This article is by McCarton Ackerman and published by Recovery.org
Whether you’re newly sober or well into your recovery, volunteering in the community is an essential part of your recovery process. Those who are of service to others have a far greater chance at long-term sobriety.
Organizations like AA and NA have their own volunteer opportunities, but almost any national non-profit organization or charity offers opportunities for people to give back in some form or fashion.
Let’s take a look at 7 reasons why giving back feels so darn good and how these activities can build momentum in your recovery:
- Getting Out Of Your Head
Being in recovery means experiencing emotions that you were able to avoid while using. The shame, guilt and anxiety can feel overwhelming at times. Being of service to others and knowing you made a difference will help replace those negative feelings with positive ones, or at the very least provide a temporary distraction.
- Repaying Society
Not every addict causes major problems in society, but it’s safe to say that you can’t contribute in a positive way while you’re spending time drunk or high. Volunteering enables you to feel self-worth while continuing to make positive changes in your own life. Selfless acts can also leave you much less tempted to relapse.
- Establishing New Friendships
Getting sober often means leaving behind the friends you parties with. Volunteering helps you building new and positive relationships with people who will support you in your recovery.
- Creating Job Opportunities
You may not be able to return to work in the early stages of your recovery, but volunteering can be an excellent transition. Adding volunteer work to your resume also lets employers know how far you’ve come in your recovery and, if you’re lucky, it may even help you develop new skills that are attractive to potential employers.
- Feeling Appreciated
Early stages of recovery can be difficult and leave your tank running low on confidence. It goes without saying that feeling needed by an organization or group of people can be a strong incentive to stay sober. Lots of volunteer organizations are short on help and will quickly welcome your help.
Volunteering is a great way to explore new career options. You’re able to figure out what you really enjoy doing…and maybe figure out what you’re not so crazy about doing. Jumping into a new hobby or interest could broaden your horizons, ultimately leading you to the happy and sober life you’ve dreamed of.
- Improving Your Health
Several studies have found that volunteering physically makes you feel better, lowers stress and helps with managing chronic health conditions.
To find out about volunteer opportunities available in your area, visit Volunteer Match to see what you can get involved in.