Depending on where you call home, there may or may not be many different sober communities scattered around your area. Some of these sober communities are organized groups run by those currently in addiction recovery or organizations designed to reach those suffering from addiction.
However, their goals are more or less similar at their core, which is to help others and help each other succeed in maintaining recovery. One of the most rewarding moments of the recovery process is when you get to take all the knowledge and experience you have acquired and help someone else that was once in your shoes. For some, that might mean becoming a sponsor, encouraging a friend to attend a meeting, or feeling inspired to embark on a career path revolving around helping people recover from addiction.
You may begin to feel inspired to pay it back and give back to the sober communities that once helped you. There is no right or wrong way to do that. In the process, you become stronger in your recovery as a result of being able to help someone else.
Ways You Can Consider Giving Back
For those located in Southern California, you have hopefully been able to find a sober community and support system that has your back. This might include people you have met in residential treatment programs, through a virtual IOP program, or maybe even individuals you have met by attending meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other support group meetings in your area.
For example, places like Ventura County AA have a 24/7 Hotline service. Maintaining a 24-hour hotline takes a lot of work and a lot of staffing. Once you have become more confident and secure in your recovery, maybe you would want to consider being a telephone volunteer for the Ventura County AA hotline. Here, you would not only be helping people with their recovery, but you would be helping them during some of their darkest times. Giving back is a considerable component of recovering, as it enables you to get out of your head and give to others what was given freely to you.
Volunteering like this can be done in most regional areas. You could consider volunteer opportunities with the Los Angeles Central Office as well. Wherever you are in LA County, Southern California, or anywhere in the state, a little research on where you can give your time can go a long way.
If AA meetings or similar support groups have worked for you, you may even consider giving back by becoming an AA sponsor. As a sponsor, you will share your experiences with someone in an attempt to help them through their treatment and sobriety. Your ability to understand what they are going through and offer advice and strength to help them through it is what makes the sponsorship role so unique.
This type of support can benefit individuals newly in recovery or who have initial reservations about treatment. The relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee is also mutually beneficial. While the sponsee gains an extra person to their support system, the sponsor’s recovery strengthens.
How Giving Back Helps You
As mentioned, the relationship between sponsor and sponsee is a mutually beneficial one. The same goes for other methods of contributing back to your sober community. Helping others can be a very fulfilling experience. It might sound selfish, but being able to help someone through some of the darkest days of their life is an amazing feeling.
In some cases, you may even be able to see yourself in the experiences of someone newly entering into treatment or recovery. Having the ability to help others with the similar struggles you went through, maybe even not too long ago, is a full-circle accomplishment. Being in a position to be able to help someone in that way is a true testament to your recovery and how far you have come. It also teaches you and reinforces accountability. No matter how far into recovery you are, there will always be threats to your sobriety. Giving back and making those connections throughout that sober community keeps everyone accountable on the tough days and further on into the future.
If you or someone you love has been in recovery for a while and are looking to give back and help others, encourage them to research how they can help. Places like Ventura County AA and the Los Angeles Central Office are just a couple of the many places in Southern California where you can volunteer. Speak to leaders in your sober communities and ask how you can be of service. Of course, if you have yet to enter into treatment and are looking for help in Southern California, please reach out to the Lakehouse Recovery Center. Our individualized treatment plans and trained professionals can help you start your path to recovery today.
One remarkably effective and often overlooked method that can help strengthen your recovery is helping others in their walk and giving back to the sober community you’ve become a part of. Not only is being able to help others with their recovery a testament to how far you’ve come on your own journey, but it will also keep you accountable too. In addition, there are very few things in life that compare to being able to help someone else on their darkest day. You may try volunteering at a hotline or becoming a sponsor. The ways you can give back are endless, and at the end of the day, we all need a strong support system to help us maintain recovery. If you or someone you love has yet to enter into recovery and needs treatment, please call the Lakehouse at (877) 762-3707 — start your path to recovery today.