It’s very common for teens to want to experiment with drugs and alcohol. In fact, it’s part of the teen experience to explore life in all that it has to offer, including having wild experiences that drugs and alcohol can sometimes facilitate. Yet, too much of a good time with certain drugs can inspire the desire to keep using a drug, which in turn, can slowly contribute to an addiction. If a teen has experienced an addiction and is trying to stay sober, having someone at his or her side can facilitate sobriety and encourage a teen to resist the pressures of their peers.
Mentoring is a relationship that has existed for thousands of years in a variety of disciplines. It is typically a relationship between two people in which one person is a student, learning from the other. For instance, Aristotle was a student of Socrates, and Plato, who laid down the foundations for current Western philosophy, was a student of Aristotle. Someone who already knows the ins and outs of a particular field or discipline is often a mentor to those who are newly entering that field. Mentoring happens in medicine, psychiatry, the arts, cinema, and in education.
Mentoring also happens among those who are trying to get sober. For instance, a popular example of a mentoring relationship is the sponsor and the sponsee of Alcoholics Anonymous. Mentoring also exists among recovering addicts during after-care treatment. For instance, once a person has gone through addiction treatment, he or she might be assigned a mentor upon their discharge to ensure that sobriety continues. Mentoring can be a form of support for teens in recovery as well.
There are some important points for parents or caregivers to consider when their child is beginning a mentoring a relationship for sobriety. These are:
- A mentor should already have a significant amount of sobriety.
- To avoid a possible romantic interest, a mentor should be the same gender or the opposite gender for those teens who are gay.
- A mentor should have a teen’s best interest in mind.
- A mentor should not be able to relate with your teen, such as similar interests or hobbies.
- A mentor should have an understanding of adolescence and the challenges that can come along with it.
- A mentor should be honest and be willing to give straight answers.
- A mentor should attempt to build a relationship with your teen and listen to your teen’s viewpoints and ideas.
- A mentor is not a parent or a therapist. He or she should use the mentoring relationship as a means to inspire, motivate, and enthuse a teen in living his or her best life.
These are suggestions for finding a mentor for an adolescent who can facilitate sobriety. However, as anyone who has experienced addiction and recovery knows, ending the use of substances does not necessarily mean a changed life. Yet, a mentor can facilitate in a teen the kind of transformation that lasts.
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