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Alcohol and drug addicts in recovery who dedicate their time to helping others are not doing this for purely self-less reasons. Instead they have come to realise that by helping others they can help themselves as well. A well-known recovery saying sums this up well, ‘to keep it you have to give it away’. Regardless of how someone finds recovery from their chemical dependency, helping others who have drug or alcohol addiction problems can be very helpful to one’s own recovery.
Doing such work in Recovering Communities can improve their life in a number of ways:
* It reminds the individual of where they have come from. This should mean they are less likely to relapse. The pain of chemical dependency begins to wane over time into memory. This means that people can begin to wonder if their old life was really that bad. Such thinking can be disastrous if it is left unchecked. By spending time with those who are struggling with addiction it becomes harder to forget the pain.
* Those who help others in recovery are less likely to suffer from anxiety/depression.
* It increases self-esteem because the giver now feels like they have something useful to offer society.
* It allows people to develop new skills and builds their confidence. Many alcohol and drug addicts may have a poor work history. Voluntary work can be the first step back into a successful career.
* They tend to be extremely self-absorbed. By thinking about others for a change it allows them to escape this focus on self. Such a change in perspective can be highly refreshing.
Those who are the recipient of such help benefit because:
* People with chemical dependency find it hard to trust other people. They may be suspicious of the motives of “do-gooders” or just feel that such people really don’t understand. It is much easier for the addict in recovery to win the trust of someone who is active in their chemical dependency.
* People in recovery will have a wealth of experience that will be of benefit to others following the same path.
* It is arguable that a recovering addict will have a much greater understanding of the needs of their fellows.
At Silkworth, the members of our recovery community have a desire and need for sharing their experiences, strengths and providing a source of ongoing support for one another in their recovery journey as well as undertaking activities to help and support the wider community – commonly referred to as ‘giving back’. It is important that we help grow our already strong recovery community through the established services that we already provide whilst making access to these services as easily as possible.
Our Recovery Day service is a key part of our organisation that introduces people into a recovery mindset in an informal non-judgemental and safe environment. From here people can understand more about the illness of chemical dependency and what options are open to them in order to manage their dependency, this in itself feeds and grows a recovery community.
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