Paying It Forward

By Erica Sobers

Empathy and empowerment are the backbones of everything we do at UPIC so it’s no surprise these hardworking individuals who work advocate for women every day also apply that outside the office.  After all, our motto is Be Happy. Be Awesome. Help others with 1 & 2. Continuing with the theme of Mentoring Month I spoke with Natalie a UPIC employee who, in addition to being a patient care coordinator, is a Narcotics Anonymous Sponsor. While a mentor mostly takes on an advisory role a sponsor advocates for the sponsee. Natalie gave insight on what she does and why this not only is beneficial for her sponsee but for her as well. 

What is a sponsor? What do you do?
A sponsor is someone who is in recovery themselves that helps other people with the 12 step program. They are someone that you can confide in and talk to about recovery, addiction, and the 12 steps.
I am a sponsor for narcotics anonymous. I have been clean for 15 years and my drug of choice was crack. I help people in recovery who need someone to talk to that they normally can not tell someone who is not in recovery. I am someone that people can confide in about addiction, recovery and living a clean and sober life.


Why did you choose to become a sponsor? I believe in paying it forward. I want to help others, just as others helped me.

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” – Maya Angelou

What about this work is rewarding for you? It is so beautiful to watch someone go from their darkest moment to a bright shining light.  Sometimes people have trouble getting out of addiction because their self-esteem is so low and using drugs is all they know. They do not think they can change. Some people just do not know where to go or how to get clean. Sometimes people just need to know that they are not the only one who has struggled with addiction and they just need someone to reach their hand out and to say I can help you.

Often times the sponsor/sponsee relationship is mutually beneficial. Would you say this role has helped you? This role has helped me in my own recovery because I get to speak with people every day who are in recovery and I remember what it was like for myself when I first got clean.  It is not easy and knowing that there are people out there going through the same thing helps me in my own recovery. 

Any advice to anyone thinking about being a mentor/volunteer/tutor etc but doesn’t know where to look? Look in the place where you would like to help people. Most places like hospitals are looking for volunteers. If you want to help children or older adults then call around and say you would like to volunteer. Some places even if they do not use volunteers, they can refer you to places that do. If you need help finding somewhere, let me know. I can help you!

Author Erica Sobers has been with UPIC since its inception in 2014 and has had her hand in just about everything at UPIC.  She spends half of her time assisting patients through UPIC’s contact center and recently helped launch the move from one CRM to another. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @UPICHealth.

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