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Why Volunteering Is a Healthy Pathway to Long-Term Sobriety


December 13, 2017

When you have committed to the path of sobriety, how can you stay on that path? You need to surround yourself with supportive family and friends, and many people look to the past to build up their support network. However, building new friendships and committing to your community in new ways can also give you a positive social circle. What are some of the benefits of volunteering when you are in recovery?

Making a Contribution is Good for Your Mental Health 

Volunteering is beneficial to those you help, but it is also helpful for you. By volunteering, you:

  • Help others, thereby bringing joy and direction to your life.
  • Add meaning to your life. For some people, volunteerism can be a pathway to explore an old passion or a new career.
  • Boost self-esteem, finding value in the work you do in the world.
  • Reduce stress. You develop social connections and facilitate positive social interactions.
  • Stimulate your brain. Volunteerism focused on tutoring or teaching or learning a new skill helps you engage your mind in new ways.
  • Increase activity. According to a study in Psychology and Aging, volunteering is also connected to physical health, such as lower blood pressure.
  • Develop a social network that you can maintain throughout the years. For example, even when you retire from work, you can continue at your volunteer job.

Creating Positive Habits 

If you are sitting at home at the end of the workday, this can be a hard time to maintain your sobriety, especially if drugs and alcohol were part of your end-of-the-day routine prior to rehab.

Instead of choosing that path, turn to volunteerism instead. For instance, you could go out and volunteer to walk dogs at the local shelter twice a week. If family or health challenges make it hard to get out of the house, you could do work from home, connecting with meaningful work and others online. For instance, if you find that crafts relax you, you could knit blankets for the homeless. These positive habits give you something constructive to turn to when you are at loose ends.


Volunteering leads to better mental health and can potentially benefit your physical health as well.

Building a Social Network

Are you looking for new friends who are committed to making a difference in the world? When you volunteer, you will meet a diverse group of people who are devoted to the same causes that interest you. According to the Harvard Business Review, “volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression.”

Another benefit of volunteering is that you create a new social network as you volunteer. If your old social network was connected to substance abuse, finding a new group of people who engage in a different way with each other can be very beneficial to your long-term sobriety.

Are you looking at your options for maintaining sobriety as you move out of treatment? Or are you starting your journey to better health? Connect with Advanced Recovery Systems today.

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