How Can I Help Others in Recovery?
Content reviewed by Karen Rubenstein, LMFT, Chief Clinical Officer at Cliffside Malibu
After you have completed treatment and have continued your recovery, you may have been inspired by those who have reached out and lifted you from your rock bottom. That inspiration may have grown as you have seen the ripple effect in the recovery community as people share, help and heal together. Now you have a desire to share your experiences and inspire others to heal. How can I help others in recovery?
Volunteering While in Recovery
The most obvious place to start is by giving back to those around you. As with the recovery process, it is important to take small steps and not overcommit your time or energy, no matter how excited you are. Your enthusiasm needs to be applied first to maintaining your recovery and then dispersed carefully as you can give back to others. There are many ways to get involved in places that you are likely already going to. Some ideas for volunteering and giving back are:
- Be a friend to someone in recovery
- Be a sponsor to someone new to recovery
- Help at support meetings
- Volunteer in the administrative side of support organizations
- Share your story at meetings, schools or churches
- Volunteer at a treatment facility or prison
- Create recovery content online such as blogs, websites, podcasts and social media
- Participate in an online forum to offer support to others
- Get involved in a treatment alumni program
Transitioning to Careers in Addiction and Recovery
Some find volunteering so rewarding that they choose to make a career out of working in the recovery industry. Once you are in a paid position, you become more accountable and will be held to professional standards as well. Most of these professional positions require at least some training, certification, schooling or advanced degrees. Some of the certifications or educational degrees may be available in your community, such as at a trade school or community college. For those positions which require bachelor’s, master’s or professional degrees, you will want to find the best schools available in those fields.
Some of the careers available within the addiction recovery field include:
- Sober companion
- Addiction counselor
- Substance abuse counselor
- Mental health counselor
- Social worker
- Clinical therapist
- Nurse or detox specialist
- Clinical psychologist
- Health educators
- Correctional treatment specialist
- Social services coordinator
- Mental health case manager
- Research scientist
- Administrative and management positions
Chances are that you are familiar with each of these careers. You may have worked with many of them during your treatment. The best place to get information about schooling, certification, average salary, job descriptions and more is to talk to the people you know within the field. Talking to those already working in the field also allows you to ask questions to see if these professions are the right fit for you.
Giving Back for the Right Reasons
One of the dangers of volunteering or working in the recovery community is the possibility of losing sight of your recovery by becoming preoccupied with helping others solve their problems. This may lead to relapse. Not only can this derail your recovery, but it may also negatively influence the treatment and recovery process of those who you are trying to help. It is important to give back for all of the right reasons.
Consider your motivations in wanting to help others. Do you feel confident in your place in recovery? Do you have a solid support system and someone to whom you are accountable? Do you genuinely want to watch others achieve what you have attained? You may be ready to begin to help others.
The Value of Giving Back to Others
Altruistic intentions pay dividends toward helping others, as you have undoubtedly witnessed in your recovery. For example, those struggling with substance abuse often have a difficult time trusting other people, but knowing that someone has walked the same path may help them begin to open up and gain trust. Does this sound familiar? You now have the opportunity to create a connection and inspire another person’s recovery journey. They in turn may end up doing the same, and therefore the ripple effect continues.
Helping others also helps you. When you genuinely and consistently work on your recovery and are living with integrity, you will bless not only the people you work with, but also yourself. Watching others go through the same processes helps you to develop gratitude and recognize how far you have come. The opportunity to help others increases your self-esteem and self-worth as you continue to grow in your recovery as well.
How can you help others in their recovery? You can make a career for yourself by becoming involved in the recovery community and gaining the appropriate training or education needed. First and foremost, you need to focus on your treatment and recovery journey. Your treatment begins at Cliffside Malibu, a luxurious Private Rehab Treatment in Malibu, California. Contact us today at (855) 403-5641 to begin your journey.