Why You Need Both A Sponsor And A Therapist In Addiction Recovery

Recovering from an addiction to alcohol is one of the hardest things that many addicts ever do, but it is very much possible. Thousands upon thousands of people across the country are able to take control of their lives once again and live happily without alcohol. As they say in 12-step meetings, recovery works if you are willing to put the work in. It's important to set yourself up for success by creating a strong support network that you can rely on in times of need. Some people assume that asking for a sponsor in support groups is all they need in addition to supportive friends, but it's important to have a therapist as well. Here's why you need both a sponsor and a therapist as you start to walk the path of recovery.

Reason #1: Therapy Is Not a Sponsor's Responsibility

Sponsors have a lot on their shoulders, and they may offer so much advice that it feels like that are giving therapy sometimes. However, actual therapy is not a sponsor's responsibility. Even if a sponsor just so happens to be a therapist, they are not acting in that capacity in their interactions as a sponsor. No sponsor automatically has a treatment plan to heal a sponsee's entire life beyond helping them work the twelve steps.

Reason #2: Underlying Issues Are Often a Cause

When it comes to dealing with the underlying issues of addiction, you need a trained therapist to help you peel back the layers and deal with the root causes of pain that compelled you to drink in the first place. Going to therapy on a regular basis can help you immensely in your alcohol addiction recovery, and the same is true about having a sponsor. However, they are two different things, and only a licensed therapist is trained to help you deal with the underlying pain and integrate it into your life.

Reason #3: Sponsors Have Limited Time

Although a sponsor is someone that you may be able to call up at all hours of the night when you really need a drink, the truth is that sponsors often have very busy lives. Many won't have time to focus on you for the full hour that you would get in therapy. They are happy to help when you can, and many sponsors are very generous with their time. That full uninterrupted time in therapy is important to deal with issues and know that you have that allotted time devoted to you.

Reason #4: Sponsors Are Not Trained in Psychology

A sponsor can be anyone who is working the twelve steps and is far enough along their journey to think they can help guide others in recovery. A sponsor has to meet no specific criteria, and they may have absolutely no training in psychology. Most don't. While a sponsor's advice and guidance can be a crucial part of your recovery, it will be even more helpful when paired with counseling with a therapist.

Finally, keep in mind that it's important to do all you can to make the right choices easier for yourself. Long-term success will depend on doing the work and being kind to yourself in how you make decisions. It's okay to invest in your recovery and put yourself first when it comes to recovery prioritization. After all, you have to be well in order to be there for others in your life in the most effective way. 

For more information, talk to a professional like Hope House Inc,