How You Can Volunteer To Strengthen Your Recovery
Being in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction can be a wonderful thing. You are finally free of your burden, you have gone through treatment and you’re prepared to meet the rest of your life head-on. The only problem you have now is the possibility of relapse. Addiction is like any other chronic illness and relapsing is a very real possibility. There are things you can do, though, to strengthen your recovery and to make you more resistant to relapse. Consider volunteer work as one of those methods.
How Can Volunteering Help Me Avoid Relapse?
One important way in which you can lessen your risk of relapsing is to fill your life with other things, not related to drugs and alcohol. This strategy can take many forms. For instance, eliminating old friends from your life, who still use, and making new, sober friends, can provide you with meaningful relationships that help you stay sober.
Engaging in positive activities is another strategy for leaving no room in your life for drugs or alcohol. Such activities could include your work, going back to school, hobbies or volunteer work. Of all the activities you could choose, volunteering may be the most meaningful. The more meaningful and enriching the activity, the stronger it will make you and the more devoted you will be to it.
By volunteering your time and energy to help others, you take steps toward restoring your position within society. This can be a powerful way to improve your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth. When you feel better about yourself and that you are making important contributions to your community, and to the world in general, you will be more likely to resist the temptation to relapse.
What Volunteer Opportunities Can Keep Me Sober?
What you do for your volunteer work is up to you. Most people who volunteer find that they are more likely to stick with work that they feel passionate about. If you love animals, for instance, consider working at a shelter. If you feel strongly about poverty and children, volunteer for a charity that works with disadvantaged children in your community.
Another great option is to do volunteer work related to addiction. Now that you’re sober, you have a wealth of information and experience to share with others. You can offer up your knowledge to help with prevention programs in schools, or to work with addicts in homeless shelters who are trying to get clean. As a former addict you have plenty to offer and you can act as an example and an inspiration to others.
As you search for volunteer opportunities keep in mind that you should be open about your past, especially if you had legal problems associated with your addiction. Some organizations screen potential volunteers in a manner similar to hiring for jobs. Keep no secrets about your past and be open about how your recovery is going and that volunteer work is part your plan to stay sober and give back.
Volunteer work is a wonderful experience for anyone, but for an addict in recovery it can be especially powerful. By giving back you help to restore your image, your reputation, and your worth in your community. In doing so, you also will begin to slowly repair the way you feel about yourself, which is of the utmost importance.