When you’re in the depths of a substance addiction, it’s difficult to genuinely think about anyone else’s needs outside of your own. It’s not usually that you’re intentionally trying to be self-absorbed or apathetic to the people around you; rather, you’re so chemically hyper-fixated on fueling the addiction that your mind doesn’t have much room to worry about a bunch of other things, or people.
Recovering from an addiction is one of the hardest things someone can go through — and when you make it to the other side, life is truly like entering a brand new world. Your perspective changes and you see yourself, your life, people, circumstances in a completely different way.
You might find yourself regularly reflecting on your past addiction with a variety of emotions. And being on the other side of recovery, you also might find yourself feeling drawn to help those still in the early stages of the recovery process.
The importance of giving back
Giving back to the recovery community is not only a gift to them, but it’s going to lift you up as well. Being a beacon of sobriety will encourage you to stay sober; it decreases negative thoughts and promotes a positive mindset. It’s a way to channel gratitude to those who were there for you during your own recovery; giving back will bring you joy, purpose, and a sense of accomplishment.
Helping those who currently are where you used to be
Now that you’ve completed your treatments and have successfully gone through your own recovery journey, you have the ability to help those still going through their addiction recovery.
Here are the top four ways you can give back to the recovery community.
1. Be a sponsor at support groups
If you personally attended substance addiction support groups and had a positive, transformative experience, this might be an ideal way for you to help those in early recovery from addiction. Even if you didn’t spend any time in support groups, you can still become a sponsor to those who currently are.
A sponsor is someone who has successfully gone through addiction recovery and now volunteers as a sort of mentor or guide in support groups. Those in support groups can highly benefit from having a personal sponsor, as they are a reliable source of encouragement, motivation and accountability.
2. Share your story
One of the most inspirational, long-lasting ways you can give back to those in the recovery community is by sharing the story of your experience and your recovery.
You can do this in a variety of ways, including:
- Speaking at community centers or support groups
- Sharing through social media or a podcast
- Writing it for a newspaper, magazine or blog
- Composing and publishing a book
That last one isn’t for everyone, but it could be for you. Take some time to discern if and how you’d like to share your story; there are countless people who can benefit from hearing about your journey.
3. Donate to recovery organizations
Directly giving back to recovery communities with your time and energy isn’t for everyone. And even for those who might enjoy it, there is such a thing as empathy burnout; speaking and working with people actively struggling with addiction, starting their recovery, or still in the beginning stages of their recovery, can be exhausting.
So whether you have been directly volunteering or you’d rather give back to the recovery community in a different way, consider donating to different substance abuse or recovery organizations.
4. Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself is a highly underrated part of recovery for many people. It can be so easy to become completely immersed — and therefore, overwhelmed — that we overlook the important task of self-care.
Not only is this good for you personally, but it will be a relief to your loved ones who have struggled as they watched you go through both the pain of addiction and recovery. It will also serve as a sign of hope to those still on their recovery journey, wondering if it’s possible to live a healthy, happy, balanced life after recovering from substance abuse.
Encourage them to continue on with their recovery
You’re very familiar with the challenges that come with going through early stages of addiction recovery; and chances are, at some point in your journey, you may have felt like giving up. And you are not the only one who feels that way.
Countless other people experience a low moment, sense a hopelessness, that they aren’t sure they can bounce back from — but you did. You can encourage them to trust the process, and stay committed to their recovery.
Here at Real Recovery, we believe what you do and how you give back after recovery matters, no matter how big or small; and it’s not something you have to do alone.
For more information and resources on how you can continue to give back to the recovery community, give us a call at 855-363-7325.