Offering a helping hand to others during your own recovery is a valuable tool. By giving to others you not only help those who need it most, you are also helping yourself heal and grow. Service during recovery is important in that it focuses your energy into a positive, healthy outlet. By helping others, you may find that the temptation to drink or use will begin to decrease.
Other benefits of service during drug or alcohol recovery include:
- Staying in touch with the process of recovery. By helping others going through the process, you are reminded of the journey you’ve been through, where you started out, and the pain and hard work involved.
- Reduced depression and anxiety.
- A greater sense of self worth. By helping others, you feel more valued for your unique qualities and strengths.
- Builds skills and experience. Many who are in the process of recovery have little to no work history, or are simply starting out in a new direction. By volunteering in a field that interests you, you gain valuable experience that could lead to some sort of career further down the road.
- Causes a shift in perspective. Many addicts and alcoholics are terribly self absorbed, which can be a big obstacle to reaching full recovery. By spending time with others in need, you shift the focus from your own experience to that of another human being. A greater sense of compassion and overall objectivity is often gained.
- A better overall quality of life. All the little things involved with service, from making connections with others, to developing selflessness and compassion, to a greater sense of self worth, contribute to a more satisfying feeling with your life.
There are many ways to lend a hand to others when in recovery, ranging from volunteering to speaking at meetings to being a sponsor. Choose the activity that interests you most. Even if the thought of it sounds scary, it’s a good idea to take a chance and give it a try.
Chances are, you’ll end up learning something new about yourself and expanding your horizons. Remember that trying new things are necessary to self growth. Lending a hand to others during recovery is a great way to do that.
1 . Be A Sponsor. If you’re in a 12 step program, then you’re probably already familiar with this type of service from having a sponsor yourself. If you’ve been in the program for awhile and feel like you’re ready to help someone out, raise your hand and let people know you’re willing to be a sponsor. Sponsorship is a great way to grow and develop during recovery while helping another person do the same.
2 . Sharing Your Experience. This can happen either by volunteering to be a speaker at a 12 step meeting, or by going to rehab centers or other groups to share with the people there.
3 . Volunteering With Young Or Homeless Addicts. Volunteer at a local center that offers guidance and treatment to these groups. You can choose to work directly with others or help out with administrative work, outreach, or fundraising.
4 . Welcome Newcomers. This can be either at a 12 step meeting or another group offering help to those struggling with addiction. Newcomers will feel nervous and unsure, so it’s important that someone is there to make them feel welcome.
5 . Volunteer With A Hotline. There are many free hotlines out there for people with a range of problems, ranging from addiction to depression to homelessness. These hotlines always need people to handle their phone calls and provide people the support they need.