In addiction recovery, it is possible to find your community of like-minded sober people to lean on for support. However, you can also be a source of inspiration for those just starting out in recovery too. Giving back to the addiction community has great benefits for yourself and your own recovery. This can be through community service, helping out in support groups, becoming a sponsor, or simply being there as a friend when someone needs help. Giving back to those in recovery gives you the opportunity to be there for people the same way others did for you when you were struggling.
Benefits of Giving Back
Giving back to those in need feels good, but did you know it also has health benefits? According to one study, 94% of participants said they felt better after volunteering. 76% of participants stated they felt healthier, and 74% said that doing volunteer work helps to reduce stress levels.
In your aftercare plan for recovery, it is imperative to do things that give you a sense of purpose and that you enjoy doing. Giving back to those who are also in recovery or thinking about addiction treatment is a great way to do this. Your mood will improve, and you will find that your stress levels will decrease. Taking part in this will also fill your free time, helping you combat feelings of boredom, which is a common trigger for relapse. Giving back will help you be calmer, better able to resist cravings, cope with triggers, and strengthen your recovery as you give advice to others.
The best way to get started in giving back to the addiction recovery community is by contacting your local treatment center, joining Alcoholics Anonymous or other support groups, becoming a sponsor, or seeing if you can volunteer at the treatment center itself. Ask how you can help those in recovery based on your own experience. There can never be too much support for those trying to get sober.
Ideas for Giving Back
You don’t have to be a mental health professional with a degree to help support others on their journey to sobriety. Giving back to the addiction community is very simple. Here are some ideas for activities you can take part in.
Volunteer for a Commitment
At twelve-step meetings, there are things called commitments. These include activities volunteers take part in such as collecting donations, running a meeting, etc. By volunteering for a commitment at a meeting, you can open yourself to new people and opportunities. You will be more involved in the program and the position will hold you accountable in your sobriety. It is a great way to give back and help those in need at the meetings.
Take a Guest to a Meeting
You may know someone who has struggled with or is struggling with addiction. As you know yourself, recovery can be a difficult road. Ask if you can accompany them to a meeting or ask if you can research treatment options together if they haven’t been to treatment yet. Show that you are there to provide support and guide them along the way based on your prior experience.
Become a Sponsor
A great way to give back to the addiction recovery community is by becoming a sponsor. This is often in twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and others. A sponsor is there to provide support and advice based on your own experiences with addiction. Remember that as a sponsor, it is vitally important to remain sober. The sponsor should be someone who the newcomer to the group is comfortable with, so be friendly and kind.
Consider Organizing a Sober Event
If you’re feeling up to the task, you can plan a sober event such as a grill out, a dance, or a group picnic. Sober events are a fantastic way to bring sober people together to create friendships that will last a lifetime. Connections will be built, and those in need of support can find it at the event. You can celebrate all that sobriety has done for you together.
You probably remember from times in your own recovery the importance of having someone there to just listen to you. An individual who is a good listener who can offer sound advice is vital to many individuals’ recovery journeys. You can let people in your own social circle, in meetings, and other sober events know that you are always there to listen should anyone need a supportive ear. You never know who is going through a rough time, so it is important to be there for others when they need support.
Giving back to the addiction recovery community can do wonders for your own recovery and in the lives of others. There are health benefits as well as benefits to your own sobriety. You are constantly reminded of the blessing sobriety has given your life, and you are able to share that with others. Those in early recovery especially need support from someone that understands where they have been and can empathize with them. You can consider volunteering for commitments at meetings, becoming a sponsor, organizing a sober event, or simply being there to listen when someone needs a supportive ear. The good it will do for you and the person in recovery will be apparent immediately. For more information on giving back to the addiction recovery community, contact Northstar Transitions at (303) 558-6400. We can provide you with the resources and connections needed to get you started.