Should I Admit to My Sponsor That I Had a Drink?

A combination of emotions may be experienced when a person in recovery has a drink or relapses into addictive behaviors. Having the discussion with a sponsor does not need to be difficult, but should occur in a relationship built on trust and confidence with the assurance the sponsor will support an individual’s recovery whatever the circumstances.

Reasons for Relapse

Coping with the feelings that arise as a result of relapse can be challenging to share with a sponsor. When the feelings arise, it is helpful to have a plan of approach:


While a person may not want to admit being afraid to a sponsor, fear of rejection may motivate a person to hide the truth. It is difficult to get a handle on how to move forward until the truth is out there.


Shame is a powerful motivator for recovery but may also keep people stuck in bad habits from the past. The present is the only thing a person can control. Making the commitment to not drink in the present moment is the best a person can do. Each sober day is one that moves away from the person that existed in the past towards who the person desires to become. Trust is critical in both the sponsor and oneself.


A sponsor relates to an individual’s situation because of personal history with drinking. Asking a sponsor to share about the experience may put things into perspective. A supportive  sponsor will not judge but come alongside to bring reassurance and compassion for the individual’s situation.

Have the Talk

One of the reasons a sponsor works with an individual in recovery is to support the person with challenges that arise in recovery and sobriety. Engaging in discussion about a sponsor’s past behavior and actions helps an individual feel understood. The sponsor is someone who has ‘been there’ and understands what it feels like in those shoes. With the right sponsor, an individual can reveal truth in a kind way that brings reassurance the road will be filled with others who have similar experiences. This may help the individual feel less lonely.

Letting Go

A hard realization in recovery to come to is that everything is temporary. A situation will not last longer than it will last, and once it is over, it is time to move forward. Recovery is a process of letting go of the past and present issues to focus on the future. Relieving oneself of fear, doubt and shame will help build strength and stamina for recovery. This will then bring an individual closer to the sponsor. The relationship will help increase a person’s ability to focus on the positive, rather than mistakes which are bound to happen along the journey.


Addictions are challenging, but recovery is possible. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your journey to recovery from addiction.