EHN Canada


Giving Back to Others: One of the Greatest Gifts in Addiction Recovery

At Bellwood Health Services, we have a group of volunteers who assist our team of clinicians and our clients 7 days a week. Their acts of kindness and selflessness portray what it truly means “to give back to others”. Some of the Bellwood Volunteers have been through addiction treatment themselves and are in recovery. So, the question is, “Why is it important to our Volunteers and others in recovery to give back?”

Why Give Back?

“For it is in giving that we receive.” ― St. Francis of Assisi

Recovery from drugs alcohol or other behavioural addictions is a process not a life experience. As one continues on a path of sobriety, it becomes easier to realize and open ourselves to healthier and better decisions. One can find inner peace much better and has a better sense of gratitude for where they are now because of who helped them and because of their own courage to change their life around.

Gratitude is a part of recovery. It’s the feeling of being thankful for having received something. In recovery, one is grateful for having received the tools and knowledge from rehab or a support group to stay sober. Helping others is an important component of recovery in aftercare.

Helping people because someone helped you is a way of saying thank you. It helps you stay focused on the road of recovery and stay connected with others. Helping and sharing your own experiences with others can be reasons that someone finally discovers peace in their life or experience some relief from an awful day they may be having.

Staying Connected

Many of the Bellwood Volunteers had mentioned the following as some of the reasons why they volunteer at Bellwood Health Services:


  • They are grateful and want to give back
  • Helping others helps their recovery
  • It is inspirational and gives them hope


The Benefits of Giving Back for YOU

Studies show that individuals in recovery that continue to help others find sobriety are more likely to stay abstinent than those who do not help others.

Other benefits of giving back:

  • Improves self-esteem and self confidence
  • Feel more empowered in your recovery
  • Improves your resilience against mental illnesses, such as depression
  • Helps improve your community
  • Find more purpose and meaning in your life
  • Stay connected and not isolate
  • Develop new skills
  • Gain a better perspective of what life is like now in recovery, what’s really important to you and the benefits of living clean.

What you can do to give back:

  1. Work on yourself: May seem selfish or quite opposite of what I have been saying but you must ensure that you are not neglecting your needs so that you are able to physically, psychologically, and spiritually “give back” selflessly.
  2. When you are ready, become someone’s sponsor – a guide through someone’s recovery process. It’s a selfless service that can be offered to another individual who needs help learning how to live a healthier life without addiction.
  3. Volunteer your Time: In a Canadian study, 85% of Ontario volunteers rated their health as “good” compared to 79% of non-volunteers. More research is showing that the good feelings you experience when helping others may be just as important to your health as exercise and a healthy diet. Bellwood always has volunteer opportunities at our treatment facility in various roles. Click on this link to learn more about these volunteer opportunities.
  4. Donating to a charity or good cause.

These are just some examples of what you can do to give back. Start with small acts of generosity if you are not ready to make bigger commitments. You may offer to make coffee at your next 12-step meeting or extend your seat the next time you see a parent with a child on the TTC. The opportunities are endless when it comes to carrying out compassionate deeds.

“It’s been a privilege to have served you.” – Dr. Gordon Bell, Founder of Bellwood Health Services


Give Back to Others by Giving to Yourself First

  • Want to learn more about our programs?

  • Join Our Newsletter

    Sign up to receive future articles, resources, and more from EHN Canada.