This week I got to take part in my first drugs and alcohol awareness workshop as part of the volunteering I do within my city. I visited a college and it was truly remarkable to be able to listen to the students speak so frankly about their encounters with drugs whilst having the chance to speak so honestly about my experiences with addiction too; it was really a great discussion in which everyone got involved.
Feeling like you are making a difference within your community no matter how small can in fact give you a real sense of purpose, particularly through recovery. (any kind of recovery- addiction, mental health issues, physical health issues) I have been volunteering through my recovery and have really felt like it has helped me. So I am here to share with you the benefits of volunteering:
1.)Allows you to help others
Knowing that you are making a real difference to someones life or society will be affected in a positive way through the actions of your volunteering, well there is no feeling like it. Be the person you needed in your life when you were younger.
2.)Make new friends
Volunteering can help you feel part of a real community, giving you a chance to meet people outside your friends and family- like-minded people you might never had the chance to meet before. I have made good friends through volunteering and am always meeting new faces, it is great for networking and socialising.
3.)Learn new skills
Volunteering can help you learn a variety of new skills, it can enable you to gain experience and sometimes even qualifications. All of these are things which could enhance your CV and make you more employable.
I felt the fear and did it anyway. I dared to go it alone and have never looked back. I am so thankful for finding volunteering as it enabled me to try new things, meet and speak to people on varying levels and this has done tons for my once shattered confidence.
5.)Give something back to an organisation/cause that has affected your life
I am obviously volunteering through the addiction services as this is an area that has affected my life and I am passionate about. However if you are interested in volunteering you should make sure you find the right opportunity for you. There are tons of organizations that advertise on their website or you could even find a volunteer placement abroad if that’s more your style.
6.)Become active and make a difference within the local community
It’s great to feel involved and know your work is making a positive impact on the community. We always get to hear feedback from our work and so get to build relationships with the local people. This is also great for networking and meeting new people.
7.)Gives you purpose
Volunteering keeps you busy, but even for people who are short of time know that there is always time to give. It is without a doubt lending your time to those who need it most keeps you mentally stimulated and provides you with a sense of purpose.
8.)Makes you feel good
Giving your time not only offers vital help to those in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for the you- the volunteer. If you are kind enough to volunteer you could see health benefits such as a decreased risk of depression and reduced levels of stress.
There is guaranteed to be free food/drinks at meetings/gatherings. If that won’t convince you then I don’t know what will…
See my other posts in the self care series!