Giving Back to the Recovery Community

Giving Back to the Recovery Community

Published on January 15, 2020 by First Responder Wellness

Addiction recovery can represent both the most challenging and most rewarding time in a person’s life. Going through the ups and downs of addiction and coming out on the other side is a valuable experience. You’ll gain a renewed sense of purpose and the best mental health you have experienced in years.

Recovery can even leave you anxious to pay the gift of sobriety forward to others who are struggling. Additionally, being of service to your community is a great habit that keeps you invested in your recovery while promoting mental wellness.

Many people choose to give back after completing a recovery program by finding ways to get involved. You can find your place within the recovery community and help others struggling just like you were.

There are several ways to get involved, and everyone is different. You may even find that specific roles are more appropriate or enjoyable for you at various places in your recovery journey.

Sponsorship

One of the most popular ways to give back to the recovery community is to become a sponsor in a 12-Step program. Sponsors act as mentors for other people in recovery.

Sponsorship has been popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous as a critical component of mutual support among individuals in recovery. Similar mentorship programs are available in many organizations and groups that use the 12-Step model.

You have to assess your own mental health before committing to sponsorship. It’s essential that you feel emotionally stable and comfortable enough in your sobriety to offer non-judgmental support. A sponsor needs to be able to provide firm guidance to someone in the early days of their recovery.

As a sponsor, you can educate others about the program or accompany them to meetings. You can introduce newcomers to other members to help them get more involved.

Overall, the goal is to set an example of successful sobriety and offer a shoulder to lean on when circumstances become especially difficult.  

Donate to Addiction Recovery Resources

While sponsorship is a great way to give back, many people find they don’t have the time to be as physically present as sponsorship requires. This is especially true for people who are very focused on their career or their family.

People in early recovery may wish to make up for lost time in those arenas by being as present as possible. For those who find themselves in this situation and are also financially stable, a great way to give back is through donations.

Donations help recovery organizations and other resources that support those with addictions and their families. These organizations are often critically underfunded, and monetary support can have a considerable impact.

Be sure that you resolve any money issues before deciding to donate. Worsening a difficult financial situation will only lead to excess stress that can be detrimental to your recovery.  

Educate Others

One of the most powerful ways to give back to the recovery community is by educating friends, family, and the general public about addiction. Addiction and mental health disorders continue to carry a heavy stigma in our society.

This stigma ultimately harms those who struggle with these issues and the people that care about them. Anyone who has the facts about addiction knows that it is not a character flaw, moral failing, or sign of weakness.

Instead, it is a very legitimate medical condition that requires comprehensive care. If you feel like you might not be equipped with enough knowledge to educate others, start by educating yourself. Many addiction recovery centers offer courses or seminars that explain the neurological process of addiction.

These courses can arm you with information that will help you dismantle negative stigmas and create more awareness. You may choose to become a formal addiction educator yourself.

Less formally, you can simply be open and honest about your own experiences with the people you encounter in life. Every day is an opportunity to help others understand that addiction is common, treatable, and can happen to anyone. 

Prioritize Your Own Recovery

You can’t be of service to those in the recovery community, or anyone for that matter if you don’t first take care of yourself. It can be tempting to take on more than you can handle in early sobriety. After all, there is so much work to be done and so many people who need support.

Remember that putting yourself and your sobriety first is not selfish but is actually the most loving thing you can do for those around you. If you do choose to volunteer during your recovery, it is perfectly acceptable to step back from excess responsibility if you find yourself overwhelmed.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. The First Responders Treatment Program at Simple Recovery uses trauma-informed strategies to cater to the unique needs of law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses. We recognize that first responders encounter job-specific barriers and obstacles that come with the culture of their careers. Existing stigmas may make seeking help for addiction and mental health issues especially tricky.

Addiction does not have to mean the end of your career. Nor do you have to resign yourself to a lifetime of struggling with your health and relationships. At Simple Recovery, we take a holistic approach to treatment and addressing the underlying causes of addiction. This approach makes it possible for first responders to regain control of every aspect of their wellbeing.

First responders dedicate their lives to protecting their community. At Simple Recovery’s First Responder Treatment Program, we dedicate our time to helping these compassionate individuals find a path to lasting sobriety and mental wellness.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us now at 888-743-0490