One of the first things that you’ll notice when you seek addiction treatment is how helpful people in recovery tend to be. You might notice people helping to set up chairs for a group meeting, or you could have someone offer to help you stay distracted during a craving. Being around a group of supportive people has tremendous benefits for your sobriety. Now that you’re working your way through recovery, you might be thinking about ways that you can return the favor. Knowing how helping others has a positive impact on your recovery makes it possible to start finding ways to play a bigger role in your sober community.
What Are the Benefits of Helping Others?
Doing nice things for other people just feels good. You might notice that your heart feels a little lighter when you help someone out with a task or problem. Over time, you’ll also find that being helpful adds these benefits to your tool kit for staying sober.
- remind yourself of how far you’ve come
- reinforce what you’ve learned about sobriety
- reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety
- increase your confidence and self-esteem
- meet other people who support sober living
When you help someone else, you might be reminded of a time when you weren’t in a position to do such a thing. During the worst days of your addiction, it might have been impossible to think beyond when or how you would get your next fix. Now, you wake up with a refreshed mind and body each day that allows you to expand your thoughts towards other people. After you help someone out, take a moment to feel gratitude for having the opportunity. Each time you recognize that you’re able to do something because you got sober reinforces your reasons for continuing to avoid drugs and alcohol.
What Types of Volunteer Opportunities Are Good for Recovery?
Once you are sober, you can serve in any role that makes you feel good. Many people choose to serve within their sober community by being someone’s sponsor or a group meeting leader. Most likely, there are additional volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood. You might help prepare lunches for people in need or choose to coach your child’s soccer team. You could also choose to help out with one-time events such as helping people check in for a fundraiser. The ideal volunteer opportunity for your recovery depends upon what you do best and where your talents lie. You know you’ve found the perfect role when you don’t feel overly stressed helping out and end your time feeling happy about what you accomplish.
How Do You Get Started Helping Other People?
For some people, the prospect of offering help can feel a little daunting. You might worry that someone will turn down your offer to help, but that rarely happens. If it does, then brush it off. Usually, there’s a reason for someone wanting to do something on their own that has nothing to do with you. You can also feel more confident about volunteering by looking for people who are already asking for someone to fulfill a specific role. For example, you might let people know that you are ready to be someone’s mentor or sponsor. Once the word gets out in your group, then a newcomer might feel comfortable approaching you with a request for help.
Many organizations also offer the opportunity to try out a position or to take on a small role that leads to bigger ones. For instance, you might choose to show up to an event early to help with the set up. Later, you might get more involved with organizing similar events. You can also start helping people at a personal level. Offering to help a friend move or pick up groceries when their sick are simple things that have a similar effect on your wellbeing as doing bigger projects. The point is to find what works best for you. Eventually, you’ll settle into a pattern of just rolling up your sleeves and getting to work, and you’ll find that even the smallest jobs are personally rewarding.
Are you ready to contribute more to your community? We’ll help you get in the right mindset for helping others. Give us a call today at 732-392-7311.