Relapse

What to Do if Your Sponsor Relapses?

October 20th, 2016
Even sponsors for addiction treatment centers can relapse.

It is important to make sure that you have a sponsor to help you on your early road of recovery. They can quickly become your confidante as they share with you their personal experiences with living a life of sobriety. They act as coaches who will keep you motivated through every step of your personal achievements as well as setbacks.

As they establish themselves as your go-to support, it is important for you to remember that — just like you — your sponsor can make mistakes. They are not immune to sobriety slip-ups or major setbacks. Should this happen to your sponsor, try not to feel discouraged as you process what has happened. Your recovery journey is your own, and ultimately, you must do what you can to protect your sobriety. Here are some tips on what to do if your sponsor suddenly relapses and how you can still keep your recovery going strong.

Don’t Let It Break You

Just because your sponsor relapsed doesn’t mean you will be next. Your sponsor is human, and you should use their relapse as a reminder that no one is immune — not even someone who has decades of sobriety under their belt. Addiction is a chronic disease that has to be treated as such, always. This is why it is very important for you to have multiple people in your recovery network at all times.

Know You Are Not Responsible

You may be fretting over whether what you recently shared with your sponsor triggered their relapse, or thinking that if you hadn’t called them so many times, they wouldn’t have been so stressed to want to use again. No matter what you are feeling over your sponsor relapsing, know that the relapse is not your fault. Your sponsor is responsible for their own actions, including their recovery and what led to their relapse.

Talk About It

There is nothing wrong with talking about your sponsor’s relapse. As a matter of fact, it is even healthier for your own recovery if you do. One of the best places to share things like this would be at an AA or NA meeting. Just make sure you refrain from bad mouthing your sponsor. You don’t even need to mention their name. Instead, focus the conversation on how the relapse makes you feel and how it has impacted your recovery. You will feel a lot better by getting the whole ordeal off of your chest and allowing others to help you move forward.

Learn from the Experience

A positive takeaway from this unfortunate incident is that everyone in recovery needs support and needs to always remain active in their support network. No matter how long you have been in sobriety, going to meetings and staying in contact with your support network is crucial to your recovery. People in your support system can provide strength and hope as well as contribute their own experiences to help you stay motivated for maintaining a sober lifestyle.

Look for Another Sponsor

If your sponsor is able to return to the program once they get a handle on their sobriety, they won’t be appointed as your sponsor again. So regardless of whether or not they do, you need to move on and find another sponsor. Although you are probably dealing with feelings of abandonment and distrust over who you can forge a recovery bond with again, the fact is you need a sponsor to help you get through this tough time and the others that lie ahead. You will also need one to help you navigate through the 12 Steps and make your continual journey of recovery a little easier.

Don’t put your recovery in jeopardy because of someone else's setback. Allow yourself to open up and benefit from another sponsor’s support. You owe it to yourself.


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we are here to help. Reach out to Mountainside by calling 888 833 4676.