Contributing to Society (and Strengthening Recovery)

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The Importance of Giving Back in Recovery


Recovering people are considered selfish, and many of us are the first to admit it. Perhaps we have earned a bad reputation during our days of drug or alcohol abuse. It’s a positive change for many of us when, in early recovery, we started contributing our time and energy to helping others (or the environment).

The 12-Step Community is Based on ‘Giving Back’

Here at NorthStar, we always encourage clients to participate in the 12-step community by ‘reaching out their hand’ to greet newcomers and actively working a program of recovery with a sponsor. Believe it or not, through this action the person is suddenly ‘giving back’ to the community. This is a process that introduces the person to the joy found in ‘working with others.’ Many in recovery credit the friendships they’ve made in the 12 step community as their greatest defense against relapse.

Opportunities to Contribute are Everywhere

Of course, the 12-Step community is a convenient starting point for many of us (who find ourselves there for our own recovery needs), but there are many other ways to ‘be of service.’

Here are just a few ideas to get you started. You can:

  • Volunteer time at a homeless shelter
  • Volunteer at your Church
  • Get involved in community sports (or coach a junior league)
  • Visit and/or read to the elderly in a nursing home
  • Participate in a cleanup day at a popular beach or hiking spot

…and the list goes on.  There are people who could use a hand everywhere if you keep your eyes peeled.

Clinical Benefits for Your Recovery

Donating your time and energy to help someone else is a pursuit that few can argue will build self esteem, which is a great bolster for newfound sobriety. Also, the act of making commitments and following through creates additional barriers against relapse. Through volunteerism, you may make new connections that lead to career or educational opportunities. One thing is for sure – you won’t be relapsing if you’re living a fulfilling life making the world a better place.

Of course, the point of being of service to others is not about getting something for ourselves, but as we have already established that many in recovery consider themselves a selfish lot, we just thought we’d reiterate that your recovery will be strengthened and enhanced by the altruistic activities that you undertake in sobriety.

NorthStar Transitions – Helping Recovering Men and Women Truly Thrive

At our treatment center in Boulder Colorado, we specialize in helping newly recovered individuals really embrace and find fulfillment through engaging in new and uplifting activities while sober.  If you have questions about this blog article or anything else related to treatment and recovery, feel free to call us at (303)625-6335.



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