When you complete a treatment program, you may find value in support or guiding others in their recovery. Helping others with their struggles can help you find purpose and meaning in your life. You can support your peers by setting a good example and by continuing to attend groups. If you are part of a 12-step group, you may be encouraged by your group to spread the message of recovery to all those who need it. Some treatment facilities may welcome back alumni to continue to participate in group sessions and meet others in recovery. There are many ways that you can give back to your recovery community. Everlast Recovery Centers welcomes back past program participants to engage in groups at the facility. When you are in recovery, you have joined a network and fellowship of peers also seeking help from their addictions. Volunteering your time and your support can be a valuable asset to those new in recovery. They may learn from your experiences or have questions about treatment. Supporting peers is part of the recovery journey. Here are some ways that you may help:
Teaching a Class at a Rehabilitation Facility
You may have a special interest or coping skill that has helped you greatly in your recovery. By volunteering to teach a class, you can help your peers learn these skills and pass them along to help their recovery. Group classes are often taught at recovery facilities, you may recall some of the topics brought up during your groups. These questions may help you in generating topics:
- Was there anything that you found particularly helpful?
- Did you learn something outside of a class that may be valuable to others?
- What are you most passionate about in your recovery?
- What classes would you have enjoyed during your treatment that were not offered?
- What are you most passionate about now that you are living life outside of treatment?
- What interests or special activities might help others?
Teaching skills and classes in recovery are valuable to both you and your peers. Teaching helps us master a subject and we can learn new things from those we teach. Check with your rehabilitation center to see if they have opportunities for you.
Leading a Support Group
You may already belong to a support group, either a 12-step program, like AA, or another niche group, like grief support. While support groups are run by peers, groups often need a leader to get things started or continue the discussion during lulls. Sometimes, during a group support session, your peers may get off-topic or be unsure of what to discuss. Group leaders can also support and encourage new members to open and share with the group. If your support group already has a designated leader, you may be able to lead a meeting with their guidance. This can be helpful in case a leader is unable to attend a meeting and you can fill in as a substitute. Being a leader in a support group can help those who are struggling to talk or those needing additional support and guidance.
Starting Your Own Group
You can support peers by starting your own group. You can start a group online or in person. Speak to other group leaders about how they started their groups. You might be able to lead an existing group during a different time of the week to offer more options to peers. Churches and other community centers often welcome support groups of all kinds to help those struggling. You may have found a group during your treatment program that you felt other members of your community might benefit from. Starting a group and volunteering in your community can also help you focus and maintain your recovery by giving you meaning and purpose.
Become a Sponsor
If you are a part of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step groups, you may have the opportunity to become a sponsor. Sponsors are similar to mentors and they help to inspire others to continue recovery and maintain sobriety. You may have had a sponsor during your time in AA and are now ready to fulfill similar duties for someone else. Sponsorship is often informal and friendly. You might be there to remind a person about meetings, encourage participation, teach new life skills, or share advice you have learned in your sobriety. Much like teaching or leading groups, sponsoring another peer in a 12-step group can benefit both you and your peer. To set a good example for your peer, you may need to hold yourself to a higher level of accountability to your recovery.
Everlast Recovery Centers welcome alumni and past clients to return to the program to attend group sessions. We believe that creating a family-like atmosphere is paramount to recovery. By knowing that you are always a part of our family at Everlast, we hope to inspire you to continue with your recovery or seek additional support when needed. We are proud of you for working on yourself and choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle! You can now pass your knowledge and support to your peers in recovery! Recovery is a shared experience for many of us suffering from addictions. While we each have our own experience, we can all relate to one another on some level. Give back to the recovery community by supporting your peers and helping others new to recovery. For additional information or if you would like to attend our groups, call Everlast Recovery Centers at (800) 338-6925.