People in addiction recovery are usually encouraged to mentor other people who are also getting treatment or just starting their recovery journey. This is important for the mentee, but it’s also important for the mentor too. There are many studies that show that people who become AA or NA sponsors have a higher chance of maintaining their sobriety.

Additionally, helping others improves your overall physical and mental health by giving you a feeling of accomplishment and a greater sense of purpose. When you give back, negative thoughts and behaviors are reduced, self-esteem is improved, and you feel empowered because of a more positive state of mind.

Some other reasons why giving back is so important include:

  • you learn new skills
  • you gain new perspectives
  • you boost your resilience
  • you discover meaning and purpose
  • you connect with others
  • your community becomes a better place

When you help others you are essentially saying thank you for the support they gave you during your journey to sobriety.

How You Can Give Back

You don’t have to become a sponsor to help other people in recovery. Some people may help by committing themselves to someone while others may pursue a career that involves helping others. Some ways that you can give back to your community include, but are not limited to:

Help your 12-step program: AA and NA groups are support groups. They always need members to be active and helpful at meetings. You can volunteer, bring beverages, set up the meeting area, or give attendees rides.

Share your story: When you share your story of addiction and your road to recovery, you can have a significant impact on others. Your recovery story gives hope and inspiration to those that are still struggling with addiction. It proves to them that long-term recovery can be achieved.

Volunteer in your community: Every community has volunteer opportunities, so find something that piques your interest. If you really like animals, perhaps you volunteer at your local Humane Society. If you like cooking, perhaps you volunteer at a soup kitchen. You can volunteer at community organizations, hospitals, libraries, churches, and so many other places.

Help and spend time with your friends and family: You can also show your gratitude for your family and friends by helping them out or spending time with them. If you have an elderly relative, perhaps you help them with their errands or help them complete yard work. If you have family members with small children, maybe you babysit the kids so parents can have a nice night out. Whatever it is you choose to do, your family members will have a greater sense of appreciation and respect for you and your drive to help others.