The Difference Between Role Models and Mentors in Recovery

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Life tends to throw curveballs. Navigating these obstacles can be difficult and chances are, you won’t always have all the answers. Having people in your life that you look up to as examples of how to walk through life’s challenges is crucial, especially for those in recovery. Seeing sober individuals who are genuinely happy, living lives that wildly contrast those previously lived during active addiction inspires hope and motivation. Grabbing on to a few people in your recovery community who have what you want can greatly increase your chances of maintaining long-term sobriety. By following in the footsteps of another who has experience living life in recovery, you can increase feelings of community and direction. They will remind you that you are not alone in your struggles while reiterating the fact that you are capable of overcoming them, just as they did.

Recovery Support: Role Models vs. Mentors

The process of building a recovery support network includes seeking out people that you look up to. However, this is a very broad statement and can have different meanings in practice. Specifically, when creating a foundation in your recovery, it’s important to recognize the difference between a role model and a mentor. 

Role Model

Role models are typically people that you don’t know or aren’t close to, but they’re still inspiring nonetheless. Maybe you look up to a certain celebrity and therefore considered them to be one of your role models. Similarly, you may have several acquaintances within your recovery community that you look to as examples of how to be productive members of society. While you may not connect with these individuals on a personal level, they still serve as active role models in your life.


Conversely, a mentor is someone in your recovery community with whom you cultivate a personal relationship. Typically, you reach out to your mentors consistently for advice and support throughout your recovery journey. Sobriety is filled with new experiences, and it helps to have someone who understands what you are going through to offer guidance as you navigate your journey. Some of the topics you may want to explore with your mentor might include:

  • Learning about their past experiences with mental illness and/or addiction
  • Understanding particular life events that influenced their path
  • Battles and times of triumph in healing and recovery
  • Advice
  • Support and encouragement

Whether you’d like to have a role model or a mentor, both can provide a wonderful source of encouragement as you continue to move forward and grow in your recovery. At Avalon Malibu, we have a strong community of supportive individuals in recovery. We are committed to helping you as you navigate sober mentorship and create your sober support network. For more information, call us today at 844-857-5992.

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