The road to recovery is a lifelong journey that takes patience, persistence, and help from friends and family. Perhaps the power of recovery is not truly understood until someone maintaining recovery starts to give back. When you allow yourself to choose recovery, you open yourself up to making deep connections with other people. You learn to trust yourself and others. In turn, you attain a significant amount of gratitude and for those that helped you through the most challenging parts of early recovery. Because of this, you have never forgotten their help, and maybe now it is time for you to give back.
Having the courage to change your life is just as rewarding as using that same courage to help another. Not only is helping someone a way of saying thank you, but it is suggested that giving back not only enables you to share your experiences with others but continues to evolve in your pursuit of recovery. Likewise, it is about helping another; but it is about allowing yourself to evolve and create a “self” that is motivated to pursue their goals. In turn, your motivation is a way to give back. If you wonder where you’re at in your recovery and are ready to start giving back, understand that giving back is one of the greatest gifts offered by recovery. Here are some ways to get you started on the journey to giving back.
Work On Yourself
This might seem contradictory to what many recognize as giving back, but working on yourself is essential. Continuing to challenge yourself in your recovery will not only keep you motivated, but it will also keep you accountable and responsible for your success. These actions will build upon your foundation and offer you more self-awareness and self-esteem, thus helping you feel more empowered. Remember, never neglect your needs and make sure your recovery comes first. Continue to track your progress with a journal. Also, practice mindfulness, meditation, keep a good diet and exercise regimen – and remember to always stay connected to your support team.
Become a Sponsor
When you have completed the 12 Steps and feel ready and capable, you might consider becoming someone’s sponsor through their journey to recovery. Sponsorship may seem like a selfless act of service, but most people find it strengthens their own program of recovery in ways they couldn’t previously imagine. Never forget where you started and where you are now—becoming a sponsor also encourages you to keep sharing your experiences with another, which will also help you learn from these shared and varied experiences.
Becoming a sponsor will also help keep your sobriety in check by establishing accountability between yourself and your sponsees. It will further help you share strength and hope and help make you a better listener, vital for lasting recovery. It might also require you to step outside of your comfort zone, challenge your beliefs about something, and maybe even enlighten you with a new philosophy or approach. Remember, sobriety and recovery is about growth.
When you do good, you feel good. Volunteering helps people spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This is because it creates a connection with your environment and community around you. It also enables you to become more in touch with yourself. While subtle at first, when you begin to volunteer, studies show a shift in a person’s happiness and outlook on life. You understand by now that having a positive outlook in recovery is essential. Volunteering is not limited to what people typically think of when they hear volunteering, such as working in a shelter, feeding the less fortunate, and donating. These are terrific things to do, provided they can still be done safely amid this pandemic. Volunteering is also about giving your time to spend with people. However comfortable you feel during the current situation, you can lend your time to others who might otherwise be lonely. You can visit the elderly (behind glass) at a treatment or hospice center. You can even connect with people online and volunteer to lend them to your company for a while.
Additionally, you can visit animal shelters and walk dogs that have not yet been adopted. Volunteering is not all about benefiting others–it will nourish your soul and bring harmony from within, by knowing that you are connecting with others and helping them cope with a difficult situation. Never limit the options that come from volunteering.
Much like volunteering, donating is not limited in its options. Donating is not determined by how much money you have given to a cause. Donating could just be giving small acts of generosity before making bigger commitments. It could be as simple as offering to make coffee at your next 12-Step meeting. Or, given the current circumstances, you might host and plan for the next Netflix watch-along with your support group. The idea is not to feel limited and to try to look for small ways to help another.
It is always better to give than to receive.
While you were struggling with addiction, many people came together to help you gain sobriety and create a support network for maintaining recovery.
Whether learned in recovery or not, growing as a fully realized human being is about growing to know yourself well enough to be comfortable and confident enough to begin helping others. The idea to start living for others is a selfless form of freedom unlike any other. And, in turn, when you give, you get back. This could be the appreciation from doing a good deed or something bigger. At True Recovery, we believe that giving back is an essential part of recovery, but it all starts with asking for help. If you are struggling with your recovery, or have not begun your journey yet, then now is the time to get help. Call (866) 399-6528 to learn more.