June 12, 2020

Need Cheering Up? Cheer Up Someone Else



Staying sober is not easy. During their using days, addicts have been using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate chronic unpleasant feelings, physical sensations, and negative self-talk. Some refer to the constant stream of negative self talk as being "stuck in my own head." Alcoholic Anonymous recommends that many addicts commit to helping other addicts as a way of "getting out of my head."

Volunteer work is a win-win strategy for turning attention away from one's own problems and turning toward others.  Helping those in need is a way to help oneself, most say.  I often recommend volunteering as one strategy in the treatment of depression and loneliness. Finding the volunteer experience that's right for you is key.

Some volunteer organizations require a commitment. Other volunteer opportunities are on a case by case basis, where the obligation ends after one or two appearances. When looking for volunteer activities, be sure to investigate the many different volunteer centers for a situation that fits your time constraints and your needs.  I typically suggest starting with an organization that asks for occasional participation or a low number of hours (8 hours per month, for example) and get a feel for showing up. Give different types of experiences a try until something feels like a better fit.

Here are a couple suggestions for getting started:

Austin's Public Radio KUT's Get Involved
Central Texas Food Bank
Meals On Wheels with special attention to their Other Programs you might not have heard about


Domestic Violence Resources

If you or someone you care about is the victim of domestic violence, here are a list of resources relating to legal assistance.