FRIENDS AND MENTORS

A Guide for Practice

Forms of Friendship

This section lists a few of the ways that peers in Recovery Dharma have practiced with wise friendship.

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Mentor / Mentee

A pair of wise friends who meet regularly.  The mentor is a wise friend who is further along the path who offers support and guidance on our work with our Recovery Dharma Practice.

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Practice Partners

A simple, limited, daily bookend on daily practice activities. Includes things like sending a text “meditated for five minutes,” or a phone call limited to a short period of time to share yesterday’s activities and today’s plans. This is an interaction that supports being seen without shame. 

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Wise Friends

Either a pair or a small group of wise friends who meet regularly to offer mutual support and reflection on our work with the Recovery Dharma Practice.

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Admirable Friends

The friends we meet at meetings and other Recovery Dharma events who form our wide network of support. This can also include Practice Partners who check-in daily to bookend about progress with specific practices.

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Inquiry Circle

A group of three to ten wise friends who meet regularly to offer mutual support and reflection on our work with our Recovery Dharma Practice.

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Formats and Guides

For those who benefit from working with a structure, these formats and guides used by members help lay the foundation for the work to happen between friends. (Coming soon!)

We support each other on this path.

Where to find
Friends and Mentors

Wise friends and mentors can be found at Recovery Dharma meeting and via Recovery Dharma social media (Facebook, Instagram). We suggest that newer members attend a meeting regularly and get to know the other attendees. From there you can make wise friends and ask for help with mentorship. 

RD Meetings

We attend, and participate, in meetings so that others can get to know us.

Ways to get involved

Show up early and stay late. Volunteer to read or keep time. Share experience during discussion. Stay after to bond with others and to exchange contact information.

Between Meetings

Many of us engaged in practices to cultivate friendships between RD meetings.

Dharma Friends

We exchanged contact information and started sending texts or making outreach calls. Eventually, these friendships grew into partners who agreed to support each other on the path in a more structured way with the inquiries.

Wise Friend Meeting Groups

There are groups that others have formed to help people match up to find Dharma Friends and Mentors.

Wise Friend Groups:

Facebook Recovery Dharma Wse Friends Mentors Group, Women of Recovery Dharma Slack: #wisefriends channel.

How to Cultivate Friends:
A Wise Practice

.A Wise Friendship may take many forms, but it is one built on honesty, compassion, healthy boundaries, and a shared intention to support one another’s recovery. “

Page 62, Recovery Dharma

Option One: Just Ask
  • Being new and finding Wise Friends, Mentors and Circles can be challenging. One option is to just announce it – at meetings or in online forums. 
  • Works especially well in sanghas that  have developed solid practices and structures around diversity, equity, Inclusion, and safety as well as a solid system of outreach to treatment and corrections.
  • Remain open – people may say no to a particular ask to be a mentor, but may be offering another helpful form of connection.
  • Recovery Dharma Portland’s Mentorship Guide
Option Two: Get involved and get active to develop friendships
  • how up early and stay late after meetings to volunteer and socialize
  • Share during discussion so others can get to know  you
  • Make friendly outreach calls on a daily basis
  • Try a phone survey. Choose a concept – ask everyone you call about their experience with it. 
  • Create a list of friends in your wallet or phone to call during difficult times
  • Make new friends at conferences, retreats and workshop
  • Recovery Dharma ommunity Wisdom’s Developing Wise Friendships Guide
The Practice

Option Three: Start Something New

  • Find a mutually available time to meet regularly. This is often the first obstacle. 
  • Read and discuss the book, Recovery Dharma.
  • Discuss Refuge. What are some of the ways you can collectively practice cultivating a safe and reliable place for recovery?
  • Practice meditation individually and collectively
  • Work with inquiry questions individually and collectively
  • Explore what wise and skillful action might look like for your recovery.
  • Explore ways to deepen understanding of Buddhist recovery principles.
  • Recovery Dharma  Friends – Practice Guide

Asking for Help

“…even if asking for help may not always get us what we want, it will always help get us through. When we practice accepting help from people who are offering to help, we become just a little bit more open and a little less stuck. It’s the decision to reach out, as much as the answer we receive, that can give us what we need to move forward.”

A table view of Wise Friendships in RD

This table compares and contrasts different types of RD Wise Friendships side by side.

Description Mentor Wise Friend Inquiry Group Practice Partners Admirable Friends
Why?  Cultivating and exploring the possibility of refuge in community
Deepening practice through structured contacts
Structure
Topics Dharma, Meditation, Inquiry Daily practice tasks Support, Leisure, Practice
Listening Deep, reflective listening, sharing experience with topics Listen, minimal feedback Casual Conversation
Direction of support From Mentor to Mentee Trade time; often in a structured, timed, format. 
Frequency Regular meeting (eg weekly or biweekly) Daily check-in or event Bookend Varies
Platforms In person, by zoom or phone.  With possible text in between Phone or text
Time Limits 1 hour-ish 1 hour-ish 1.5 hour-ish 5-10 minutes
Number One on one, or very small group of 3 or less Small group (4 -10)

1:1 call,

or group text

Knowledge Base Mentor knows more Knowledge base varies.  Support is based on deep listening and reflection. 
Description Mentor Wise Friend Inquiry Group Accountability Partners Dharma Buddies 

Asking for Help

When we make a practice of asking for help, we frequently find that it improves both the quantity and quality of our relationships in general. Even if you don’t become personally close with people in your sangha outside of meetings, you may find that you are able to connect with more people on a deep level, and that could be something entirely new in your life. Even if you are seeking help from a clergyperson, a therapist, or some other sort of professional, notice how opening up to another person affects how much you trust them.”

– Page 60, Recovery Dharma

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