Getting Clean and Sober and the Power of Service Work

If you are in the addiction recovery process from substance use disorders, you should feel good about your progress. But instead, you might feel lost or slightly empty. For all those years, your drug of choice was your constant companion; now, you must replace it with something new. Many people in recovery express this feeling, especially in the early going.

One excellent way to restore a sense of purpose in your life is volunteer work and being able to help others. Volunteering in recovery can both help you regain your self-esteem and help make a positive impact in your community.

Changes Healing Center is a joint-accredited addiction treatment center. Our Phoenix treatment facility has had the pleasure of helping hundreds of clients make the transition from alcohol or drug addiction to successful recovery. It is natural for a person struggling to stay clean and sober to miss their drug of choice – which is why we often recommend seeking volunteer opportunities as part of a client’s aftercare plan.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of volunteering during your recovery, and remember the caring staff at Changes is here to help you or your loved one get a solid foundation for lasting recovery!

10 Benefits to Mental Health from Volunteering in Recovery

 Benefits to Mental Health from Volunteering

When you help others you find purpose and develop skills that will help you in long term recovery. Here are 10 of the many benefits.

1) Boosts Self Esteem and Mental Health

Volunteering gives those in early recovery a much-needed confidence and self-worth boost. As you see the results of your efforts on others you start to see your value and special talents. This lift in self-esteem is key to believing in yourself and your ability to change and grow.

2) A Sense of Purpose After Treatment

Volunteering is a meaningful way to spend your time. It gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment many people lack during addiction. Community service allows you to contribute to something bigger than yourself which may help you find new motivations and goals for your recovery journey.

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3) Meeting Like Minded People

Volunteering helps build social networks and a sense of community and belonging. You may meet like-minded people in the recovery community. Whether through AA meetings in Phoenix, SMART Recovery meetings in Scottsdale, or something like Dharma Recovery, finding peers who have gone through similar experiences and made it ‘out the other side’ is crucial.

Finding people with similar values and goals through service activities is helpful. A support network is priceless in recovery.

4) Being Active Helps You Keep a Routine

Regular volunteering adds structure to your day which is key to maintaining sobriety. A consistent schedule fills your free time with positive activities. As a result, it reduces the opportunity for idle time to lead to cravings or negative thoughts. This structured routine supports a stable and productive life.

5) Skill Building and Life Skills

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience. Whether you start learning to organize events or learn specific technical life skills to use daily, volunteering sparks personal growth. As a result, it may have benefits beyond the actual act of service.

6) A Positive Diversion

Service work can be a healthy distraction from cravings and negative thoughts. By focusing your energy on helping people in tough situations you take your attention off the temptations and onto. This positive diversion can accompany practices of mindfulness in recovery and is a powerful tool for managing recovery.

7) Empathy and Compassion

Helping others in need can increase your empathy and compassion and bring about emotional growth. Volunteering allows you to connect with people from all walks of life. So you broaden your understanding and sensitivity to others’ struggles. This emotional growth can be life-changing and promote healing and personal development.

8) Improve Focus and Self-Esteem

Volunteering has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Doing meaningful activities and connecting with others can boost your mood. It can also be a source of achievement and fun. Reducing symptoms of mental health issues is a big bonus for overall well-being and recovery.

9) Accountability

Being part of a volunteer team can provide extra accountability and motivation to stay sober. Knowing your new friends are counting on you gives you the motivation to continue on the path to a clean and sober life. This sense of responsibility to your team and the people you meet adds extra support.

10) Self Fulfilment

Giving to a cause bigger than yourself in your spare time can bring deep personal happiness and joy. Making a positive impact on others enriches your own life and gives you a sense of self-fulfilment which is very rewarding. This personal happiness and self-fulfillment are key to a meaningful and happy life in recovery.

Interested in Volunteering? Consider These Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering helps people in recovery

Volunteering helps people in recovery avoid backsliding into active addiction. Not sure what type of volunteer work will make a meaningful difference? Follow your passions!

A past Changes Healing Center client, ‘Victor,’ came to Phoenix for recovery from a substance use disorder. When he left his treatment program, his mental health began to decline again. He had a relapse prevention plan, but he did not take it seriously.

After a brief relapse, he saw the importance of following his plan, which had included volunteering to help raise funds for a local cat rescue group. The shelter always lacked sufficient resources, and he had planned to write a blog post and email campaign to appeal to donors. Victor’s family members encouraged him to reconsider his aftercare plan and get more help if needed.

Once he decided to focus on working his aftercare plan to the letter, Victor saw an almost tangible result. He remembered how hard he’d fought to beat substance abuse. He started interacting with potential donors at the cat rescue and built new relationships with other volunteers who shared his love for felines.

Working with cats helped him overcome the challenging emotions he had carried during those first weeks after leaving addiction recovery. Today, Victor is thriving; he’s found a great job and continues his mission to help cats.

Become a SMART Recovery Facilitator

A SMART Recovery facilitator leads meetings that support people in recovery. The training program covers the SMART 4-Point Program and facilitation skills. You can complete the facilitator training through online courses or in-person sessions, gaining the tools to guide and support others in the recovery process.

Delivering Meals to Homebound People

Volunteering to deliver meals to homebound individuals is a rewarding way to make a tangible difference in someone’s life. This service ensures that those unable to leave their homes due to illness or disability receive nutritious meals and regular human interaction. Organizations like Meals on Wheels offer opportunities to build relationships in your local community.

Serve Others at a Soup Kitchen or in Homeless Shelters

Serve Others at a Soup Kitchen

Serving meals at a soup kitchen helps provide food and support to those in need. Soup kitchens often rely on volunteers to provide meals, clean up, and engage with guests. This volunteer work helps you provide support to the community, helping fight hunger and making a difference for individuals experiencing homelessness or food insecurity.

Interested in volunteering but still unsure how you’d like to participate? Below is a free downloadable series of journal prompts to help you reflect and get inspired!

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Download Our Volunteering In Recovery Journal Prompts

Are you considering volunteer work as part of your relapse prevention plan or as a way of making living amends? If you aren’t sure how to begin, these journal prompts will help you reflect.

Volunteering in Recovery Journal Prompts

Connect With Changes Healing Center for Your Recovery Process

Please contact Changes Healing Center today if you, a family member, or a loved one need help with treatment or recovery. Our facilities are Joint Commission-accredited and offer inpatient and outpatient support to provide a solid foundation for lasting success in sobriety.

Our caring Admissions team is here to answer your questions or provide information about addiction recovery. All calls are confidential, so please reach out and call us today.