Alumni Volunteering to Help Your Peers
One of the best ways you can support lasting recovery is to stay involved in the recovery community. From alumni meetings and recovery support group gatherings to speaker jams and community events, there are many opportunities to help others who wrestle with substance abuse issues. Supporting others in recovery is a great way to promote your own recovery efforts as well. Assisting others keeps you grounded and creates opportunities to reconnect with counselors if needed. What's more, visiting Gateway Treatment Centers acts as a reminder of where you came from and how challenging it was when you were first starting your recovery journey.
Paying it Forward Supports Lasting Recovery
At Gateway Chicago West, three dedicated women are bonding with others in early recovery on a regular basis. The alumni takes turns, visiting Gateway support groups every week to share their stories and connect with women in treatment.
"I keep going to the support groups to give back to where I came from—my foundation," says Kelli, an alumnus who volunteers at Gateway Chicago West. "I am showing newcomers that they can do it no matter what. I encourage them to give themselves a chance and to stay strong."
"I believe it is particularly powerful when alumni come to talk to others in treatment. The alumni have walked the walk. They have worked with our counselors, followed the rules and lived with 15 other women," explains Gabriela Raijer, Clinical Supervisor at the Chicago West Treatment Center. "Their experience is validated by the alumni and they can see that early recovery can lead to long-term recovery."
Opportunities to Give Back and Help Others
10 Easy and Fulfilling Ways to Volunteer:
- Speak at a graduation ceremony.
- Share your story with clients and encourage them to be involved in Alumni Program.
- Coordinate a holiday dinner.
- Run support groups.
- Help with set-up, decorating and cleanup for alumni special events.
- Ask local businesses if they are willing to donate goods or services for alumni events or prizes for fund-raising activities.
- Share with Alumni Coordinators creative Alumni event ideas that would be fun and supportive of alumni in recovery.
- Hand out flyers about upcoming Alumni events at the local AA/NA meetings.
- Promote Alumni events at the local recovery homes.
- Come to Gateway on a day other than an Alumni meeting day to sit with a few clients to discuss their Relapse Prevention Plans.
If you would like to make a real difference in the lives of others in early recovery, please contact an Alumni Coordinator at a Gateway treatment center near you to express your interest in volunteering. Call today, it's easy!
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