As you recover from your addiction, you may find that volunteer work is a valuable way to spend your free time. You can make new friends to add to your sober support network and learn the value in responsibility.
Volunteering also helps with professional development. You can practice the skills needed to work a full-time job and network with others to find steady employment. All of this makes you feel good about yourself and what you have to offer the world.
Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/MichaelIlluchine
Let’s take a look at five opportunities for volunteer work that can help keep you grounded in your recovery.
Animals are being used more often to help people with acute and chronic illnesses. Research shows that pets have psychological and physical benefits on human health.
You can reap some of these benefits plus make a difference in the lives of animals by donating your time to an animal shelter, a non-profit organization or a local zoo.
Start with the Animal Humane Society for volunteer opportunities, but you can also find many local shelters in your area by doing a simple Google search.
Assisted Living and Nursing Homes
As Baby Boomers age, the assisted living community expands. Because of this, there are many opportunities open for volunteers.
One way to help seniors is by working in a kitchen for assisted living. Nursing homes could always use an extra hand, and it’s important for seniors to eat healthy, well-rounded meals.
There are also opportunities for companionship, care and assistance. You can make a huge impact in someone’s life just by playing a game of Checkers or taking a walk with them.
Inquire about volunteer opportunities by calling nursing homes and assisted living facilities in your area. Many have several volunteers assist their support staff each week.
Soup Kitchens and Food Drives
Helping feed the under-privileged is always an eye-opening experience. Everyone needs food to survive, so you’re helping out with a basic need while also giving back to your community.
There are food banks and soup kitchens all over, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one in your local community. You can help out with preparing meals, distributing food, answering foods or reaching out those in need.
Rescue and relief efforts often have a hard time finding people to carry out volunteer work. This type of work is labor intensive and often involves traveling to different areas, helping survivors and distributing water and food.
If you have a passion to help others, rescue and relief efforts may be a good fit for you. You must be able to remain cool and calm under pressure, plus handle a fair share of physical work.
State and National Parks
If you’re not ready to socialize with others just yet, that’s okay. There are still ways to help out your community and give back to others.
Volunteering your time in the secluded national parks may be just the thing your mind and body needs right now. You can keep the grounds clean by picking up litter, sweeping the premises or helping out with equipment maintenance.
You may also find that over time, giving tours of the state parks is comfortable and enjoyable for you. It will require some socializing, but you’ll be in your element.
If you’re not sure about where to find information on volunteer work, reach out to your treatment center. Many are familiar with local charities and organizations that accept volunteers, or they can at least point you in the right direction.