When a newcomer enters an addiction recovery program, it is important that they feel supported and welcomed. As a veteran of the program, it is your job to pass on the skills, knowledge, and experience you’ve received onto others. But welcoming newcomers has its share of challenges. Although you may be a veteran of your recovery program, you, too, are still a recovering addict. Learning the best way to help others on their path to sobriety can be difficult.
Be Welcoming, but Not Overwhelming
When you meet a newcomer in your addiction recovery program, be friendly and welcoming. New to the program and sobriety, newcomers may feel nervous and intimidated. Introducing yourself and letting them know you are there for support will help ease their anxieties. Although a warm welcome is helpful, be sure to give newcomers their space. Because addiction recovery is difficult, you do not want to overwhelm newcomers with information. Instead, it is best to let them come to you if they need support.
Lead By Example
The best way to help a newcomer adjust to your recovery program is to lead by example. As a veteran of the program, others look to you for guidance. To ensure newcomers stay on the path to recovery, show them that you are on the path yourself. Live by the teachings of your recovery program to encourage newcomers to implement those skills and lead a healthy, fulfilling, and sober lifestyle.
Relate Your Experiences
In addition to leading by example, offer your guidance and support to others. Like everyone in the recovery program, you struggle with addiction. Share your experiences with addiction and recovery to provide some guidance. But be careful, because guidance can easily seem patronizing advice. To make sure newcomers feel comfortable talking with you, only offer your guidance if they welcome it. Additionally, keep in mind that you are not a licensed counselor or psychiatrist. You cannot tell individuals how to live their lives. Instead, you can simply share your experiences and hope that they learn.