Volunteer Work May Be the Missing Part of Your Recovery

Table of Contents

When a person is knee-deep in their addiction to drugs or alcohol, they can only focus on their own issues and negative feelings. They need medical attention, a rehabilitation program, empathy, and other tools and support to lead them to sobriety. Too often, the last thing on their minds is giving to others. Yet volunteering can be an excellent way for a person in the process of becoming sober to help focus their minds and see the world outside their small bubble.

Facts About Who Volunteers

A report from Volunteering in America found that as recently as 2018, more people were volunteering than ever before. A record 77 million adults had given their time through a group as volunteers, spending almost seven billion hours on worthy causes. These totals don’t even include people who do less formal volunteer work in the form of helping out family, friends, and neighbors who need assistance.

The act of volunteering has benefits beyond the obvious ones. People who volunteer tend to donate to charities twice as often. Volunteers are usually shown to participate in community activities more often, as well. Such people also engage with others around them and vote more frequently. Members of all generations, including millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers, have high numbers of volunteers, proving that people of all ages can enjoy volunteer work. 

Volunteering Provides a Wide Range of Benefits

Volunteering in the community provides a social outlet for someone who might otherwise have been isolated. Often, being more social helps foster a feeling of being part of something and understanding that everyone has something valuable to contribute to the world. People often make close friendships and other connections via volunteering, which can broaden a person’s pool for support. You may even discover other activities you may enjoy by widening your social horizons.

A Western Connecticut State University study reports that engaging in volunteer work can increase a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Similarly, such work can also help lower levels of depression and stress. Volunteering has been shown to contribute to a longer life span with fewer health concerns for those who take part. If a newly sober person is looking to change careers, volunteering in their field of interest can lead to exciting job possibilities. 

Popular Options for Ways to Serve Your Community

Animals shelters are a great place to volunteer. Animals in need of a home and interaction with caring humans are an ideal audience for those looking to give back to the world. Many cats, dogs, and other animals stuck in a shelter need to be socialized via loving human contact, which makes them more likely to have success post-adoption. Walking dogs helps them relieve stress and get used to being with someone new. This activity also provides the volunteer with regular, moderate exercise. Spending time with animals has also been shown to lower a person’s blood pressure and stress levels.

Working with children can provide a real sense of satisfaction for volunteers. It’s common for someone who turns to drugs or alcohol to have had a challenging childhood that contributed to their addiction. Working with kids can give children the attention, support, and belief in themselves that they need. In turn, this exchange is immensely gratifying to the adult, who relates to being a child in need. There are a lot of work opportunities in this field, including reading to children in a library, helping out in a classroom, and working in a homeless shelter. Ask around to see what needs the community has and if you can step up and help out.

If working one-on-one with people isn’t the right fit for a volunteer, there are options to help contribute to communities in need. Many groups aim to beautify a neighborhood or a city via cleaning up litter, landscaping work in a park, or painting over graffiti. Some organizations put together care packages to send to those in need or for those in the military. An internet search for volunteer activities in the local community will provide an array of options to give time and resources that will make a difference both in the recipients’ lives and the person who does the volunteer work. Incorporating volunteer work into a person’s recovery can have considerable benefits while also helping those in need. Best of all, it doesn’t cost any money at all – just your own time. It’s truly a win-win situation.

When a person is struggling with getting sober, they often put the focus on themselves. While that is necessary in many ways, doing volunteer work can also have tremendous benefits for maintaining sobriety. People who do volunteer work typically experience increased self-esteem, lower levels of depression and anxiety, and begin to enjoy the exposure to other people and group activities. The old adage that those who give also receive is accurate. Silver Lining is a treatment program that understands how to help people achieve lifelong sobriety from addiction to alcohol or drugs, as well as how to manage co-occurring mental health disorders. Our small treatment groups allow individuals to thrive under focused attention. We offer day and evening times to match your schedule. We are located on the water in Huntington Beach, California, which provides a beautiful setting for entering sobriety and working to discover who you are without the haze of alcohol and drugs. Call us today to get started! (866) 448-4563