When you have successfully completed treatment for your
addiction and are progressing in your recovery, you have a lot to offer others.
You have experiences to share and, more importantly, an understanding of what others
are going through as they struggle with their own addiction. People in recovery
can help current addicts in a number of ways, which can be beneficial to everyone
Why Help Others?
Helping others can make you feel better and can actually
help in your own recovery efforts. There have been many research studies that
have shown the effects of helping others when you are working through your own
addiction to drugs or alcohol. In particular, Case Western University’s Maria
Pagano has done quite a bit of research on social
connections and their benefits for addicts.
Pagano and her team have concluded that you can increase
your chances of staying sober by up to 50 percent when you have a supportive network,
your sense of isolation is reduced, your social anxiety is decreased, and you
reach out to help others. Having a network of people who support you can significantly
impact your ability to stay sober. You can be part of that network in recovery
as you help current addicts.
When you help others, it appears to decrease some of the
psychological markers of addiction that made you prone to your addictive
behaviors. You will probably find that helping others leads to better interpersonal
interactions and will certainly prove beneficial to current addicts that you
are able to assist through your words and actions.
Just being in someone else’s life to listen to them can be a
tremendous help for current addicts. In recovery, you participate in support
groups where other people who have experienced the challenges of addiction and
the rewards of recovery are there to listen to you. As someone in recovery
yourself, you can help current addicts by being empathetic, understanding their
situation and relating to their struggles. While the addict may have friends or
family members who want to support them, as an addict yourself you can offer the
listening ear they truly need.
Conduct Well-Being Checks
Isolation is a serious issue in addiction. Now, especially,
people are feeling even more isolated as the pandemic has limited face-to-face
interactions. One of the most important ways people in recovery can help
current addicts is to check
on them frequently to ensure they are doing well, mentally and physically.
Make a phone call, suggest a video chat, or communicate via
text or email regularly. Social isolation has been linked to negative mental
and physical health consequences such as poor sleep quality, depression,
cognitive decline, and even impaired immunity. The longer the isolation
continues, the more serious its impact on an individual’s well-being. Reach out
and let the individual know you care about them and want to be sure that they
are taking care of themselves.
Participate in Online Support Groups
During “normal” times, one of the most effective ways to
help current addicts is to help out at support group meetings. You might give a
ride to someone who needs to attend, help set up the meeting itself, serve
coffee, and stay behind to chat one-on-one. As most support group meetings have
moved online, you can still participate actively, being there as a supportive,
encouraging person in recovery.
Connect on a Spiritual Level
When you are active in your faith-based recovery, connecting
with current addicts on a spiritual level can provide the support and encouragement
they need to get through some very tough days. Two verses that define our
mission at Celebrate Hope can be very helpful for others who are struggling
with overcoming their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Share with others that it is possible to “be transformed by
the renewing of your mind,” as described in Romans 12:2. In recovery and in
life, “the old life is gone; a new life has begun,” as we find in 2 Corinthians
5:17. This is an important message that can help current addicts, as well as
yourself, as a reminder that addiction treatment and your faith give you a new
life in recovery.
Help Them Find Help
Of course, the most important ways people in recovery can
help current addicts is by guiding them toward the resources they need to get
help for their mental and physical health. If you know someone who struggles
with a substance use disorder, reach out and let them know they can get that
help with Celebrate Hope’s faith-based
addiction treatment program.
Encourage them to contact us to learn more
about we help men and women break the cycle of addiction and begin anew. We
rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to
get individuals on the path of recovery.