Often, the first step on the sobriety path is attending a treatment facility and then later a sober living home. In both of those environments you have a strong community of individuals supporting your sobriety. However, once those experiences are over, it can be helpful to have a mentor as an extension of support during what is known as drug treatment aftercare.
Mentors, no matter what area of life – career, health, school, spirituality, relationships, and sobriety – have proven to dramatically improve one’s ability to reach their goals. Some addiction treatment centers are now offering the opportunity to have a mentor as a part of their drug treatment aftercare – and for good reason.
Mentors can be a guiding light, a hand to hold through fiery times, and a companion on the bridge to long-term sober living. You may already know that having a mentor can significantly boost your success, confidence, and ability to create life change, including your ability to sustain your sobriety outside of treatment.
What a Mentor Can Do For You
One of the reasons why having a mentor as part of drug treatment aftercare is so successful is because of the mentor-mentee relationship. In psychotherapy, for instance, the one and only component that creates change for the client is the relationship he or she has with the therapist. It is the therapeutic relationship that supports lasting change in the client’s life. More importantly, it is this relationship that facilitates a client having experiences that he or she has rarely or never had before. This could be simple experiences such as feeling happy, moving beyond self-limitation, and staying sober.
The same is true in a mentor-mentee relationship. Of course, it’s a little different than therapy, since a mentor isn’t providing therapeutic services, but there is still a relationship. In drug treatment aftercare, that relationship can play an essential role in the success and sobriety of the mentee. This is especially true when the mentor encourages, supports, validates, and believes in the mentee. When the mentee feels this kind of support for from another person, he or she is likely to believe in him/herself too.
If you’re considering getting a mentor to support your sobriety, here are some suggestions to get the most out of your experience:
Set Up A Regular Weekly Day And Time to Meet.
It’s likely that your mentor has a busy life, as you might have as well. Having a regular meeting time can facilitate clear boundaries about when to meet, for how long, and where. It can also minimize scheduling conflicts.
Bring an Agenda.
Your meetings should be purposeful. They should have a clear itinerary regarding what you’d like to cover including the issues, concerns, and questions you have. There’s no point in wasting time so make sure to bring what you want to cover. This can also facilitate the direction of your meeting since in the beginning, your mentor may not know what topics are important to you. It’s important to know too that in the beginning it will be important to establish rapport. So although you might talk about interests, hobbies, travels, and social life, this in fact is not wasted time; it’s an opportunity to connect and build rapport.
Share a List of Your Goals.
A significant part of the mentor-mentee relationship is to have a guide that can facilitate achieving your goals. Those objectives don’t necessarily need to be sobriety oriented. However, there’s no question that by staying sober you’ll have a better chance at reaching your professional and personal goals. Clearly communicating which goals you want to receive support with will facilitate the success of the sober mentoring relationship.
To get the most out of that experience, the suggestions above may help. A strong mentor/mentee relationship can make a vast difference in achieving lifelong goals. There’s no questions that with the right support, encouragement, and commitment, you can create a drug-free and healthy life.
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