Sponsors, Mentors and Trust. Now that sentence is very interesting in so many ways. The weight of responsibility that lies within that sentence is enormous. What does it mean to take on one of those roles? What do you do when your sponsor or mentor breaks your confidence? How does a person make a choice about who to pick? Let’s start by examining a few definitions so that we are all on the same page.
Trust: the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability or surety of a person; a person on which one relies.
Sponsor: A more experienced person in recovery who guides a less experienced person through a twelve-step program.
Mentor: A wise and trusted counselor, teacher or guide.
Confidentiality: Keeping private or secret any information which is spoken, written, or entrusted from one person to another.
According to Narcotics Anonymous: “Sponsors share their experience, strength, and hope with their sponsees A sponsor’s role in not that of a legal adviser, a banker, a parent, a marriage counselor, or a social worker. Nor is a sponsor a therapist offering some sort of professional advice. A sponsor is simply another addict in recovery who is willing to share his or her journey through the Twelve Steps.”
Most individuals who take on the role of Sponsor or Mentor do a wonderful job. They are concerned about helping people in whatever way possible and often go out of their way to encourage and support. Unfortunately there are a few that abuse the position and cause, in some cases, irreparable damage. People feel hurt, shock, and anger while often initially attempting to justify the sponsor/mentor behavior. This allows the behaviors to continue until the sponsee finally “wakes up” and recognizes the abuse. So what recourse do people have when their trust is broken by the person they had chosen to help? The answer depends on each situation does it not? Unfortunately there is no one solution that will make sense for every person who finds themselves in that nightmare. Once trust is broken it is a very difficult and painful entity to recover.
Consider, then, the enormity of the choice you are making when picking a sponsor or mentor. Here are some things to think about prior to your selection:
This relationship is one that will either move you forward in your life in a positive, loving way or set you back years. The choice is yours so be wise.
“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” – Abraham Lincoln