It is common for people struggling with addiction to put drugs and alcohol above everything else. With this type of prioritization, it becomes normal for them to neglect the needs of others as they only think about one thing: getting high. Now that you are in recovery, you have a new perspective and you can make a difference.
Why You Should Volunteer in Addiction Recovery
Now is a good time to give back in recovery. Not only will you be helping others and your community, but also you will be helping yourself. For someone in early recovery, spending time doing something for others can be especially helpful. In fact, there are several benefits of volunteering in recovery.
Better Mental Health
One of the greatest benefits of volunteer work in addiction recovery is the positive impact it can have on your mental health. A study found that other-oriented volunteering could result in an 8.5% increase in mental health and a 4.3% decrease in depression.1 If you are still in early recovery, you are likely battling with both good days and bad as you face relapse triggers and combat cravings. Volunteering could help decrease those bad days.
Sense of Purpose
Before you went through a medical detox and got sober, drugs were likely your whole world. Now that they are gone, you may be struggling to fill the void they left behind and find meaning in your life. One of the advantages of voluntary work in recovery is that it can help you fill this hole. Helping others can make you feel needed and give you a sense of purpose that makes you want to stay sober.
Not that you are in recovery, spending time with the same crowd you did before you got clean could be putting your sobriety at risk. It is important to surround yourself with people who will support your recovery, but building up this network can be challenging. When you volunteer regularly with the same organization, you have the opportunity to meet new people and connect with like-minded individuals.
It is not uncommon for some people in early recovery to feel guilty about their past wrongdoings. While many try to make amends with those they hurt specifically, some people may not feel like it is enough. One of the benefits of volunteering in addiction recovery is that it may be able to help you remove some of that burden. Knowing that you are helping others may relieve some of this guilt and allow you to keep move forward.
Boredom can lead to relapse especially immediately following residential treatment when your days no longer follow a tight schedule. Volunteering is a good and meaningful way to fill up your free time. It can keep you busy and distract you from cravings that could cause a relapse.
While there are several benefits of volunteering in recovery for yourself, you are also helping others and your community. You can make a difference with a cause that matters to you whether it is animal welfare or helping others get into addiction treatment.
If you or someone you care about needs help for an addiction, we are here. Contact us today to learn more about our programs at Vertava Health of Texas and how we may be able to help.
- 1. US National Library of Medicine — Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms