After undergoing all the stages toward life-long recovery, you may wonder how you can help others overcome their battles with addiction. Though you can be a huge support in many ways, one that might appeal to you is advocacy.
An advocate is someone who speaks out about a cause. In this case, your advocacy would be to share what you’ve learned in the hopes that more people will succeed in their mission to conquer and control their addictive tendencies. But is advocacy the right way to proceed? Maybe and maybe not — but it’s worth considering.
Signs You May Be Ready to Become a Public Advocate in Support of Sobriety
Since being an advocate will put your addiction front and center, you must be comfortable with strangers knowing about your experience. You may find advocacy difficult if you’re very private and would rather not reveal your personal life. On the other hand, if you’re eager to let others learn from your sobriety stories, you may find it rewarding to become an advocate.
This doesn’t mean you have to shout about your addiction from the rooftops. Many individuals with riveting addiction or alcoholic recovery stories are careful about who they talk with. Yes, they’re okay with the general public discovering their past, but they don’t necessarily lead every conversation with, “Did you know I’m in recovery?” Their recovery isn’t their only identity. It is an important part of what made them who they are today.
Another indicator that you might find advocacy a good fit is if you naturally tend to assist others but can resist taking on their burdens. As someone in sobriety, you know how critical it is for everyone to acknowledge and own their recovery. Therefore, you must be willing to let others make the same errors you probably did. You can be there to give them tough love and advice, but you can’t do everything for them.
Ways to Build Advocacy into Your Sober Life
Are you feeling like advocacy is probably going to work for you? There are numerous ways to build advocacy into your life.
1. Ask your therapists and treatment professionals for suggestions.
A wonderful place to start with your advocacy is to talk to the people who made recovery possible for you. For instance, maybe you’re in an intensive outpatient program or part of another group that meets regularly. Ask the person in charge if your testimony might be appropriate to discuss in other groups and programs. It never hurts to make this request, and the leader may feel that your addiction recovery stories could inspire other people.
Additionally, your therapists and professional treatment providers may have other suggestions. They might ask you to write an anonymous blog post, for example, for their treatment center website. The blog post could be useful to those reading the site and wondering if recovery treatment might suit their needs. Again, you never know about advocacy options until you begin asking.
2. Offer to help other addiction recovery advocacy nonprofits raise money.
Did you know that as an advocate, you might be able to spark a new career path for yourself? Many nonprofits and charities raising funds to support addiction recovery seek guest speakers and panelists. If you’re a strong speaker, you might be the right person to talk about your story during an annual fundraiser or other event.
As you become better known, you may be able to leverage your new identity in sobriety into a part-time or even full-time job. Let’s say your alcoholic recovery stories resonate with audiences. You could get more speaking engagement requests from other nonprofits. You might even want to publish your experience as a book to sell as a way to donate more toward treatment centers. The possibilities are endless as long as you hone the skill sets to captivate and engage listeners.
3. Become a professional in the therapy field.
Never assume that someone with an addiction can’t make a wonderful counselor and advocate for others. Those who have been through recovery are well-positioned to become industry professionals. This doesn’t mean you have to decide to go back to school right away, but it might be something worth thinking about.
Are you worried that you’re too old to consider switching occupations? Never say never. As you’ve probably discovered throughout your road to sobriety, life can open doors. Whether you’re in your 20s or 60s, you could springboard from addiction to advocacy — and be the mental health and physical healing force for countless others facing the road ahead with fear and uncertainty.
Of course, you must be in sobriety before committing to becoming an advocate. If you’re still steps away, contact the Blanchard Institute for compassionate, proven treatment from those who want to see you succeed.