Whether you are a long-time recovery veteran or you are still involved in your journey to sobriety, it can be beneficial to support and help others who are getting treatment for addiction. There are many resources available for people who are struggling with quitting their drug or alcohol use but some of the most helpful and lasting assistance can come from those who have been through it themselves.
Nothing can compare to the personal connection, empathy and true understanding that comes from an ex-addict providing their mentorship. Even if you are still working on your own recovery, helping someone else in a purely self-less way can benefit you as well as your peer in need of assistance.
You can support one another and start to build the community that will keep you grounded throughout your years of being sober.
Working in a Recovery Community
A common saying in twelve step recovery programs is "to keep it you have to give it away." This means that as much as you value and cherish your sobriety, helping someone else become sober is the best way to establish and maintain your own recovery. The foundation of recovery groups like AA is based on the idea that helping another alcoholic can keep you sober as well.
The approach has been so successful that community-based twelve step programs have remained the center of alcohol and drug recovery for decades. Each member of the community can provide some sort of service to another person or the group as a whole to keep the programming running successfully.
The act of providing a service can be a tool that promotes sobriety and changes the mindset of an addict in a way that can help them stay sober.
The Benefits of Helping Others
Helping other people struggling with recovery can be beneficial in a number of different ways. It can help remind you of where you came from so that you don't forget the pain of addiction and how difficult it was to quit.
Seeing another person struggle in their first few months of recovery will help prevent your own relapse because you will remember how hard it was to live with your disease. Helping others when you are in addiction recovery can also reduce feelings of depression and increase self-esteem because you will feel that you something to offer others and you can provide a useful service to society.
For addicts, being involved in a service can help them develop new skills that can be useful for them in the future. Many people with addictions have a poor work history and communicating with or assisting others can be a great way to get back into the workforce and start a new career.
One of the most important aspects of helping other addicts is the fact that it helps reduce the focus on yourself that can be an issue with addiction. Many addicts can be self-absorbed and act only to increase their own pleasure with little regard for others.
Being of service to someone else helps reverse this behavior and can then change the cycle of addiction. Someone receiving help from an addict will enjoy the benefits of first-hand experience and practical advice for what they are going through.
They can learn to trust someone else and let them into their lives rather than withdrawing into their abuse. An ex-addict has a wealth of experience to draw on to provide counseling, sympathy and even motivation for someone who is just beginning their recovery. The support between recovering addicts is one of the most powerful tools to create lasting and permanent sobriety.