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Mental Health Awareness Month

Having a Sober Mentor During Substance Use Recovery

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Man talking with his sober mentor

In long-term substance use recovery, a sober mentor helps individuals set achievable goals and connect to a community. Mentors also provide a good source of support and motivation during cravings, helping to avoid relapse. Mentors often serve as one of the most valuable resources for recovery in individuals experiencing substance use disorder.

Recovery mentors can help navigate health, employment, and even the criminal justice system. Hence, selecting a great mentor may require significant scrutiny by mental healthcare providers. Here are some of the major roles a recovery mentor plays in their relationship with an individual throughout their substance use recovery journey:

Benefits of Mentorship for People in Substance Use Recovery

The concept of recovery mentors is relatively new in substance use recovery. However, there are many benefits to working with a mentor during your recovery journey. Here are some of the significant advantages of having a mentor:

Accountability

Mentorship programs provide accountability for individuals going through substance use recovery. People going through recovery can check in with a mentor at specific times of the week and show accountability for their actions. Research also shows that accountability can be helpful in addiction recovery. Participants who had sponsors and engaged in 12-step programs were more successful at staying abstinent than those who started a sobriety journey without outside support [1].

Complete honesty and transparency about addiction experiences help in commitment to sobriety. It usually helps the person acknowledge responsibility to make better decisions regarding substance abuse. Honesty through accountability also helps the individual understand patterns of thinking and behaving that could cause relapse. With an understanding of these patterns, there can be a significant change.

Guidance

The journey to complete recovery may seem significantly complex. Hence, mentors provide continuous guidance for individuals going through recovery. With guidance from a mentor, the patient can get better insight and self-awareness to recover. Proper guidance also gives a new perspective and helps people identify any habits or behaviors that may need correction.

Mentor-provided guidance will help individuals revisit their coping strategies. When the individual feels the urge to consume any substance, they can call the mentor to get the guidance they need.

Mentors can also help provide the best advice for individuals when creating and repairing their relationships. They offer support in creating healthy relationships as an imperative part of recovery.

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Relationship of Trust

Often, those who go through the addiction recovery process feel alone. Most individuals typically have damaged relationships and have little to no one they feel they can trust. A mentor always supports individuals, helping them repair and rebuild trust in themselves and others. Hence, a recovery mentor becomes an individual you can rely on.

Recovery mentors teach individuals experiencing substance use disorder how to regain the trust of loved ones. One of the methods commonly suggested is leaving the lines of communication open. Mentors may advise keeping contact with loved ones by setting up a time to talk to each other. In most cases, rebuilding the relationship is much easier when they observe a change in previous addiction patterns.

Continuous Support

Recovery mentors can help individuals by providing support and also helping them get the best out of “social support.” Continuous support gives a sense of belongingness and inclusion, hope and optimism, and safety and security [2].

Support from mentors and social support will help provide valuable information to help in recovery. It will also help offer desirable resources and concrete assistance on the road to recovery [3].

How Mental Health Providers Can Encourage Seeking Out Mentorship

Mentors significantly help the road to substance use recovery. How can mental health providers encourage others to seek out mentorship? Here are some of the most effective methods to consider:

Enlightenment on the Benefits of Mentorship

An effective method of encouraging individuals to seek out mentorship is by enlightening them on its benefits. Mental health providers should provide a detailed breakdown of how mentorship can help in accountability, guidance, and support.

Ensuring Mentorship is an Imperative Step for Recovery

Finding a qualified recovery mentor takes a lot of work. Recovery clinics should seek out the best prospective mentors based on their qualifications, including experience in the mental health field. Facilitating mentorship matches or assigning mentors can help ensure that qualified mentorship is achieved.

What Makes Up a Good Mentor

A significant level of scrutiny goes into selecting a good mentor. Apart from the necessary qualifications, here’s what makes a good mentor:

  • Good communication skills: Mentors should be able to pass their message clearly without confusion. It’s also important that mentors are empathetic in their speeches.
  • Experience working in the substance use recovery field: Significant experience in the substance use recovery field will help prospective mentors know how to approach addiction recovery situations.
  • Relevant educational background: Depending on the recovery clinic’s requirement, the prospective mentor should possess the necessary diploma or any relevant degree.

Can Mental Health Providers Work as Mentors?

Mental health providers can also work as mentors as long as they have experience in long-term recovery. However, mentors don’t diagnose or treat addiction and mental health issues, unlike other mental health experts.

All mentors focus on helping those undergoing recovery to make the right decisions to improve their lifestyle. Compared to mental health experts, mentors must understand various recovery pathways. However, a major similarity between mentors and other mental health providers is in implementing the 12-step programs [4].

Get the Best as a Mental Health Provider Using Procentive

With the significantly long list of responsibilities of mentors and other mental health providers, utilizing a system for optimization is imperative. As a mental health provider, you can enjoy a full-featured, simple EHR solution for your practice. Every tool you need to power your practice is in one place.

Procentive is an EHR solution that offers an easy-to-use interface, 24/7 web-based access, comprehensive reporting, and easy scheduling with alerts. Providers can also get dynamic forms and clinical templates to speed up the documentation and adapt them to personal needs. Get everything you need to optimize your practice. See Procentive in action for yourself with a free demo.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871616001034
  2. https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/recovery
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5047716/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753023/

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