How Helping Others in Recovery Can Help You Too

Lonely lady in brown sweater in addiction recovery

Let’s be honest: how often does helping others sound like the last thing you want to do — not because you don’t care, but because you just don’t feel like you have the energy? This can feel particularly true when it comes to supporting others in recovery. After all, you need to look out for your own wellbeing, and putting yourself out there for others can only be a drain. Right?

Well, as it turns out, providing support can be just as helpful as receiving it: research from Case Western Reserve University shows that people in recovery who support one another increase their prospects of staying sober by up to 50%! That’s a big part of why we emphasize Roots Recovery’s Alumni Program — we know that those in recovery make the most progress when moving forward together. Here’s why:

Groups Keep Each Other Responsible

Accountability is a two-way street. We work harder when we’re on teams because we can see the immediate results of the work we put in: if we miss a beat or nail something, you know right away what that means to people you care about.

Recovery is about forgiveness, but also about holding each other accountable. By putting yourself out there, showing someone how you’ve found success, you’re just as much reinforcing your own good habits as helping them find their own way.

Helping Others Helps Your Own Anxiety & Depression

Sobriety can feel incredibly isolating at times, and the resulting depression, loneliness, or boredom can increase the risk of relapse. But there’s a very good way to combat those feelings: when you wish someone was there right now for you, reach out and see if you can be that person for someone else!

This breaks both of you out of isolation of course, and helps you build a meaningful connection, but it has another, more practical benefit: when you help someone work through their negative feelings, you’re also practicing ways to work on yourself — self-love, self-care, empathy, and patience.

Thinking of Others Takes Your Focus Off Yourself

One of the uglier effects of addiction is that it makes people act in self-serving ways, chasing their next high and neglecting others. After rehab, you may feel like between making up for past mistakes and moving forward, there’s too much to do. But taking a step back to help others can lend crucial perspective.

You’re now uniquely qualified to reach out and help others with their challenges during recovery — after all, you’ve faced down those same challenges. Taking time to help others out with problems allows you to practice being the person you want to be, not the person you’re worried about being.

Curly haired lonely woman in blue shirt

You’ll Have Regular Reminders of How Far You’ve Come

Everyone’s recovery journey is different. It can be easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others who seem to be doing well. But when you provide support to other people, you get a chance to think objectively on your journey and admire the hard work that formed the foundation you’re standing on.

Having someone confide in you about their own journey, good or bad, can be a reminder of your own experiences. You’ll be able to reflect with them, recall how you worked through your own adversities, and celebrate just how far you’ve both come — often, further than you give yourself credit for.

Join Roots Recovery’s Alumni Network and Spread Support

Supporting others in recovery, especially through a system such as an alumni network, is a great way to both make something positive out of your challenges and move your own journey forward: the more care that people provide for one another, the greater that cycle of support can be!

The evidence-based and holistic therapies we employ at Roots Recovery give you the tools to thrive in recovery — and the ability to share them with others. By being a shoulder for others to lean on, you can create an ongoing community that’s just as valuable for your own sobriety as for those you help.

No matter where you’re at in your recovery journey, or what kind of help you need, Roots Recovery is here for you. Give us a confidential phone call and learn more about what we can do for you.