Volunteering to Help Addicts
As you make your way along the path of recovery from an addiction, there are many things that will make your journey easier and increase your odds of success. These can include support groups, therapy, working with a mentor, exercise, and surrounding yourself with supportive, positive, sober friends and family. Another tool to add to your recovery kit could be volunteer work.
The final step in the twelve step recovery program is to take your message of sobriety and recovery out to other addicts. As a recovering addict, it is your responsibility to help others who are suffering as you did. It is important, however, to only begin volunteering when you are comfortable with your new sobriety. If you are too early in your recovery process, you need to focus on yourself before helping others. There is a reason that this is the final step.
Be an Example and Inspiration
When you are beginning your recovery, the odds of a relapse are high. Every day and every minute is a struggle to stay sober. You often feel hopeless. Although relapse can also happen to "old timers” – meaning those with years of sobriety – the longer you work the steps of the program, the better your odds become of maintaining sobriety. When you have finally reached a better place, you can act as an example of what others can achieve. Remember your early struggles and imagine how it could have helped to have someone to look up to. The power of an inspiring person is immense. You have the chance to offer hope to those who are struggling to believe that they can ever achieve sobriety.
Share your Knowledge
By simply being around to show suffering addicts what successful recovery looks like and that it is possible, you are a powerful source of inspiration. Beyond that simple move, you also have the ability to share your knowledge and experiences with those who need your help. As a volunteer, you can give other addicts tips and tricks that helped you to advance through recovery. You are a vast source of knowledge that can help others make their way through the maze of addiction recovery.
Where you volunteer to help others recover will determine the opportunities that are available. It is a good idea to work where you experienced recovery so that you can share with newcomers the success they, too, can find there. You may be able to volunteer in an administrative capacity, as a tour guide, as a speaker, or as a mentor to other addicts. If you are not yet comfortable working directly with other addicts, you can help in other ways and your presence as someone who successfully became sober will provide inspiration. If you do feel as if you can work with people, your experiences and knowledge will be invaluable as a mentor or a speaker.
As a recovering addict, volunteering to help others is also a way to help yourself. As successful as you are at this moment, you always have the potential for a relapse. Offering yourself as a mentor, or a sponsor and as an inspiration for what others can achieve can help you to think twice and maybe three times before going back to drugs or alcohol. Knowing that others are counting on you for their own recovery can be a powerful deterrent. Consider volunteering for the help and comfort you can bring to others and for the security you can give to yourself.