When you think about people you admire, who comes to mind? 

Maybe you think of your parents. Maybe a teacher who really encouraged you is first on your list. Maybe you have a friend who you can always count on. Maybe a coworker consistently demonstrates an ability to build consensus even when people disagree at first. Maybe you look up to a person from history or a present day celebrity or leader.

If you are a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, you might also look up to your sponsor or to those in your recovery group who have maintained their sobriety for a long time.

No matter who comes to mind when you think about folks you admire, role models can play an important role in your life—and in your recovery. 

Role Models Can Remind You That Change is Possible

It can be easy to convince yourself that nothing in your life can change. That, of course, is a particularly dangerous mindset for a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, so it is important to find ways to upend that narrative.

Observing your role models can be one way to remind yourself that change is possible. After all, the people we tend to admire have often overcome various difficulties over the course of time. Remembering that your role model has been on a personal journey can help you be patient on your own journey while remaining confident that change is possible.

And when you believe change is possible, the next step is to set some goals to achieve that change. Your role models can help with that, too.

Role Models Can Help You Set Goals

When you think of someone as a role model, it is only natural to want to emulate some of the things you admire about that person. As a result, thinking about your role models can be a good way to set goals for yourself.

For example, you might be prone to anger when things do not go your way. Because anger can pose a threat to your recovery, it can be helpful to observe how a role model deals with difficulties. Perhaps that person seems to have coping strategies that you could learn to employ—and if your role model is someone you know, you can get direct advice about those strategies. 

That allows you to set a goal around how you handle angry feelings when they arise. Your role model has provided some ideas that might work for you, and you can commit to using them in an effort to improve the ways in which you respond to situations of various kinds. Achieving that goal is a great way to support your ongoing sobriety.

That said, we have two important reminders about role models.

First Important Reminder: It’s Not a Competition

While looking up to someone can have benefits like the ones we have identified above, it is important to remember that you are not in competition with your role model—or with anyone else.

Keeping things in perspective is the key to using the influence of a role model in a positive way. There is a big difference between working toward developing skills or characteristics you admire in another person and feeling as though you have to “beat” that person in some way. Your role model should inspire you without making you feel like you have to “win.”

Second Important Reminder: Nobody’s Perfect

It is important to remember that even the people we admire the most are just humans like the rest of us. And that means they are going to make mistakes—maybe even big mistakes—that you might find disappointing or disillusioning. If your role model doesn’t live up to the standards you may have set for them in your own mind, it can really throw you for a loop.

But it doesn’t have to. In fact, remembering that everyone makes mistakes and falls short sometimes can be beneficial because it can inspire you to give yourself grace when things go wrong. Also, watching how your role model deals with a setback can help you think through how you might do so, too.

Our Treatment Model Can Be Effective for You

At Wooded Glen Recovery Center—located in Henryville, Indiana—our role in your life is clear. We are here to help you reclaim your sobriety and your life.

We accomplish that through a medically supervised detoxification program, an approach to rehabilitation that includes treatment for any mental health disorders that may be entangled with your substance use disorder, and a commitment to a continuum of care that ensures you can start your recovery journey with confidence and ongoing support.

If you are ready to make a change, we are ready to help. Who knows? Your sobriety journey may make you a role model for someone in your life who needs hope and inspiration.