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.