Why Is It Important to Have a Mentor During Recovery?
by 449 Staff

As kids, many of us had role models that we looked up to. Often, that person had the qualities we aspired to have as adults. Now in adulthood and newly in recovery, we can benefit greatly from finding a mentor. 

Building a relationship with someone who has been through treatment and has the qualities we aspire to have can keep us on track with recovery. A mentor can guide us through tough times and encourage us to keep going. When we make an effort to reach out to a mentor, we can learn things about ourselves and gain new perspectives on the challenges in our lives. Mentors can provide great insight into what we want and need after treatment. 

What Is a Mentor? 

A mentor can be anyone who has success in whatever field or area of life we seek to improve. This person should be trustworthy and happy to lend their expertise to those who want to learn from it. 

Many people have been mentored by coaches, teachers, or people who were more established in the job or field they were entering. There are college mentors, career mentors, and mental health mentors. Anytime we could benefit from receiving guidance about something, we might consider finding a mentor who has experience in that area.

An important thing to remember is that a good mentor is there to help us. It can feel intimidating to initially reach out to someone who has already gone through our situation and is better than us at whatever we are trying to accomplish. However, the additional experience they have is one thing that qualifies them to be a mentor.

Many people also find it rewarding to share their experiences and help others with something they have accomplished. If someone is experienced but not excited about communicating with you, they would not be a good mentor.

Why Is a Mentor Important in Recovery?

When we go through treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), we may feel at our lowest. Our lives have often become unmanageable, and we may feel as though we have lost control.

While in treatment, we should be provided with medical professionals like therapists who can provide individual and group therapy sessions. After we have completed treatment, those resources may not be available to us anymore. If we can acquire a mentor, they can guide us through the next steps of our recovery and help us stay on track with sobriety. 

How to Find a Mentor

A mentor specifically for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can make a significant difference in our journeys. Finding someone who has also struggled with substance use and addiction, came out the other side stronger, and stayed sober can help us envision how our life can be if we stick with the program. A mentor can talk with us about our feelings, and we can go to them when we feel like we might relapse.

To find a mentor, we can reach out to our treatment centers to see if they can connect us with successful alumni of their program or other people who could be good mentors for us. There are also many groups we can attend after recovery that can provide us with peer support and potentially connect us with a mentor.

Making the Right Connection

There are many mentors out in the world, all of whom have the goal of helping others. However, even an excellent mentor may not be a good fit for every mentee. Finding the right mentor is about finding someone you connect with on a personal and professional level. They also need to be someone who you can be honest and open with. It is also important that your schedules and preferred methods of contact align so that you can communicate effectively.

Why Do People Want to Be Mentors?

No one starts as a mentor. Everyone has to build up their experience and see where life takes them. Once someone is at the level that could qualify them to be a mentor, it can be helpful for them to follow through with that path.

Sharing their knowledge can advance their recovery further while fulfilling their desire to help others. When they share their knowledge, they are strengthening their skills by repeating what they know. There is a reward in sharing what we know with others and seeing them flourish as a result.

The Student Becomes the Teacher

The fascinating thing about mentorship is that it can be passed down to the next person to carry on the legacy. When we reach out for help from a mentor, they can teach us all that they know regarding recovery from substance use and addiction. They can help us succeed in ways we never thought were possible. 

They can be the shoulder we lean on when we feel triggered by cravings and the emotional support when we try to navigate our way back into the lives of our family and friends. Mentors can provide guidance and perspective about our situations. They can point out any blind spots in our recovery. 

Some people benefit greatly from this dynamic that they want to go on and become a mentor themselves and help the next people fresh out of treatment. The beauty of mentorship is that it can be inspiring and facilitate change for the better — for the mentee, the mentor, and the broader community.

Once we have completed treatment for substance use and addiction, we may not know what to do next. It can be easy to feel lost and alone. Finding a mentor that fits who we are and what we are struggling with can be a great way to improve our mental health and receive guidance in our lives after treatment. Our goal is to stay sober, and mentors can help us do that. They can provide knowledge and experience that we may not have yet and make us feel capable of handling the struggles that arise. There are mentors for many situations, and there is one that is ready to help us on our journey in recovery. We can all benefit from having a mentor. Mentorship is a great way to create a support system for ourselves after treatment. Call 449 Recovery at (949) 435-7449.



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