel the need to discuss some very intimate matters with your sponsor. You need to pick someone with whom you feel comfortable.

Communication is a two-way process, so pick somebody who finds it easy to talk to you. Your sponsor also needs to be a great listener. What you have to say to your sponsor should have a higher priority than what your sponsor might want to share with you.

Sobriety is the Point of a Sober Sponsor

When you are contemplating how to choose a sober sponsor, it is important to keep your goal of sobriety at the forefront of your mind. Finding a person who can help you stay sober is the most important consideration.

You cannot know when or where you are likely to need your sponsor, so pick someone who is going to be available when you need them. You need to find somebody who shares your aspiration to live a happy and sober life and can help build your self-respect back during recovery. That means finding a sponsor who can remain impartial and a little detached.

Remember that your sponsor is not there to be your soul mate or companion. Do not pick someone you’re sexually attracted to. Getting emotionally involved with your sober sponsor may hinder your recovery.

Don’t forget that your recovery is ultimately in your own hands. If you choose a sponsor and later feel that it’s not a good match, then do not hesitate to seek out a new sober sponsor.


  1. http://www.aa.org/
  2. https://www.na.org/