Recovery from substance use is a long and complex process that no one should not go through alone, especially young teenagers. There are resources available to help, from treatment centers to recovery groups. One invaluable resource is having a mentor or sponsor walk alongside your teen to offer support, guidance, and encouragement. Often, these mentors are people who have experienced the struggle of addiction and recovery themselves.
As a parent, you may believe that it is your job to offer guidance and support to your child. However, mentors know how to assist your teen during their recovery journey, as they have been there before. It is important to understand the incredible value that mentorships can have on your teen's recovery and sobriety journey.
Mentorships are essential because they help your teen to learn accountability. Teens may feel more comfortable establishing an accountability relationship with someone other than their parents because, frankly, not all teens are comfortable sharing everything with their parents. This is especially if a teen's parents haven’t experienced the complexity of substance abuse themselves. Teens may feel more comfortable opening up to another adult who has experienced substance use problems.
This doesn’t mean that you can never talk to your teen about their recovery. It’s very important to establish and follow clear boundaries and transparency at home so your teen does not fall off track in their recovery. Even so, mentors can understand some of the hard-to-explain complexities of addiction that teens may not be able to effectively communicate to parents who have never experienced this issue.
What to expect when meeting with a mentor may vary depending on the recovery group the mentorship is affiliated with. Generally speaking, a mentor and mentee will meet in a public space and develop a set of goals to help achieve sobriety. Mentors aren’t supposed to tell teens what they should do, just as a therapist’s job is not to “fix” someone’s problems. Rather, mentors work with mentees to empower and enable them to come up with their own solutions.
Often, a good mentor is someone who has walked the path of addiction and recovery themselves. Your teen may feel more comfortable opening up to someone who has firsthand experience of what they are going through. A good mentor will also have good interpersonal skills and is passionate about helping others. Mentors should also pursue ongoing education and training, as scientific knowledge about addiction is expanding all the time.
Mentorship programs have lots of data to support their effectiveness in recovery. Teens are more likely to achieve sobriety with a mentor than without one. The benefits of mentorship include:
Substance abuse can make teens feel detached from others – especially if they had to cut off friendships with people who may have enabled their drug use. Recovery mentors can fulfill the longing for meaningful connection as your teen learns to build a new sober life.
Having a mentor gives your teen someone to turn to if the temptation to use surfaces at one time or another. Mentors can check in with your teen a few times a week or even develop a system where your teen will contact them when feeling tempted. Mentors can help guide your teen to make the right choice.
Recovery is rarely a smooth process. Mentors can provide support and encouragement to your teen during times when they contemplate giving up or believe they will never get better. A mentor can remind your teen that recovery is possible. They will walk alongside your teen not only during the initial stages of treatment but also throughout their long-term recovery.
Recovery groups are the most common places to find a mentor. It may require multiple meetings to discern who that person might be. However, it’s important to ensure that your teen is willing and eager to make the mentor relationship work. They must be actively engaged and willing to be accountable to see positive results.
At times, initial mentor pairings just don’t “click.” It’s okay to acknowledge that it’s not working out. It will be better for both mentor and mentee to acknowledge this sooner rather than trying to force a connection. Finding the right mentor sometimes takes time. Talk to the coordinators of your local recovery group about finding someone else, if need be.
We understand that the recovery process is fraught with difficulties. But we also know that recovery and sobriety are incredibly rewarding. At Clearfork Academy, we specialize in helping teenagers and adolescents heal from addiction to drugs and alcohol. We do this through a variety of methods, including inpatient and outpatient treatments, therapies, detox, and even summer programs. Our faith-based outdoor programs help teens develop the strength, confidence, and fortitude to face the challenge of addiction and come out healthy and strong on the other side. We know that recovery and sobriety are possible because we have helped teenagers achieve them. Our compassionate, licensed staff celebrates with each and every participant as they reach new goals. If your teen is struggling with substance use or abuse, do not hesitate to call us. For further questions and concerns, call us today at (817) 259-2597.
Originally from the Saginaw, Eagle Mountain area, Austin Davis earned a Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Ministry from Lee University in Cleveland, TN and a Master of Arts in Counseling from The Church of God Theological Seminary. He then went on to become a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in the State of Texas.
Austin’s professional history includes both local church ministry and clinical counseling. At a young age, he began serving youth at the local church in various capacities which led to clinical training and education. Austin gained a vast knowledge of mental health disorders while working in state and public mental health hospitals. This is where he was exposed to almost every type of diagnosis and carries this experience into the daily treatment.
Austin’s longtime passion is Clearfork Academy, a christ-centered residential facility focused on mental health and substance abuse. He finds joy and fulfillment working with “difficult” clients that challenge his heart and clinical skill set. It is his hope and desire that each resident that passes through Clearfork Academy will be one step closer to their created design.
Austin’s greatest pleasures in life are being a husband to his wife, and a father to his growing children. He serves at his local church by playing guitar, speaking and helping with tech arts. Austin also enjoys being physically active, reading, woodworking, and music.