According to researchers from Case Western Reserve University, helping the community in various service opportunities has shown to increase sobriety of addicts.
“The research indicates that getting active in service helps alcoholics and other addicts become sober and stay sober, and suggests this approach is applicable to all treatment-seeking individuals with a desire to not drink or use drugs.” (Maria E. Pagano PhD. / School of Medicine).
Researchers have called this the “helping therapy principle” (HTP) and has been in practice at AA to diminish egocentrism. These findings suggest that when an addict finds opportunities to help someone, they actually help themselves.
According to this study, 40 percent of alcoholics who helped other alcoholics were able to avoid drinking during recovery, whereas only 22 percent of those that did not help others, were able to stay sober.
This goes beyond addiction. Individuals with mental and physical health conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder, AIDS or chronic pain also show an improvement from serving others.1
Addicts in recovery often find long-term success in “quitting” when they seek something else, something beyond themselves. Addicts may initially just want to become “sober,” but eventually find merit in living an honest life. Addicts are often lying and hiding their behavior from those they love and have a great deal of paranoia and stigma. Living an honest life is usually very attractive to an addict.