Early recovery is fraught with challenges that often seem insurmountable. After all, rebuilding your life takes time, and you can expect to encounter a great deal of stress. Having a mentor gives you an important person that you can turn to when times get tough. As you create your post-treatment recovery plan, use this information to cultivate a relationship with a mentor that helps you avoid relapse in early recovery and beyond.
Understand What a Mentor Does
Mentors play a supporting role to people who are in early recovery, and it is important to realize that a mentor differs from a counselor because they focus more on helping you stay accountable with your sobriety. A mentor is also not the same thing as a friend. While your mentor will celebrate your achievements, they will also offer services such as home inspections and drug testing to help you stay on track with your commitment to sobriety.
Know Where to Find a Mentor
While you were in treatment, you had everyone you needed to help you get better. Now, it is time to begin building a network of support that will help you stay sober for the long-term after early recovery. Mentors are found in sober living communities where they work with members of the group to ensure that everyone stays committed to a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. These mentors can also work with you on an outpatient basis as you make the transition to living independently.
Recognize the Qualities of a Good Mentor
To be effective, it is important for mentors to understand the nature of addiction. In fact, many of the best mentors have struggled with addiction in the past. They undergo specialized training that allows them to coach you on topics such as goal setting, conflict resolution and managing cravings during early recovery. Naturally, you should feel comfortable talking with your mentor, yet they must also have a strong personality that is capable of holding you accountable if you experience a relapse. You will also want to find a mentor who possesses these qualities.
• Friendly demeanor that sets you at ease
• Strong communication skills
• Experienced in working with people in recovery
• Commitment to ongoing training and self-improvement
• Ability to accept people from diverse backgrounds
• Awareness of challenges that occur in early recovery
• A desire to help others meet their goals
Learn How To Cultivate Positive Relationships
For many people coming out of treatment, their contact with a mentor becomes one of their first experiences with developing positive relationships in early recovery. Over time, your mentor will also extend their reach in your life to include members of your treatment team and your family. As they become involved with other people in your life, your mentor can show you how to improve family dynamics, avoid negative influences and renew relationships that were damaged during your time struggling with addiction.
Be Willing to Open Up to Your Mentor
During your time struggling with drugs and alcohol, you may have stopped trusting people in an effort toward self-preservation. However, it is important to find people that you can lean on now as you advance in your sobriety. Make sure that your mentor is someone that you feel comfortable opening up to about the events that occur in your life during early recovery. Keep in mind that they have heard many things before as they worked with others, and telling them the truth is the only way for them to be able to develop an effective plan for helping you rebuild your life. For instance, you can let your mentor know that you are dealing with a family conflict. Once you do, they can then begin to help you find positive coping methods to mend the relationship and avoid falling prey to your cravings during early recovery.
Meet Regularly to Continue Improving Your Life After Early Recovery
A mentor relationship is designed to last as long as you need it. For some, you may only need a mentor during early recovery when you feel the most alone in life. Alternatively, you may find that having a mentor helps you gradually make improvements over the next year, and you rely on their support each step of the way. Your mentor will also work with you to develop a schedule for meetings that works with your lifestyle. For instance, they may meet with you once a week to chart your progress towards finding a job or check on your sobriety.
Moving forward in your life is easier when you have a sober mentoring program available to provide you with support. During the earliest days of recovery, you will naturally need help identifying the next steps you take on your journey to recovery. Whether you are worried about slipping back into old habits or are ready to jumpstart your progress toward improving your life, your mentor is always there to guide you with positive words of encouragement from your Los Angeles IOP treatment to sober living and beyond.