Mentoring was the gift he didn’t know he wanted.

Aaron Adkins loves everything about being in recovery. He lists the support he gets from his SMART Recovery peers, the practical tools he uses to address negative thinking, the understanding and insight he gains from being a meeting facilitator, and, perhaps most especially, being able to give back as a mentor to other facilitators. “It’s been a wonderful way for me to understand how I do what I do…being able to teach something just kind of takes me to the next level.”

Certainly, the level Aaron exists on today is much higher than when he was struggling with his addictions. There were two arrests for driving under the influence, job losses, financial ruin, visits to the emergency room and multiple mental health crises. It didn’t matter whether he lived in California or moved his troubles to Washington D.C.: what finally helped end the chaos was the discovery of SMART.

Aaron embraced SMART’s principles and practices starting in 2017, and began making better decisions about how he interacted with the world. He overcame his fear of making changes, and now celebrates developing new skills to confront distorted thinking using SMART’s ABC tool and others. He treasured the help he got from his meeting facilitator, and eventually took a suggestion to become a facilitator himself. From there, it was a natural choice to want to share his experience through SMART’s Facilitator Mentoring Program.

“Recovery is not going to be successful for me if I just take my sack of gold and walk away,” says Aaron. Instead, he finds teaching the tools to new facilitators not only helps them find their own strengths but energizes him. He says the essence of being a mentor is, “Being able to partner with someone on their journey, help them find their path, hold up that lantern…” In other words, he says, “Nobody has to go it alone when it comes to being a SMART facilitator.”

Aaron says the time and energy he devotes to mentoring is not a burden; instead, “It’s the gift I didn’t know I wanted.”  And it’s safe to say that those whom Aaron mentors and interacts with feel they are receiving a great gift themselves. 

For more information about the Facilitator Mentoring Program, visit here

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