Giving Back: Finding Healing in Helping Others

Giving Back: Finding Healing in Helping Others

Helping others helps those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction heal from their wounds

Addiction is by its nature a self-centered disease. Those who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol are consumed by the desire to use drugs or drink. When a person realizes that he or she needs help, the focus begins to turn from the substance of choice and the negative behaviors it causes to learning how to live a drug-free life. This transformation begins in rehab where addicted individuals learn the skills needed to cope with drug cravings and withdrawals. They learn to understand their addiction and how it developed and get treated for any underlying mental illness that might be contributing to the problem. Through group and individual therapy sessions the person in rehab begins to see that life free from addiction is possible and the hope of a future is reborn.

After rehab, getting involved in a support group continues the process. Support groups offer a safe place to share feelings and emotions, successes and struggles. Support group members understand the road you or your loved one is traveling and are willing to take the journey with you. Support groups also provide a much-needed social outlet for those in recovery. Learning how to communicate with others in positive ways and feel comfortable in your own skin is an important part of the healing process that support groups provide.

But once recovery is well under way and you or your loved one is feeling stronger, it’s time to think about giving back to others. Giving back to the community, helping others who are struggling with their own issues and providing services to the poor and homeless increases your own gratitude for how far you’ve come.

Giving back also has some powerful healing properties of its own. Not only can it make you feel stronger emotionally, but it also has some surprising health benefits. This is especially true for those on their own recovery journey.

Healing from Helping

According to the U.S. New and World Report Article, “Why Helping Others Makes Us Happy,” by Philip Moeller, people who help others tend to have higher self-esteem, happiness and an overall sense of well-being.[i] Those who volunteer regularly are also less likely to suffer from depression and hypertension, both of which can damage health. For those in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, keeping a positive frame of mind is important when it comes to avoiding relapse. Helping others helps you get your mind off of yourself and your addiction and keeps your thoughts focused on more positive things.

Author Stephen J. Post in his book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times (Jossey-Bass, 2011), helps readers further understand the body-mind connection when it comes to helping. “The therapeutic benefits of helping others have long been recognized by everyday people,” he said. “This concept was first formalized in a highly cited and often reprinted article by Frank Riessman that appeared in 1965 in Social Work. Riessman defined the ‘helper therapy’ principle on the basis of his observations of various self-help groups, where helping others is deemed absolutely essential to helping oneself.”[ii]

Support Groups

Joining a support group after rehab is one of the best places to begin experiencing the healing power of helping. Support groups have members at different places on their recovery journey. Your presence in the group represents your unique story. Sharing that story may be just what another group member needs to encourage him or her to keep moving forward. Listening to the stories of others empowers those in your group to keep sharing because they know they are in a safe place. Leading a group helps you guide a conversation in the most helpful way possible, all while learning and growing in ways you never dreamed were possible.

Along with being an active member of a support group, religious organizations and community groups offer a variety of opportunities to help others. Religious organizations have regular opportunities to reach out to others in need. Community food banks, clothing banks and homeless shelters are always looking for reliable volunteers as well. No matter how you choose to give back, the important thing is to show your gratitude for your new lease on life by helping someone else along the way.

Finding Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Once you have completed rehab for oxycodone, getting involved in a support group and finding ways to help others can help you continue to heal. Using your own unique story and experiences with oxycodone addiction can give someone else the courage to reach out for help. If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options. You are not alone. Call us now.


 

[i] Philip Moeller. “Why Helping Others Makes Us Happy.” U.S. News and World Report, April 2013. Accessed January 9, 2016.  http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/04/04/why-helping-others-makes-us-happy

[ii] PsychCentral.com. “Helping Others Is Good For Your Health: An Interview with Stephen G. Post, PhD.” Accessed January 9, 2016. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/28/helping-others-is-good-for-your-health-an-interview-with-stephen-g-post-phd/