Support groups provide an opportunity for us to heal by being there for one another. There is a great deal of power in just being present for others to help us in recovery. Altruism, or the practice of displaying concern for others’ welfare, benefits both the giver and the receiver. When participating in support groups or lending a helping hand, both sides benefit from compassion and support.
During the podcast “Mutual Help” on “Beyond Risk and Back,” Dr. Bruce Liese defines altruism as the “feeling you’re making the world a better place for someone [else.]” The feeling that we get from helping another can give us purpose in our recovery as we give back to those struggling with issues that we might have had in the past. Sometimes, sharing our story with others can have a meaningful impact on their recovery.
How Does Sharing Our Experiences Help Others?
Many of us recovering from addiction have experienced feelings of shame. We might have done things that we are not proud of during the throes of our addictions. Some of us have lied, stolen, gotten into trouble with the law, or hurt the people we love the most. Shame can be challenging to overcome. We can alleviate shame by sharing our experiences with others.
When we first get into treatment and recovery, we might feel reluctant to share or open up about our issues. As we listen to others sharing their stories, we can bond with our collective emotional experiences. Opening up and being vulnerable takes courage. When surrounded by others with similar inner lives as our own, we can draw inspiration from their strength. As we gain more experience in recovery, we start to give some of that inspiration to others.
Give the Gifts of Comfort and Solace
Altruism does not need to be a grand gesture of giving someone the “shirt off your back” or giving away your money to those in need. Sometimes, the greatest gift that we can give is telling someone that we care and are here for them. Providing comfort and solace to someone feeling down or in a dark space can help us realize the value we can give to the world. These simple gifts can make someone else’s day a little brighter or inspire them to make a positive change in their lives. The more we give to others, the more we get in return as we see the positive change that our presence can make in another’s life.
Alumni: The Pillars of the Recovery Community
The power that alumni have with the gifts of their experience builds the recovery community. Without the service, commitment, and altruism of alumni who have “been there,” many people may not feel brave enough to step out of the shadows of their addictions. Without seeing a story of success through sobriety and treatment, others might not feel inspired enough to commit to change themselves. When they see and hear an example of what they can become, they can realize that there is hope for them.
Being the Change You Wish to See in the World
By humbly helping others in their early recovery and treatment, you can show them that what they want in life is accessible. When people meet their role models and realize that they, too, are human, they realize that they can live the life of their dreams. We are all fallible and imperfect beings. We can suffer the same temptations and succumb to similar pressures or influences of negative behaviors. When you share your life experiences and inner turmoil with others–and how you changed–you can inspire change and build a community of recovery support.
As alumni of treatment, you are well on your recovery journey. As you continue along your path, you can help yourself stay focused and grounded by helping those beginning their journey. Creating a community of support can be healing for both you and others in recovery.
Altruism can be helpful for those of us in recovery. When we give back to those seeking comfort and solace in their journey, we make the world a better place. By giving back to the recovery community, we can help those in a worse space than us. We can also benefit from knowing that we are making an impact in the life of another. Alumni are valuable in the recovery community. You can help share your experiences with others, offer tips, or just let people know that everything will be okay. Remember how you felt at the beginning of your treatment. Did you have role models inspiring positive change? Now, you can be the change you wish to see in the world. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center welcomes alumni to share their experiences with others as they begin their treatment. We are also here for you when you need additional support. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.