Support is obviously important to recovery. Sponsors and mentors, and of course treatment professionals are all key players, but the importance of peer-to-peer support should not be overlooked. When people in recovery come together to assist one another, great things can happen. The “sponsor”component of 12 Step recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous recognizes the value of such peer alliances.
Particularly early in recovery, many people respond more favorably to people they perceive to be peers, because there is less fear of judgment from people who understand because they’ve been there. In fact, the assisting of others beginning with and staying on track in sobriety is one of the steps of such programs. The inclusion of helping others with sobriety as a step in maintaining your own sobriety emphasizes the value to both ends of the peer alliance equation; when peers help one other, both people benefit. Which is not to suggest that professional guidance, especially early on – is not helpful – but rather to emphasize that the value of peer support should not be discounted, and that the rewards of such support flow in both directions.