Alcohol abuse and dependence is an unfortunately common problem in America. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 7.2% of adults reported having a drinking problem and 3.4% of teenagers. Recovery from alcohol abuse is not a short term solution or a cure. In actuality, recovery is a life long process and commitment. One of the best ways to remain sober after treatment is to seek out new hobbies and volunteer opportunities.
Many recovering alcoholics may underestimate the amount of good that they can do by being willing to share their time. Alcoholics Anonymous can help match people with appropriate organizations. One way to give back that many in alcoholism recovery find extremely healing is sharing their story with others. The willingness to openly and honestly share struggles and victories can be extremely helpful to both the person sharing and the people hearing the testimony. Many hospitals and alcoholism recovery centers are looking for reliable people willing to serve as addiction counselors and sponsors.
There are many other service opportunities available that are completely unrelated to alcohol abuse and addiction. It is a good idea to contact local churches or non-profit organizations. There are countless opportunities available, and often the hardest part is choosing the best match.
Many churches and soup kitchens host weekly or daily meals. They are often seeking help stocking shelves, cooking food, and serving meals. This is a wonderful way to serve the community. Hospitals frequently seek out people willing to crochet hats for new babies and blankets for high risk babies with longer stays at the hospital. Many youth sports programs are sadly understaffed, and having an extra volunteer on hand is a huge asset.
Much of choosing to volunteer is also about a sense of support and community. Many people feel a huge lacking in their social life when alcohol is taken out of the equation. Joining into group community service activities such as Habitat for Humanity, community beautification events, and litter pick up provide great opportunities to give back, while also building a new sense of community.
Working with animals is something that many in alcoholism recovery find rewarding and therapeutic. Animal shelters are often very short handed and in need of people willing to help clean cages, feed, care for, and exercise the animals. There are also many animal rescue services that seek volunteers willing to help in the recovery process of animals that have been neglected or abused.
Recovering from alcohol abuse can be a very difficult time for the addict and their loved ones. Often it is a time when many negative emotions surface, such as feelings of shame, anger, resentment, regret, worthlessness, and loneliness. Although recovery is not easy and can be a painful process, great things can come from it. Choosing to “give back” to family, friends, and community in various ways can help to replace negative and hurtful feelings with those of pride, self worth, and joy. Having a positive self image and optimistic outlook on life can be an integral part in forging a complete and successful recovery.