How a Spirit of Giving Can Help in Your Recovery
Many people struggle with the holidays when they are going through addiction recovery or another tough time in their lives. When we see others spending treasured time with family and friends or enjoying the good things in life, it is easy to become jealous and want the “wonderful life” others seem to have. One of the best ways to curb the temptation to be jealous is to take the focus off of ourselves and start giving more to others. A spirit of giving can actually help in your recovery from drugs or alcohol because it makes you think of the true needs of others and helps you empathize with what they might be going through. It also gives you something constructive to do when you help others in need.
It’s Not All About You
It is so easy when we face challenges to feel sorry for ourselves and imagine that our problems are bigger than the rest of the world’s problems. Whether it is that our life seems ruined by addiction, a loved one has recently died, we lost our job or our house, or even something on a smaller scale like we are too busy at this time of year, or we can’t seem to shake a nasty cold, we easily get wrapped up with our own troubles instead of seeing the needs around us.
Yes, your problems might be affecting your physical health, mental health, or financial stability, and yes, you definitely should get help for the issue, especially something as serious as addiction. But try to remember that there are many people – even many who are living right around you – who don’t get a hot meal every day, who don’t have a single friend or family member, or who are homeless. There are people around the world who don’t even know what it means to have running water or to live in the safety or the freedom we enjoy and take for granted.
Others Have Needs Too
This year, when you are tempted to wallow in self-pity, think of others who are less fortunate than you. Think of the children who live in fear of their parents. Think of the babies who are abandoned as soon as they are born. Think of the victims of human trafficking, or the lives lost in a natural disaster. Think of the souls who don’t know their Savior and are on their way to being lost.
Then, don’t just think of the misfortunes of others: do something about it. There are many ways you can give back, depending on your financial situation and the amount of time and energy you have to give. You can certainly donate money, canned goods, blankets, or jackets to food banks, homeless shelters, churches, and other aid organizations. You can donate your time working with at-risk kids, or keeping the elderly company. At this time of year especially, there are many opportunities to serve others, and you don’t need to look any farther than your local church or community organization. Look for the opportunity to give, and then go above and beyond what you would expect of yourself, and see if it doesn’t make you feel better about your own situation.
Benefits of Giving Back
Giving to others will help you take the focus off yourself, which in turn helps improve your mood and motivates you to make positive changes in your own life as well. It is so easy to get caught up in apathy and laziness, and these attitudes can really drag us down. On the other hand, seeing the potential for good, believing your giving can make a difference in someone else’s life, and taking action and doing something positive for a change works wonders on a person’s life. It will make you more optimistic and provide the motivation you need to get back on track, give up an addiction for good, and develop a true hope for the future.
It is a difficult thing to do, but when you feel especially low and when things seem like they can’t get much worse, try to think of the needs of others. Don’t just think about their needs, but try to do something about it. In your own way, motivated by your compassion for others and your Savior’s love for you and them, act as a light in the darkness for someone else. Then you will see how grateful you can be for the blessings in your own life, and you will experience the true meaning behind this holiday season.
Don’t let the challenges of addiction and recovery hold you back from interacting positively with those less fortunate than you. Take a minute this holiday season to identify ways you can give back, and then actually do it. Put others’ needs before your own, and you will see how your own true needs can be met as you do so.