If you’ve struggled with addiction yourself and entered recovery, sharing your experiences as a mentor can lend enormous insight for others who are facing similar battles. Those who have recovered from addiction and are now living in sobriety are excellent resources for others who would benefit from guidance on this challenging journey.
In this article we’ll discuss the role of a mentor and how becoming a mentor can benefit you while giving back to your recovery community.
The Role of a Mentor
Becoming a mentor to others who are seeking to reinforce their sobriety is a rewarding and beneficial form of peer support.1 As a mentor, you can provide help to others in recovery, bridging the gap between professional therapy and independent sobriety.2
You bring your personal experiences and knowledge to those in a recovery community and offer them your friendship, advice and support. Your presence and your stories are proof positive, especially to those who are just entering treatment, that recovery and change are possible. As a mentor, you are a guide and a signpost that sobriety is possible.
A Mentor Inspires and Supports
Once you have achieved sobriety, it’s natural to want to help others reap the same rewards that come with living a sober life. Mentorship means sharing your experiences and your challenges with those who need to hear that someone has walked in their shoes and has successfully maintained their sobriety. It’s important for people in recovery to have a mentor to lean on, to learn from and to be able to reach out to every when challenges arise.
A mentor to those who are in recovery offers friendship and encouragement. As a mentor, you can also help someone build their social skills and make new contacts with others that can lead to future employment and new, enduring friendships.
Since you’ve entered recovery already, you are aware of your community’s resources that are available to help others maintain sobriety. Feel free to share which of these local services were most helpful for you.
Your expertise and first-hand knowledge will also be beneficial to communities like Real Recovery, as we advise our residents and organize local resources to help with aftercare planning. As a mentor, you can encourage and lead others to try out different activities. This can mean bringing together a sports team, hosting holiday parties or building a social network that is drug- and alcohol-free.
The Benefits of Mentorship
Mentoring can improve your confidence in your recovery and allow you to value your relationships with others in recovery, especially as you see your mentees grow and progress. You’ll also have fun as you connect with new friends and gain leadership skills at the same time. Giving of yourself, your time and your knowledge is deeply rewarding.
The staff and clinicians of addiction treatment programs and sober living communities have insight that they can share. A guide from the community who has also walked this path can be an invaluable addition to this recovery team, benefiting all involved.