From Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to Smart Recovery, gratitude is known as an essential pillar to any addiction recovery process. Understanding and being able to express how grateful you are for not only a chance at being sober but also for all that is good in your life is an important step in re-entering society as a newly sober individual. Whether saying it aloud or even just in your head, the positive re-affirmations of acknowledging what you are thankful for is a powerful psychological tool that will prevent negative thinking patterns from resurfacing.
When practiced as a daily routine, gratitude is a powerful preventative measure against potential triggers and addictive behavioral thinking. Since addiction recovery is an ongoing process, we would also recommend that you eventually take those lessons of gratitude one step further by actionably giving back to the addiction recovery community. Giving back is a natural progression of practicing gratitude in the addiction recovery process, but it should only be attempted once an individual feels stable and safe in their long-term sobriety. Although there is no exact timeframe for when this feeling of stability will occur, we usually recommend that individuals have at least one to two years of continuous sobriety under their belt before attempting to give back to the addiction recovery community.
Giving back and helping fellow addiction recovery patients is beneficial on both a personal and public level. This actionable form of gratitude will help you maintain the necessary motivation to keep up ongoing treatment for your sobriety maintenance while also assisting others in recovery with their chronic addictive behavioral disorders. For those who feel comfortable in their sobriety, giving back is a win-win scenario that will help improve your chances of maintaining long-term sobriety. After leaving rehab it can be difficult to find actionable ways to give back, we have provided a few suggestions below of how you can become more involved and give back to the addiction recovery community.
- Be More Involved at Community Recovery Meetings
If you have maintained one to two years of continuous sobriety, then chances are you may be inclined to attend fewer meetings than you did when in early recovery. This is only natural as the need for support and assistance in recovery will not be at its greatest later on in the treatment process. Weaning yourself off a reliance on regular attendance for sobriety maintenance is a good sign that the healthier, sober behaviors you have been practicing are gradually becoming a habit. However, we would suggest that individuals in this late-stage recovery go against their inclinations to draw back from regular attendance at meetings and increase their involvement in the addiction recovery community. You may even end up attending fewer meetings by increasing your presence at the community meetings that you do attend. This can take many forms including the acceptance of an official role in your local chapter, providing coffee and snacks for attended meetings, or even just setting up and taking down the chairs. Complacency for individuals who have achieved one to two years of sobriety can easily allow addictive behavioral patterns to resurface triggering a potential relapse, and by doubling down on your involvement at recovery meetings, you reduce the chances of becoming complacent and unaware of your chronic illness while in early remission.
- Be a Guest Speaker at Community Recovery Meeting or Rehab Facility
Another great way to give back to the addiction recovery community is to share your story of addiction either at a recovery meeting or rehab facility. Guest speakers make up a large part of most recovery meetings as utilize the most important resource in recovery, fellow addiction recovery patient experience. If you feel like sharing, you should speak with your local recovery group’s officer or organizing members to schedule a time to volunteer your addiction recovery story.
- Sponsor New Members in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Other 12-step Groups
For members of local AA chapters, the chance to sponsor or guide a fellow recovery patient is an important part of the addiction recovery process. Sponsorship is essentially mentoring another recovery patient who is generally earlier on in their stage of recovery through their journey of the 12-step addiction recovery treatment process. Sponsors can be both mentors and friends bringing a personal attachment to the isolating disease of addictive disorders. We would recommend that sponsorship should only be attempted for individuals who have completed a 12-step program and maintained continuous sobriety for at least one year to years although sponsorship will probably be more effective for both individuals if it occurs sometime after the two-year mark.
- Seek Out Employment Options in Addiction Recovery Treatment Community
Another way addiction recovery patients give back is by seeking out employment at addiction recovery treatment centers. This is of course a long-term scenario and should only be attempted long after over two years of continuous sobriety. However, seeking employment in the addiction recovery treatment community can effectively give a sense of direction after leaving treatment facilities as it may even require additional education. Experience is generally the best teacher which makes those in remission from their addictive disorders ideally positioned to work with addiction recovery patients who are actively seeking treatment.
If you need treatment for an addictive disorder with co-occurring mental health issues, then Choice House has the dual-diagnosis addiction recovery treatment services to help. Through a variety of therapeutic modalities, we offer men the chance to achieve and maintain sobriety as they build a new foundation of understanding, love, and empathy. Our addiction recovery treatment services include a 90-day inpatient program, an intensive outpatient service, as well as the opportunity to take up residency at our sober living campus. Located in the Boulder County area of Colorado, our facilities are ideally situated between the bustling city of Louisville and the Rocky Mountain National Park. We take full advantage of having the Rocky Mountains in our backyard by utilizing a unique outdoor wilderness therapy that allows men to reconnect with themselves, fellow recovery patients, and nature through physical activity like hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking. We strongly believe that the bonds of friendship you form at Choice House will last a lifetime and prove vital to the recovery process long after you have left our facilities. For more information regarding Choice House facilities or treatment services, please give us a call at (720) 577-4422.