Today I was talking to a recovery friend about the value of sponsorship. While listening to her talk, I realized (again) something valuable about sponsoring others in recovery.
When I sponsor (and you can apply this to mentoring others, too), I’m afforded the opportunity to RE everything :).
You know what I mean. Relearn. Reexperience. Reteach. Reflect.
I’m not just walking in front of the people I sponsor as a guide. I’m also walking alongside them, relearning and reflecting on the very struggles they’re complaining about. I have a different perspective, of course, and I’ve already been there and done that. But there’s something eye-opening about walking with; I grow all over again through helping them grow. And boy, am I grateful for that.
Recently someone I sponsor experienced a traumatic break in an intimate relationship. It was sudden and unplanned. And it felt cold and cruel.
The only reason I was able to offer more than Kleenex is because I’ve walked that path already–and by God’s grace, I’ve climbed out of the pit and am on the other side.
But for me (and for others), it’s more helpful and meaningful to have a sponsor willing to walk with me through my worst moments and greatest challenges. It’s more helpful to have someone share their experience than to listen to someone list off three things I should do to improve. It doesn’t just make me feel warm and cuddly and loved. It genuinely feels like the hand of empathy pulls me up, out, and through.
I hope you’ll take time to extend the hand of empathy and experience to those suffering, to those you sponsor or mentor, and to those you love. They’ll be eternally grateful.