What Adolescent Mentoring Can Do for a Teen in Recovery

Mentoring is a relationship in which two people come together so that one person can assist the other in a particular area of life. One common example of mentoring is the relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee at 12-step meetings. However, mentoring can take place not only to assist a person in getting sober, mentors are used to advance in a career, quit smoking, refine an artistic skill, and to reach many other life goals.

Mentoring is an ideal way to support a teen, particularly one who is in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. Adolescent mentoring provides teens in recovery with the opportunity to think about how they are growing, learning, and developing. More specifically, it can provide them with an adult who has gone through the challenges of getting sober and who can discuss how to enjoy life without the need for substances.

Mentors, no matter what area of life – career, health, school, spirituality – have proven to dramatically improve a teen’s ability to succeed and achieve, including success in sobriety. For instance, mentoring programs have had a large impact on the education of children and teens. In a landmark study done by Public Private Ventures throughout 1992 and 1993, results revealed that those teens who had mentors were absent for half as many days of school, felt more competent about doing schoolwork, and skipped fewer classes. Also, teens who had mentors in their program said that they realized how important working hard in school, getting a good education, and graduating from college was to them. Furthermore, alumni of the program report that they are doing better in school because of their mentor, have reached a higher level of education than they thought was possible, and that the mentoring program kept them from dropping out of high school.

There’s no question that mentoring can assist a teen in succeeding. In fact, when a person is faced with a challenge, one of the largest contributors in overcoming that challenge is to spend time with others who have already overcome it. Another contributor in successful achievement of sobriety and other goals is the relationship between the mentee and the mentor. Research shows that the one and only component that creates change in a client’s life is the relationship he or she has with the therapist. The same is true in mentoring. When someone has a person with whom he or she can share goals, aspirations, and challenges, there is a greater possibility for that person to achieve what he or she has not in the past.

If you are an adolescent in early recovery, you might feel drawn to the idea of mentoring. And parents might recognize the many benefits that mentoring can bring. If you are a parent who has a son or daughter with addiction-related issues or a teen who is having trouble staying sober, you might consider getting a mentor for your child.


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