Giving back during recovery
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When a person undergoes a transformation and commits to a sober lifestyle, the individual may become increasingly preoccupied with the resources he or she needs. However, an untapped therapeutic resource for many reforming addicts is the act of giving back. In fact, volunteerism within the recovery community is a long established tradition. In addition to the intrinsic rewards it can bestow onto these helpers, volunteering can also equip a selfless person with the needed skills to continue managing his or her own recovery.

In a landmark 2014 research observation concerning volunteer work and the prevention of using psychoactive drugs from Kazan Federal University in Russia, the researchers pinned down a number of critical facts about effectively lessening drug use in youth across the globe. With the latest reports of substance abuse and addiction continuing on despite awareness and preventative programs in schools, universities and media, the study observed a volunteer community started by the Elabuga State Pedagogical Institute and a partnership of psychologists and other governmental affiliates.

The community of activists laid out a series of steps to accomplish their goals, beginning by defining the primary social problems and priorities, holding training schools to educate incoming volunteers and then conducting similar group sessions with teenagers. By utilizing an informative program that focuses on accessibility, socialization and the teenagers’ personal interests, the outcomes of the study showed that 85.7 percent of participants reported that the educational sessions sparked interest, 21 percent of the group learned to communicate in new ways and 92 percent of the teens desired to meet again and continue a supportive relationship.

Addiction counselor Izaak L. Williams adds evidence to these recent findings with a collection of research regarding how volunteer work can directly benefit those in recovery. The practitioner details that volunteerism can help strengthen a former addict’s resume, social skills and emotional stability. By allowing individuals to overcome these internal limitations, these groups of people are able to reach unforeseen potential and access better opportunities in their lives. In short, helping others is a bi-directional therapeutic resource. One of the greatest examples of altruism within the sober community is 12-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous, that are comprised of former substance users and abusers.

The most prominent California-based charities

For those unable to devote hands-on aid, helping others who are recuperating from substance addiction can also come in the form of financial support. Many unique and equally dedicated nonprofit organizations and charities are based in California and provide the resources many underserved populations need. While some focus on awareness and others target policy change, these assorted foundations are a beacon of hope for the future of addiction treatment and rehabilitation funding.

  • Natural High: The purpose of Natural High is to improve on the ineffective prevention programs of the past. Instead of focusing on limited responses to peer or social pressure, the offered programs at this organization encourage individuals to pursue their own natural high that will overcome any desire to take drugs. Natural High is also a digital platform that allows its members to share their stories, access a wide range of resources and connect with other drug-free youth.
  • The Brent Shapiro Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Awareness: This Los Angeles foundation aims to spread the awareness of drug and alcohol addiction to a national level. In addition to its various initiatives that introduce students to sober activities, the foundation has distributed more than two million Save A Life cards across the country. The foundation uses its funds to promote its original drug prevention Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and other informative resources that aid the process of educating children of the dangers of addictive substances.
  • Angels At Risk: Also operating from Los Angeles, this nonprofit engages tens of thousands of teenagers and their families each year with their mission to address the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Overall, their strategies focus on the powerful potential of storytelling and communication by providing school-based and parental education sessions for adolescents and adult sources of support around the city. Also, some of the collected funds are devoted to scholarships that improve the chances for teenagers and families to receive outside counseling.
  • To Write Love on Her Arms: TWLOHA was established in March 2006. This organization tackles a wide range of mental health issues, including addictive and abusive relationships combined with drug and alcohol, mood disorders, self-harm and suicidal ideation. The nonprofit has raised millions of donated dollars for other organizations working to save lives all over the world and has partnered with universities, social networks and even music festivals. With locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura, this level of involvement and exposure works to promote existing strengths with professional health care.

Sovereign Health Group of California is another helpful resource for those in recovery and restarting their lives after addiction. To help curb these dangerous trends, this statewide treatment provider has established residential, rehabilitative facilities in counties throughout California, including the greater San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles areas. In addition to inpatient, outpatient and transitional care services, Sovereign also hosts informative continuing education (C.E.) opportunities for its local communities as well. If you or a loved one suffers from a serious drug or alcohol dependency, contact our 24/7 admission helpline on our website or call (866) 819-0427.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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