Though people coping with substance abuse are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, everyone experiences feelings of hopelessness at some point or another. Negative feelings can stem from inner conflicts and outside factors such as family drama or current events, but no matter what is driving these emotions, they can be reversed.
If it seems that every time you turn on the TV or open a newspaper you are met with nothing but bad news, you are not alone. Staying up to date on current events, especially now, can be stressful and overwhelming. It can make you feel anxious and helpless. This can put your recovery at risk, but it does not have to. Rather than letting all the bad news get you down, use it as inspiration to do your part to make the world a little bit better. You might think that one person can’t make a difference, but even the smallest acts of kindness can improve the world around you and strengthen your recovery.
There are countless non-profit organizations that you can volunteer for. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and see if there is a local organization that focuses on it. Some popular volunteering opportunities include:
- Volunteering at Senior Centers or Assisted-Living Facilities.
- Serving food at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
- Volunteering at animal shelters.
- Becoming a mentor to underprivileged children.
- You can also try volunteering at your church, community center, local library, or at a school.
With all the recent natural disasters, people need more help than ever. If donating money isn’t an option for you, there are still many ways that you can help out.
- Donate any extra clothing, toiletries, and nonperishable items you may have around your home.
- Coupon for a good cause! Extreme couponing is an art, but with a little patience you, too, can find free (or really cheap) food and toiletries to donate to those in need.
- Start a fundraiser at work. Place a collection box in the breakroom and donate all of the proceeds.
- Ask friends and family to donate any winter attire that they no longer use. With the cold weather right around the corner, you are sure to find people in need of a good coat to get them through the winter.
Plant a tree, participate in a park or beach cleanup, or start a community garden. Not only will this help the environment and improve the look of your community, but spending time outdoors has been proven to improve both mental and physical health.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
Sometimes the people who need you the most are those right beside you. Spending quality time with your loved ones will not only improve your family dynamics, but will also remind you that no matter what is going on, you always have people you can count on. Try:
- Having a weekly family dinner.
- Going away for the weekend together.
- Having a movie or game night.
Remember, whether you raise thousands of dollars for a cause, volunteer to babysit your niece so your sister and brother-in-law can have a date night, or help an elderly woman carry her groceries, giving back is a wonderful way to support your recovery. Not only will it keep you excited about your new sober life, but it will also put a smile on someone else’s face. It doesn’t get any better than that.