Recovery is a lifelong journey that involves many people and services, from dedicated supports and established recovery programs to interconnected peers working towards their own sober goals. Moving through each phase of recovery is a test on its own, and emerging through these programs transformed is cause for celebration.
After graduating and becoming an alumnus of a recovery program, there is an excellent opportunity to give back to the recovery community. While giving back is by no means a requirement, there can be many personal benefits for finding a way to help the community while empowering those just beginning their recovery journey. Giving back to those who helped along one’s recovery journey can take many forms—finding the method that best fits can promote further healing, growth, and personal development in oneself and others.
The Benefits of Giving Back
Completing a recovery program can open the gates to an even more fulfilling chapter in one’s recovery story, with benefits both for those giving back and those learning from another’s actions. Using one’s status as an alumnus to integrate into the recovery sphere with a developed sense of self can provide a sense of belonging.
Successful recovery communities thrive on acceptance and camaraderie, and an active alumnus can give hope to those still struggling with their journeys. Being in a group therapy session as someone who has maintained their sobriety can provide a beacon of hope for those still in the infancy of their own recovery story. This feeling of belonging to a community as a valued, respected member can boost one’s confidence and determination to continue maintaining sobriety for years to come.
Finding ways to give back keeps one’s focus on recovery, regardless of whether or not they are physically within a recovery facility. Showing appreciation through acts to a recovery community supports or friends and family can reinforce one’s reasons for maintaining sobriety. Motivation is crucial to dealing successfully with cravings or stressors. Incorporating recovery practices focused on giving back to one’s supports can keep sobriety at the forefront of one’s mind.
Lastly, giving back, in whatever form it may take, is a dedication of time. Those moving away from addictive substances may find that they have more free time than they previously thought. Filling this time with new practices is essential for maintaining sobriety, as too much downtime or feelings of boredom can invite cravings once again. Giving back to a recovery community can fill this time and further one’s sober milestones.
How to Give Back
Giving back can take several different forms. For some, giving back can mean becoming an active alumnus in a recovery program. Others may serve as a sponsor to others just beginning their recovery journey, imparting their knowledge while remaining involved in recovery and absorbing new skills. Members can also ask to lead a meeting during a 12-step meeting or other support groups. They can choose a topic, create handouts, and initiate the discussion during a regular meeting.
Acting as a community volunteer can also be a way for an individual to give back to their community, even outside the recovery sphere. Volunteering in the community, helping with food drives, working at an animal shelter, visiting residents in a nursing home, joining a litter clean-up crew, or otherwise providing meaningful acts of service can reinforce one’s position within the community. By getting involved, one can reaffirm one’s life skills and practices in a meaningful way.
Giving Back to Family
Giving back to one’s familial supports can be an impactful, profound practice. Imparting one’s newfound life skills, such as cooking, responsibility, and interpersonal skills can showcase one’s progress while aiding those you care about. Hosting sober events and organizing new traditions can be ways to prove to one’s family the fruits of one’s progress. Sober cookouts, parties, or other gatherings not only can help display a sense of responsibility and self-management but also “payback” the support that was garnered during the recovery process.
Breaking the Barrier
One can make a meaningful gift to the recovery community without making a grand gesture. Taking an individual who may need it to a single meeting and introducing someone to the recovery sphere can be extremely powerful. Those suffering from addiction can find it very difficult to take the first step towards recovery. Introducing a friend or family member in need to the path to sobriety by taking that step with them can break down some of the fear or barriers that may otherwise prevent such strides.
Community is a large part of the recovery process. Giving back to a recovery program or facility can bolster a community of understanding and safety, both for those re-engaging with the real world or taking their first, tentative steps into the recovery sphere. At Avalon Malibu, we embrace the unique perspective of those constantly reevaluating their strategies and engaging with friends, family, and loved ones. The skills learned with us can help you find your own unique way to give back to those you love. We offer an array of programming that allows each individual to find their own best practices, whether art therapy, music therapy, yoga, individual or group counseling, or therapeutic approaches based on physical activity. We provide an atmosphere of community and understanding, helping to strengthen each individual in their newfound sober identity. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (844) 857-5992.