Bring Your Sponsor
Suboxone patients and patients prescribed similar medications, this article is for you. A sponsor is someone who guides you through the twelve steps. Where can you find a sponsor? In a twelve step program! The two largest twelve step programs are Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). When patients ask me when they can taper off of their medication for opioid dependence, I ask them if they have a sponsor.
To get a sponsor, you have to go to meetings.
Meetings are where groups of people recovering from alcoholism and addiction go to follow a strict format of discussion for usually one hour. Often, there is a speaker who talks about how they stay clean and how the program of recovery has made their life better. Then, there is time for individuals in the group to speak about their recovery and problems they are dealing with. Newcomers are recognized and celebrated. It isn’t easy to go to a meeting for the first time. It isn’t easy to continue going to meetings. However, Suboxone patients will definitely benefit from meetings and sponsorship.
When you go to meetings, you will be encouraged to get to know the members of the group.
You can get phone numbers and freely call those people. When you are thinking about taking drugs just one more time, call a friend from a meeting first. They will understand what you are going through and give you perspective. Your new friends will help you to stay clean.
As you continue going to meetings, you will hear about sponsors and sponsorship.
You will notice that some people have a lot of clean time and they are happy and doing well in life. Many of these people are available to be your sponsor. All you have to do is ask.
If someone says no, don’t feel bad or take it personally.
They may have too many sponsees to take on another one now. They may have their own personal issues and they feel that they cannot provide you with the best guidance. In some cases, members of NA may be uncomfortable taking on sponsorship of Suboxone patients. If this is the issue, find someone else who does not get involved in your medical care. Whatever the reason, just ask someone else. Don’t let your feelings of avoiding rejection get in the way. This is about saving your life and getting better. You have a right to find a sponsor. You will find the right one if you keep going to meetings every day.
There is also something called a temporary sponsor.
This is a sponsor with no long term obligations. It is someone to help you out until you find just the right sponsor. Often, if things go well, the temporary sponsor will become your sponsor. Asking someone to be your temporary sponsor may make it easier for the two of you to get started.
Suboxone patients, when you have a sponsor, don’t be afraid to call.
Most sponsors want you to check in every day. It is just a brief phone call to let them know you are doing well and to show your commitment to recovery. Also, don’t be afraid to be persistent in wanting to begin working on the steps.
I am giving you this information as an outsider. It will make more sense when you start going to meetings. If you think you don’t like meetings, keep going back. Try different meetings. In this area of South Florida, there are a lot to choose from.
If you are my patient, I welcome you to bring your sponsor to your office visit if you choose.
It is not at all a requirement. Keep in mind that you will be allowing them to hear your protected health information in the room. That being said, if you want to bring your sponsor with you, I don’t mind at all. If you are a Suboxone patient, I would be happy to meet someone who is helping you to stay clean and recover.
Going to 12 step meetings, having a sponsor and a support group of recovering friends and working on the steps will help you to work towards being prepared to taper off of and quit taking medication such as buprenorphine, Suboxone, Subutex or Zubsolv. While some patients do take these medications for very long periods of time, many years for some, this does not have to be the case for everyone.
If you are looking for a doctor who provides medication assisted treatment for opioid dependence and addiction in the Fort Lauderdale and Broward County area, please call Mark Leeds, D.O., Osteopathic Physician, at t.