Sober Living 6: Service Work

Addiction is a selfish disease.  More than anything else in the entire world, the addict or alcoholic wants to feel good.  Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol have offered the abuser a guaranteed way to feel good and for this reason the cycle of addiction has turned into a one dimensional disease.  The addict desires a state of positive affect and the drug or drink guarantees the feeling he or she craves – it’s that simple.  But what happens when the drug or drink is taken away and suddenly the addict or alcoholic has nothing to make them feel good?  Immediately, a substance abuser will find himself or herself lonely without a drug or drink.  For this reason, something needs to create a positive affect in the user that isn’t a mood altering substance.  

The concept of having to use something other than a substance to create a positive feeling may be an entirely new concept to someone in recovery and therefore he or she will need guidance to discover activities in life than can create the feeling an addict desires without taking a drink or drug. 

A good place to start is service work.  Simply acting to helping somebody else, without expecting anything in return, can create a positive feeling.  What’s better than seeing the face of pure gratitude, knowing that you helped someone not because they were giving you a paycheck, but simply because it was the right thing to do?  Now imagine creating a habit of helping others instead of staying in a habit of selfish acts and see what happens to your overall mood and desire to use drugs and alcohol.  Although the desire to use will certainly not be eliminated through service work, it is one type of new behaviors that will be incompatible with addict behaviors.

To fing ways to get involved with service work try this website: http://www.handsonatlanta.org

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