Recovery ~ Support Systems & Sponsors

recovery girlThere is no mistaking it, people around the world, for all time, are suffering.  Every religion, every philosophy, every science and worldview see it, address it and, in most cases, offer a conciliation.  It is measured, studied, quantified and, in most cases, shamed.  Ready-made solutions are in more than the Self-Help shelf in a bookstore; they are in every store, bar, church and on every corner.  Nothing is more highly sought or more misunderstood than a way out of suffering.

People are not only looking for a way to escape from suffering but are also looking to recover from suffering.  In a seemingly endless circle, the bottom reached, a new RECOVERY comes into focus.  With luck, one is held together by family, friends, community services, and health professionals to begin a life that manages suffering.  Steps, tools, methods and comradery with like-minded peers, suffering is lifted to service and, surprisingly, reveals a capacity for hope.

Whole Life Recovery understands this complex cycle of cause and effect that brought a person suffering with alcohol/substance addiction to this point.  And understands what it is going to take to partner with an addict to build sustainable, lasting, sober/clean recovery.  Primarily it begins with peers, as words are hardly assembled by the practicing addict.  With one who has been there, done that, the explanation is not required.  Acceptance and unconditional listening is the order of the day.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ( SAMHSA) defines recovery as;

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Recovery is built on access to evidence-based clinical treatment and recovery support services for all populations.

SAMHSA identifies four major areas that support a life in recovery:

  • Health          overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms
  • Home           a stable and safe place to live
  • Purpose       meaningful daily activities
  • Community  social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope


Whole Life Recovery (WLR) starts where the addict is.
Beginning with assessments, WLR pinpoints what each client needs:
1. Abstaining from the use of alcohol, illicit drugs and non-prescribed medications.
2. Scheduling therapeutic sessions, group meetings, neurofeedback.
3. Teaching about healthy choices from nutrition to exercise.
4. The Sober Living Home is a stable, safe place to live.
5. Clients are assisted in building a new life with work, education and social participation.

WLR believes that each person who arrives at their doorstep brings their own individual story.  Though the substance and disease may be the same, the needs of the recovering addict are unique.  Together, in a team effort, a personal program is designed to pave the way to lasting sobriety.  This regimen may include clinical treatment, medications, faith-based approaches, peer support, family support and self-care.

With a watchful eye on life after Whole Life Recovery’s safe haven, the client is encouraged to begin a strong 12 step program and find an AA Sponsor.  This is more than a therapist, more than a family member, this is a person who knows the lay of the land.  They know how to sort through the BS and the truth and don’t mind pointing out which is which.  That is their service; their invaluable service to a recovering addict who may not know themselves.  There is empathy, compassion and a steady insight that one can make it through THIS 24 HOURS.

Whole Life Recovery can aid the client in finding the right person.
The Sponsor should:

  • have more experience than the sponsee
  • be secure in their own sobriety
  • not be the gender of the sponsee’s sexual orientation preference
  • be working their own steps and regularly attending meetings
  • have time for this new sponsee
  • be able to share confidentially

The Role of an AA Sponsor:

  • able to share their wisdom and experience
  • available 24/7 to hold the line should the urge to relapse be surfacing
  • a good friend – maybe at first one’s only sober friend
  • offers encouragement, praise and positive outlook
  • provides honest feedback
  • warns of signs of relapse
  • good role model
  • guides the sponsee through the 12 steps


The worst mistake a person, who is drowning in their addiction, can make is to think they can stop anytime by their own bootstrapping will.  This is a misguided idea that they can bear their secret, tough it out and simply change while living in the same circumstances, with the same ideas and the same gang of buddies.  Just one more drink to get through the day and that day is lost, most likely leading to more days of unmanageable resolve.

The best decision a person, who is drowning in their addiction, can make is to look around and see that others have figured this out.  I AM NOT ALONE.  Destroy the secret.  Recognize that it is the first drink/fix that will kill me as the person making the next decision is not me.

From the very start of AA, the founder Bill Wilson figured this out.  He needed others.  The success and hope sprang from discovering that they needed him too.   The shorthand of it might be that the dependence moved from addiction to substance to addiction to service but the guts of it is that we are not alone.  Whole Life Recovery knows this and offers a strong experienced hand.  Holding a safe healthy space; developing robust support systems of professionals, family, friends and finding a sponsor, WLR is in the business of hope.

SAMHSA defines it;recovery hope 2
Hope, the belief that these challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. A person’s recovery is built on his or her strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent values. It is holistic, addresses the whole person and their community, and is supported by peers, friends, and family members.