Helping others can be a wonderful way to reduce isolation and loneliness, work on social skills in a low stress environment and feel like a valued and valuable member of the community. And these are all important to anyone struggling with addiction. And deciding to make a change.
Volunteering can also help you address low self-esteem, learn concrete skills and adjust to having a structure and schedule, part of the 7 steps in the recovery process. If you are in early recovery, getting out into the community and staying busy might be just what the doctor ordered.
Here are 4 reasons volunteering can help you in your recovery:
Volunteering is Personally Rewarding. As an addict in recovery, you know that the guilt, shame and other assorted baggage that you carry doesn’t disappear because you have completed a treatment program. While you were actively using, you were behaving in a self-centered manner. Volunteering gives you a chance to show a cause, organization, and most of all yourself that you have changed for the better. And what’s more rewarding than doing something good for someone other than yourself?
It Helps You Expand Your Social Circle. One important part of the recovery process is making new friends to support your sober lifestyle. Removing yourself from friends that are still using and surrounding yourself with positive influences is a great way to support your journey.
Volunteering is a Leisure Activity To Help Fill In Time. When you were actively using, a significant part of your of your time was spent finding and using drugs and/or alcohol. Now that you are in recovery and are living sober, you need to fill in that time with healthy activities that keep yourself and your mind occupied. This is a successful strategy to avoid boredom and cravings and reduce the risk of a relapse.
It’s a Bridge To Help You Get Back Into The Workforce. Has it been some time since you’ve held down a job due to your addiction? Volunteering will provide you some recent experience that you can put on your resume. Volunteering shows your dedication to getting well mentally and physically and you may be able to develop some skills that can help you in your job search.
BONUS TIP: Some people in recovery are inspired to work and help other addicts. If you feel strong in your own recovery, this might be a rewarding choice for you. Either way, making positive changes and helping others is a great way to support your recovery journey.