A random act of kindness is something positive that you do without expecting anything in return.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation hosts two days yearly to celebrate kindness. Random Acts of Kindness Day 2023 is February 17, and World Kindness Day is November 13. But you don’t have to wait for those dates to be kind. You can do it every day.
People in recovery from alcohol abuse or drug addiction need encouragement and support. Drug or alcohol abuse often begins because someone has lost hope and is trying to escape from a cruel world. Random acts of kindness can rekindle hope and light the way to a more meaningful life.
10 Random Acts Of Kindness For Someone In Recovery
If you have a family member, friend, or coworker in an addiction treatment program, you can support them with small acts of kindness.
It doesn’t have to be anything big. The little things are often more sincere—they aren’t tied to obligation or the desire to show off your generosity. Random kindness comes from the heart.
Here are 10 random acts of kindness you can do for someone in recovery:
1. Give Them A Ride
Take them to an alcoholics anonymous meeting or outpatient treatment session to ensure they keep up with their recovery. Or take them to the grocery store, gym, or a sober friend’s house to help them stay healthy and connected.
2. Compliment Them
A compliment can range from telling them you like their outfit to admiring their strength in seeking help for addiction. Any size compliment can boost their self-esteem.
3. Write A Note
An encouraging note that talks about their value as a person is something they can read over and over when they need to remember why they’re in recovery.
4. Give A Thoughtful Gift
A gift that you take time to choose just for them can make them feel special and loved. Knowing someone cares can make all the difference.
5. Hug Them
If the person is comfortable with physical affection, hug them. Studies show that hugging lowers stress levels and helps people feel connected.
6. Tell Them You Love Them
You might think they know but say it anyway. Many people deep in addiction don’t love themselves or feel loved by anyone. They may not even feel worthy of love. Telling them you love them affirms their self-worth.
7. Treat Them With Respect
People struggling with substance abuse don’t often feel self-respect or respected by others. Treating them with respect can help them rebuild a positive self-image.
Like, really listen. Ask questions about their emotions and life. Don’t talk over them, don’t interrupt, and try to understand their perspective.
9. Talk About Things Besides Addiction
A big part of breaking free from addiction is getting involved in more positive things. Talk to them about their interests, hobbies, friends—anything that shows them they’re more than their addiction.
10. Ask How You Can Help With Their Recovery
Acknowledge that they’re going through a life change and healing process, and ask how you can support them.
10 Random Acts Of Kindness While You’re In Recovery
Addiction recovery is all about learning to live a better, healthier life. If you’re in treatment, doing random acts of kindness for others helps you look outside yourself and your suffering. It gives you the power to make a positive difference in the world.
Here are 10 random acts of kindness you can do while you’re in recovery:
- Thank someone for their support as you deal with the consequences of addiction. Being thankful is one of the best ways to shift to a more hopeful perspective.
- Compliment someone. It can be a stranger or a loved one. Recognizing something good in someone else takes the focus off you and your problems.
- Show appreciation for someone often overlooked, such as a housekeeper or bus driver.
- Smile at someone just because. Smiling can lift your mood and make someone else feel better, too.
- Share advice with someone just starting treatment to help them feel more comfortable and hopeful about their recovery process.
- Give a thoughtful gift to someone. Intentional giving shows genuine appreciation and can foster a connection with another person.
- Hold the door for someone. This small act of kindness acknowledges someone else’s significance. It says they’re not alone, and neither are you.
- Care for the Earth. Clean up trash to make your surroundings safer and more enjoyable, or plant a tree to foster new life and a healthy environment.
- Be kind to yourself. Positive self-talk (what you say to yourself in your head) can build your confidence and self-esteem.
- Practice self-care. Substance use takes a toll on your physical and mental health. You can take care of yourself by eating healthy foods, exercising, and resting when necessary. Nurturing your body and mind is essential to healing.
Benefits Of Kindness
It can be hard to see outside yourself when you suffer from addiction. And if you do look around, you might only see despair. Kindness can change everything by bringing light to the dark places in your life.
Acts of kindness cause your brain to release endorphins and oxytocin. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain reliever, and oxytocin is a “love hormone” that helps you feel connected with others.
Being kind also increases the hormones serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that play a crucial role in the brain’s reward system. They make you feel pleasure and a sense of well-being.
Many drugs increase dopamine or serotonin levels. Kindness increases them naturally and without adverse side effects.
While one random act of kindness can improve your mood, it won’t change your life. You have to be kind regularly if you want long-term benefits.
Fortunately, a recent study found that the brain forms new connections each time you perform an act of kindness. The more you practice being kind, the easier it will be. It will become second nature, and you’ll be a happier person.
To learn more about kindness in recovery or to explore personalized recovery programs, speak with an Ark Behavioral Health specialist today.
Mayo Clinic - The art of kindness
National Institute of Health - Compassion and the science of kindness: Harvard David Lecture 2015
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