Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fwd: Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Preventing Relapse by Helping Others

Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Preventing Relapse by Helping Others

Link to Treatment Solutions Network Drug Treatment and Recovery Articles

Preventing Relapse by Helping Others

Posted: 23 May 2011 02:48 PM PDT

Many times when we hear of addiction and treatment, we hear of people who have recovered from drug or alcohol addiction themselves that go back to help others recover. While it is a nice thing to do to help others, many people actually find it therapeutic to do so.

If we would look at the bios of staff and volunteers at nearly every major organization that helps with substance abuse recovery, we would find people who themselves are recovering addicts. Someone who has recovered from drug abuse will often want to turn around and help others in their recovery. Sometimes it is out of gratitude that there was someone there to help them in the first place that makes someone want to help others. But helping others can also act as motivation and a guide for the person to stay sober themselves. It can be a part of their relapse prevention.

Helping Others

When we are focused on others, we tend to forget about our own problems and weaknesses. Doing any kind of service for others, whether it is helping serve food at a local shelter, or reading books to kids at a school, can be a source of joy and accomplishment for someone recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. When the service involves helping others recover from drug or alcohol addiction, it can be even more meaningful. Being a part of someone's journey toward sobriety can remind others why they have worked so hard at sobriety, and feel like they truly have a purpose in this life.

Relapse Prevention

The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous understood this. They structured their recovery program on the concept that recovering alcoholics should partner up with someone in order to help them both along. Those who have been sober for some time become mentors for newcomers. This helps the newly recovering individual by giving them someone to be accountable to, and to get encouragement from. It also helps the person who has been sober for a longer period of time, because they are now helping themselves by being a part of other people's recovery.

When someone who has recovered from drug or alcohol addiction goes back to help someone else, they are reminded of the pain their addiction caused. They are reminded of the baby steps necessary to get clean. They are reminded of the struggle to stay sober, and the risk of relapse. They also see the hope that can be found when someone gets the help they need. They can experience all over again the happiness that comes when someone breaks free from addiction.

When we see a recovering addict dedicating their life to helping others get clean and sober, we are actually looking at part of that person's relapse prevention plan. We should be happy that the person is taking extra steps to ensure they remain sober themselves.


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