The program at LEAD Recovery Center is supported by mentorship which is given from clients in one phase of our treatment program to the next. Peer recovery support can be effective in supplementing the clinical recovery process. Even when a therapist and an entire treatment team is in recovery themselves, they can still seem like authority figures. Mentors and leaders in recovery are peers who were recently in the same level of care, yet were able to stay sober and progress. Having even 30 to 60 days ahead of someone in terms of sober time can seem like a lifetime. A lot changes and there is much growth within a short period of time in recovery.
Outside of our program, mentorship takes many roles in recovery. Most people who are part of 12 step fellowships find a sponsor to mentor them in sobriety and take them through the work of the 12 steps. After completing the 12 steps with a sponsor or mentor, one becomes a sponsor and a mentor to someone else. The wisdom of recovery is then passed on from one generation to the next. Here are a few suggestions for being a successful and effective mentor in recovery- for yourself and for your mentees or sponsees.
It can be hard to tell what you’re getting yourself into when you choose a sponsee. There is a philosophy in recovery not to say “no” to an opportunity to be of service. Some are just looking to meet the requirements of a treatment center, waste time, or not take recovery seriously. Everyone deserves a chance and help. HOwever, your position is not paid. Being a mentor is volunteered time. TIme is precious. If someone isn’t serious about recovery, remind them that while there is a lot of fun, recovery is always serious. It’s a matter of life or death.
Have Mentor Friends
Part of the “fellowship” of recovery is getting to “grow up” with a group of friends. For those of you who get sober and stay sober together, you watch each other transform into leaders and mentors. When you get together, discuss the work with your sponsees and mentees while maintaining their anonymity and privacy. You can share tips and experiences. More importantly, you can share the gratitude you have for being on the other side of the equation.
Make Your Expectations Clear
There are different kinds of mentors. Some are relaxed and some are tough. You aren’t a parent, a guardian, or a caretaker. You are a friend and a guide to managing the critical lifestyle of recovery. If your mentee or sponsee is meant to do their work, make it clear that you don’t work with people who don’t do the work. Those who are looking for a mentor and a sponsor are supposed to want what someone else has. You had to work hard to get here. While you should maintain empathy and compassion, you should also make sure they aren’t wasting their own time. One day, they’ll learn the difference.
The multiphase programs at LEAD Recovery Center are designed to help build the confidence and essential life skills people in recovery need to become autonomous leaders in their own lives. For more information, call us today at 1-800-380-0012.