Holidays are a time of giving. Recovery has given us more gifts in life than we can count. This holiday season, give the gift of giving by giving your time to others. Here are 7 ideas for being of service this holiday season in ways that matter and impact the lives of others.
- Go through your old sports gear and donate it to local kid’s clubs: A holiday trip home might present you with the opportunity to go through old toys, sports gear, and other childhood belongings you don’t need anymore. There is always someone in greater need than we are. You could sell it a sports consignment store, or you could donate it to kids in need. Find out who operates local nonprofit kids clubs for sports, adventure, and activity. Ask them if you can do a drop off of old gear anywhere. Along the way, consider buying a few brand new items as well to give the club what they need.
- Clean out your closet and donate any old winter gear to homeless shelters: Homeless shelters are in desperate need of warm winter clothing to help those who are living on the street or in less fortunate situations survive the winter. It is easy to judge and it is easy to be judged. Having lived with active addiction, you have faced some of the shame, stigma, and stereotype that certain circumstances in life can bring. You know that every man is worth empathy and compassion, as well as a warm sweater, hat, gloves, and scarf.
- Do a blanket drive and bring a load of blankets to a homeless shelter: In addition to warm winter gear, homeless shelters are in need of blankets. Thrift stores collect blankets throughout the year and try to make them as available as possible during the winter. Many thrift stores are connected to a charity, which means purchasing blankets from them to donate to a homeless shelter, is helping others as well. Gather some buddies and do a day long drive around town from one thrift store to the next, buying as many blankets as you can. Then find a local shelter or program to donate to.
- Collect canned foods and donate to a local soup kitchen or food drive: Canned food drives are happening all over the country during the holidays. Ask everyone in your family and recovery network to collect their leftover canned food, or pick up some extra food on their next trip to the supermarket, then donate to a local food drive.
- Grab some friends and volunteer at a soup kitchen or food drive: Instead of just donating canned food, you can volunteer to provide the food as well. Addiction might have brought you to some of the lowest points in your life. If you can’t find friends or family to come with you, spend some time volunteering where you can, talking to who you can. Remember, everyone has a story, just like you.
- Show up with your family during holiday celebrations: Accountability is one of the best ways to be of service during the holiday season. Showing up early is better than showing up on time. Bringing a small gift or box of cookies is better than showing up empty handed. Asking what you can do to help is better than waiting to be asked to help.
- Be on call for your brothers in recovery who are having a hard time: Recovery has given you a new or second family, your brothers of sobriety. Treatment and recovery introduced you to a group of men you consider your brothers- men who have walked similar paths of addiction and recovery, who understand and know you better than anyone. Holidays can be a difficult and challenging time for men in recovery. Be of service by being on call for your brothers in recovery. Take a phone call when it comes, offer words of encouragement and advice, send a friendly text. When you’re in need, they’ll be there for you, too.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474