Life can be a complex puzzle with many roads to choose from and lessons to sort out. Although mistakes can offer perspective and help us to grow, so can a seasoned mentor. The term “mentor” was derived from Greek Mythology when Odysseus of Ithaca went to fight in the Trojan War and entrusted the care of his son, Telemachus, to an older and sagely friend, Mentor. Telemachus and Mentor cultivated a strong relationship built upon the foundation of guidance and support.
Most likely, we have bonded with mentors that have been family members, teachers, coaches, professionals, storybook characters, and super heroes. Mentors connect to a deeper part of us and awaken the best versions of ourselves. Whether listening intently at the kitchen table, walking and talking at the track, or cheering loudly at events, mentors demonstrate consistent, non-judgmental support. They pass on valuable knowledge and experience, help us clarify our goals, and encourage us to push past our self-doubt. Mentors get us to stop and think or to stop thinking and just get to it. They are firmly rooted when we are blowing in the breeze and exclaim “Let’s!” when we are ready to call it quits. Mentors are vital for our success as they help frame our experiences and urge us to stay the course in the midst of a challenge.
As a rule, individuals in early recovery are strongly encouraged to change their “people, places, and things”. However, this may mean detaching from family members, spouses, and life-long friendships with little connection to any “healthy” relationships. In fact, cultivating new relationships could mean discomfort, judgment, and rejection. Therefore, many people trying to recover experience long periods of isolation while in treatment followed by an inevitable return to “what they’ve always known.” This is disturbing on many levels, not only for the individual, but also for their family and the community as a whole. Each person possesses a set of values, strengths, abilities, and experiences that stand to enrich, inform, and inspire the broader landscape if plugged in appropriately and given the opportunity. The Blue Zones Project suggests that establishing one’s sense of purpose and place in the world is essential health and can even add years to one’s life.
Since last October, Gateway’s Mentoring Program has paired 15 eager Community Members with 15 willing Gateway Patients for the purpose of friendship…with additional individuals waiting excitedly to participate. One Mentor states, “I would hate to think that someone doesn’t have somebody. My mentee is so strong and is going through a lot. I am glad I can be there to send her encouraging texts and cheer her on.” One Mentee states, “This is my mentor…Gateway gave her to me! I was so glad when she came to my child’s birthday party. I love having a friend.”
If you would like more information about Gateway’s Mentoring Program as a mentor (community member) or mentee (Gateway patient), please do not hesitate to respond to this email or give me (Alicja) a call 273-1170 x110. Even if you do not end up saying yes right now, feel free to connect so that I can help address your doubts and give you a clearer picture of the inspiring opportunity in front of you. We are breaking new ground with this endeavor. Don’t miss out.