We’ve all had that feeling. We call up one of our sober friends because we’re just so mad about what our sponsor said to us. Can you believe what he said? I can’t believe him. Can you believe what she’s making me do? She’s so controlling. A lot of times our friend will try to calmly reassure us that maybe they have our best interest at heart. But if we’re starting to feel like maybe our sponsor isn’t a good fit anymore. What if we really don’t think that their advice is helpful, productive, or even safe anymore. Can we fire them? The short answer is yes. We are grown-ups. There is nothing that says that we owe anything to our sponsor or that it is a life long contract. That being said, it can still be a little tricky and uncomfortable. So here are some tips for approaching a potential sponsor switch.
1. Sleep on it. Don’t make any decision in a fit of anger or resentment. If your sponsor said something that pissed you off, give yourself some time to cool off. Then think about it again when you have some perspective. Try to consider the good things about working with them. Sometimes a pros and cons list can be helpful. Talk about your concerns with a trusted friend. But don’t make a decision you might regret, or say something you can’t take back because you’re upset.
2. Have someone else in mind and even consider asking them before switching. You don’t want to get into a position where you fire one sponsor and then don’t have another one. Especially early on. It’s not uncommon to ask someone else before making the switch while keeping it somewhat quiet before informing your current sponsor you’re going to make a switch. Which brings us to our next tip…
3. Make sure you tell your current sponsor you’re going to make a switch. The worst thing is for them to find out from someone else or to not find out at all that you’ve moved on. Remember that while you might be ready for a change that this is a person who has feelings. Also, they’ve probably invested a lot of time with you. Do the right thing and tell them to their face that you’re ready to move on.
4. Be grateful. Always show your appreciation for the time and effort they have invested in sponsoring you.
5. Don’t make it personal. Even if you hate their guts, keep your reasons for moving away from anything personal and more to generic ideas like you’re just ready for a change, or you’re looking for something else.
6. Lastly remember that no sponsor is perfect. That new person you have your eye on might seem to be the person with all the answers. But remember that they are also human. They might have some great wisdom and experience to share with you. However, they also have the ability to let you down just like any other human. Keep your expectations in check.
So remember it’s ok to switch sponsors. But try to use some of the above tips as you navigate this tricky territory. Take care of yourself and be respectful of others. And we wish you the best of luck with whomever you work with!