The benefits of peer support in mental health and addiction treatment are almost endless. Within the recovery community, these support groups have long been understood as the most effective form of aftercare. Alcoholics Anonymous and similar organizations have formed a blueprint for another variety of peer support: sponsorship. This is where a member who has gained full control over their symptoms offers guidance to a more junior person within the community.

What Is a Peer Support Worker?

In society, we recognize the importance of role models for showing people that they can achieve their dreams. Peer support is a more targeted, specific version of this. For someone who is new to the recovery process, healing can seem impossible. Even when counselors, therapists and doctors tell you getting better is possible, it’s too easy to dismiss them, thinking of them as authority figures who don’t understand.

A peer support worker approaches the relationship from an entirely different angle. They’re someone you automatically view as an equal, and you know unequivocally that they understand what you’re going through. They share all the wisdom and experience that helped them to regain control over their symptoms and get where they are today.

How Do Peer Supporters Help You In Recovery?

Peer support workers at On Demand Counseling take part in structured ongoing training. At the same time, we encourage their individuality and don’t dictate interactions. It’s important that you form a strong, personal bond so they can fully support you along your recovery journey. During your time together, these are just a few of the ways they’ll help you:

When you’ve been struggling with addiction and all the difficulties that come with it, inspiration seems like a distant dream. However, inspiration, motivation and desire will be the driving forces of your recovery. The primary benefit of peer workers is the fact that they can help you access positive, helpful feelings towards yourself and the recovery process. Trust and understanding are crucial, so we always make sure you and your individual worker are an excellent match.

There are hundreds of myths about substance use disorders and recovery. When you first enter rehab, your mind will be full of expectations, prejudices and concerns. Most of these will disappear as you see how loving, comfortable and practical our recovery community is.

However, there are always some unhelpful beliefs about recovery that remain. Your support specialist can help you separate fact from fiction and provide reassurance. There might be questions you feel are too embarrassing or silly to ask a medical professional. In this case, you can ask your mentor. The chances are that they’re such an addiction recovery pro that they’ll know the answer. If not, they’ll find a way to confidentially get the answers for you.

In some cases, they’ll encourage you to seek out information for yourself. When it comes to healing from substance use disorders or managing mental health symptoms, education is crucial. The better you understand what causes you to feel the way you do, the easier it is to understand. Learning how drugs and alcohol affect the brain also helps to inspire the motivation necessary to move forward in your recovery efforts.

Some people describe addiction as a gradual lowering of interests until eventually, only the substance of choice is left. This can go on for months or even years before seeking help. During this time, your self-esteem and inner confidence usually suffer significantly. No matter how tough you are, excessively using drugs or alcohol puts an additional strain on your body and mind. Even highly functional addicts lose track of their hopes and dreams.

Your peer mentor will help you to identify your strengths and feel proud of them. You’ll work together to set short-, medium- and long-term goals. Quickly, you’ll start smashing your short-term goals — which is an excellent way of gaining momentum to grab any opportunities that come your way.

What Are the Main Benefits of Peer Support?

All this guidance happens on top of the treatment you get from counselors at On Demand Counseling. This extra layer of care is designed to give you the absolute best chance of recovery from addiction.

On the most basic level, these workers give you someone to talk to who understands exactly what you’re going through. That alone can be a revelation while you’re overcoming a substance use disorder. However, there are even more benefits to having your own dedicated mentor.

There is a stigma attached to addiction — no denying that. The result of this is that lots of people who struggle with this debilitating medical condition feel shame and guilt.

Feeling bad about yourself or hiding away in shame won’t help you to get better or get back on track to living your best life. Your peer support person will help you to see the myriad of strengths you have to empower you to make the most of them.

When you have someone working as closely with you as your mentor does, the service you receive can be much more personalized. In one-on-one therapy or group therapy sessions, the relationship is close and you’ll open up to them. However, with your peer supporter, you’ll be able to speak to them about anything. This means you’re more likely to get what you need out of the recovery process.

People respond to mental health and addiction treatment much better when they’re treated as an individual than if they feel like a number. With this support, your independent spirit is encouraged and understood. You can work with them to understand exactly how much power you have in your hands regarding your own future. No matter what you’ve been through, you always have something of value to offer the world. These peer programs can help you get in touch with that and own it.

Lots of people who suffer from addiction or mental illness have had struggles in their personal relationships. Whether this is a result of society misunderstanding you, a challenging upbringing or just falling in with the wrong crowd, it doesn’t mean you’re broken. These people can help you by guiding you gently through a healthy interpersonal relationship with boundaries and respect.

The main training we provide peer support workers ensures that they understand the role of trauma and low self-esteem in addiction. They’ll already understand this from their own experience, but it’s vital they understand that criticism, blame or impatience will never help you get where you need to be.

Find Out More About the Benefits of Peer Support Today

There is a multitude of evidence to back up the effectiveness of peer support in mental health. Call On Demand Counseling today at 330-270-8610 to find out more about these benefits in the treatment of addiction.

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For more information about how On Demand Counseling in East Liverpool, Austintown, and Newton Falls can help you change your life, call 330-270-8610.

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