Maintaining recovery is an essential step after getting sober. There are many factors in keeping up recovery, and giving back is one crucial aspect. Being of service in recovery ensures you feel as though you have a purpose. Service will keep your recovery progressing even after years of being sober. Giving back can look different, depending on where you feel you are needed and the specific ways in which you enjoy helping people. Giving back is a great way to combat complacency in your recovery, too.
The Importance of Making a Difference
Typically, it is made clear that giving back makes a huge difference once you start your recovery journey. The effect service has on yourself and others will help motivate and push you forward. These positive aspects of service make giving back a conducive part of your recovery. The act of giving back to others decreases negative thoughts and behaviors. It allows you to display a sense of gratitude towards those there for you in your recovery, such as treatment staff, your therapist, friends and family.
Making a difference in people’s lives can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Seeing the impact your actions have on people’s lives can bring an immense amount of joy. Studies have found that those who give back in recovery are more likely to stay sober than those who do not.
How Does Giving Back Help Your Recovery?
Giving back helps you stay on track and can remind you of why you got sober in the first place. It serves as a great distraction from negative thoughts and emotions that might have driven you to use drugs or alcohol in the first place. Service work can turn these negative feelings into positive ones.
Achieving personal growth is possible the more you give back. Learning more about who you are and what you enjoy doing are possible outcomes of giving back. Trying out new things can improve your recovery.
Service work also keeps you connected to the recovery community, which helps avoid isolation. Isolation is a common relapse trigger. Staying involved and surrounded by sober people and environments will encourage you in your recovery. Self-confidence and self-esteem can also improve over time when giving back.
Overall, giving back can remind you of the integrity that accompanies sobriety. Service allows you to try new things, meet new people, build your network, say thank you to those that helped you get sober and help others get clean.
Ways to Give Back
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to being of service. Here are several ways to give back in this new sober life of yours.
Finding charities and other causes you can volunteer at in your community can help make a difference. Giving back in addiction recovery is not the only option for service work. If you feel passionate about a particular cause, there are many options for service work out there. You can help prepare meals at the local soup kitchen, volunteer at the homeless shelter and more.
2. Become a Sponsor
If you participate in a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or others, you can become a sponsor for another member. Once you have completed the 12 steps under the direction of a sponsor, and you and your sponsor agree that you are ready, the next step would be raising your hand in meetings when they ask who is available to sponsor. If you don’t feel ready to take on the responsibility of being a sponsor, you can be of service to the group. There are many service options at a group level, including setting up the meeting (in-person or virtually), joining committees, and speaking at meetings or on panels.
3. Use Your Experience to Deliver the Message
Another way to be of service is to speak at meetings and on panels. Having the opportunity to share your story in a meeting can be a great way to be of service to the newcomers. Alternately, Hospitals and Institution (H&I) Panels exist across fellowships. This is when members of 12-step fellowships volunteer their time to share their stories with people who are currently in treatment. It is a great way to expose people to the various 12-step fellowships.
4. Donate Money
Donating money to a charity you support and believe in is another way to give back. Even the smallest amounts can make a difference, and you don’t have to be wealthy to donate. Donating a couple of dollars can help a charity reach its goals. Seeing your name on a list of people who donate can help bring feelings of happiness and accomplishment.
Self-care is a great way to give back to those who helped you get sober and learn about recovery. Showing that you are taking your recovery seriously by engaging in healthy activities can bring joy to those who may have seen you at a lower point in life. Self-care also helps to show those new to sobriety how to achieve happiness in recovery.
At Authentic Recovery Center, we believe that giving back after getting sober can help you progress and motivate your recovery. Service work has numerous benefits for both you and others. You can make a difference in your community and the lives of fellow recovery members. Giving back also can positively impact the way you experience life. Small acts can make a difference, creating change all around you. Service can also help your recovery by filling your free time, giving you a sense of purpose, reversing negative emotions and keeping you connected to the recovery community. For more information on giving back in recovery, call Authentic Recovery Center at (866) 786-1376.