Giving Back: Can Firefighters in Recovery Boost Mental Health through Volunteer Work?
Every day is an opportunity to boost your mental health, connect with the positive people in your life, and make progress in your treatment for trauma-related disorders and/or addiction.
When you volunteer, you:
- Increase your self-esteem as you see in action how just showing up improves the lives of the people you are serving
- Give yourself somewhere to go on a day when others around you might be focused on drinking
- Help others to enjoy themselves and have a good time, which in turn helps you to enjoy yourself
- Provide yourself with a place to grow and connect with other people outside of the recovery world
Here are just a few ways you can use volunteerism to not only help the people around you but also to help yourself to feel stronger in recovery:
- Man a booth at a local kids’ event. Churches, nonprofits, and other local organizations are always looking for volunteers to help them stage Fourth of July events, from picnics to carnivals. Ask around to find out what is going on and get involved.
- Take part in a 5K or marathon. If you don’t have enough time to sign up to help out at a Fourth of July event, sign up to walk or run in an event that is happening that day.
- Organize your own “give back” program. You can do your own “random acts of kindness” on whatever scale you like on the Fourth of July or any day. Put up notices with boxes to collect books for kids at a local shelter, do your own mini food drive, or knit blankets (or make tables or jewelry — anything you are good at and enjoy) and donate them, or sell them and donate the proceeds to your favorite charity.
- Attend nonprofit or other events. If you can’t volunteer, take a look at some of the different things going on locally to learn more about what your options are for next year and organizations you might like to get involved with.
Start by Taking Care of Yourself
If you are not feeling strong in recovery, if trauma is still plaguing you, or if you have relapsed, it is important to address the issue before you turn your attention to the needs of others.
At American Addiction Centers, we offer a highly rated program that is tailored to meet the needs of firefighters. We offer uniquely designed treatment plans that feature trauma-focused care for disorders like emergency responder exhaustion syndrome (ERES). With facilities across the country, from California to Florida and various places in between, you can connect with a first responder-focused addiction treatment program. Call now for more information.