When you choose to pursue your sobriety, you have a long journey ahead. You’ll need to set new goals, mend fences with people you’ve hurt and adjust to life without drugs and alcohol. Along the way, it’s also essential to find meaningful ways to spend your time and energy.
This National Recovery Month, how can you strengthen your commitment to recovery through service to your community, and what are the benefits of volunteering?
Understand You’re Not Alone
Addiction can be profoundly isolating. Once you’re sober, it’s crucial to identify ways to feel less alone. Serving your community strengthens your ties to the people around you. Seeing the hardships others have gone through can also help put your challenges in perspective.
Meet Sober Supporters
In recovery, forging new relationships will be one of your top priorities – especially if you’ve had to cut ties with old friends who don’t care for your new lifestyle. Volunteering is an excellent way to connect with people who share your passion for your chosen cause, which could naturally give rise to friendships. You’ll have more opportunities to introduce yourself to new acquaintances who could become your staunchest sober supporters in the future.
Keep Yourself Busy
Boredom can be a significant relapse trigger. In sobriety, it’s crucial to find ways to spend the hours you used to fill with drinking or drug use. Community service provides an excellent outlet for your time and energy. Staying busy will fend off cravings while you enrich the lives of those you’re helping.
Gain a Renewed Sense of Purpose
Volunteering is a fun and fulfilling activity. Knowing you’ve left your community a better place than it was when you found it can be intensely satisfying. You’ll feel like you’ve contributed something by giving your talents to an organization you believe in, which will motivate you to do more in the future.
Improve Your Health and Wellness
Even if you only spend a couple of hours per week in service, serving your neighbors can contribute appreciably to your well-being. If you struggle with mental health issues such as depression, volunteering could noticeably improve your symptoms and leave you feeling happier.
Explore Your Passions
Hobbies don’t always translate into a practical career, but volunteering allows you to add a new dimension to your interests. For example, if you’ve always loved art, but decided not to pursue it as a full-time career, you can volunteer to teach watercolors or photography at a nearby senior center.
In recovery, serving others could be an excellent opportunity to give back to an organization that has helped you learn to manage your addiction. If you’ve benefited from music therapy, volunteering with a group that provides free music lessons to underprivileged children can be healing.
Get Involved and Make a Difference
Though there are many excellent reasons to pursue community service in your recovery, consult with your therapist before diving into any significant volunteer commitment. Some assignments might prove too stressful if your mental health is still fragile, or could involve hidden relapse triggers that jeopardize your progress.
Making constructive choices and surrounding yourself with compassionate people can smooth your path when the road to recovery feels rocky. Volunteering allows you to invest in the well-being of your neighbors and helps you feel good about yourself.
If you’re ready to make a clean break from drug and alcohol abuse, contact us at Spearhead Lodge to learn more about our leading-edge treatment for young men in Austin, Texas. We’ll teach you how to have fun in recovery, while equipping you with the life skills you need to be a well-rounded person.