How Acts of Service Help You Stay Sober | World Kindness Day

acts of service help you stay sober

November 13 is World Kindness Day, a day to examine the opportunities you have to make a difference in someone else’s life. Your acts of kindness can also make a difference in your own life. When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you will find that acts of service help you stay sober and clean. Everyone benefits from your kindness on World Kindness Day and throughout the year!

World Kindness Day

Every November 13, World Kindness Day is a day set aside to remind us of the importance of being kind to others. The purpose of World Kindness Day, as outlined by the World Kindness Movement, is “to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us.”

World Kindness Day is an international holiday that was established in 1998, to promote kindness throughout the world and is observed in many countries including the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and the U.A.E. World Kindness Day presents us with the opportunity to reflect upon one of the most important and unifying human principles. It is a day devoted to the positive potential of both large and small acts of kindness. 

Helping Others Helps You

Research conducted by Maria Pagano, an addiction researcher at Case Western University, has found that helping others brings you measurable physical and psychological benefits. Pagano has found that there are surprising benefits of altruism for people like you who are dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction. Her studies have shown that addicts who help others, even in small ways such as helping during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or calling others to remind them about attending meetings, can significantly improve their chances of staying sober and avoiding relapse.

When Pagano compared helpers to non-helpers in AA, she found that 40 percent of helpers avoided taking a drink in the 12 months following the 3-month treatment period, while only 22 percent of non-helpers stayed sober—a doubling effect rarely seen in social science research, she says. In addition, when Pagano looked at the age, gender, income, work status, addiction severity level, and level of antisocial personality disorder of the participants in the study, she found that none of these characteristics predicted helping behavior.

A separate study on volunteering found that 68 percent of 4,582 American adults surveyed said that volunteering made them feel physically healthier, 73 percent said it lowered their stress levels, 77 percent said it improved their emotional health, and almost all respondents said it made them happier. The research has discovered that acts of service to others can provide helpers with a sense of gratification, agency, and a feeling of inner warmth (known as the “helper’s high”), possibly because the brain releases more of the chemical dopamine when you perform acts of service to others.

How to Show Kindness in Addiction

Acts of service may seem a little more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic, but you still have plenty of opportunities to show kindness to others. You can help others and help yourself stay sober, while ensuring everyone remains safe, by:

  • Reach out to the elderly. Social isolation is a huge problem right now for the millions of seniors who have been stuck at home, many of them alone, quarantining for several months. You can make a phone call or offer to do someone’s grocery shopping for them.
  • Foster a pet. Caring for an animal that would otherwise not have a home, would greatly benefit you as well as the cat or dog.
  • Send a handwritten note to a friend or loved one. Take a few minutes to write a note – and mail it – to make someone else’s day when they find your handwritten words in their mailbox!
  • Donate food or clothes to a local organization that helps others. Clean out your closet and donate your gently used clothes to a local charity. Buy a few extra cans of soup or vegetables when you do your grocery shopping, to give to your local food bank.
  • Share simple acts of kindness that will make others smile. Hold the door open, send an uplifting text, let someone merge in front of you in traffic. These acts of service will take only a few minutes but will make you and others feel so much better for your kindness.


At BRC Recovery, we help you rebuild and reclaim your life. You can stop the vicious cycle of drug or alcohol use that has become such a struggle for you. Our team of experts focuses on holistic healing so you can experience real recovery from your addiction to drugs or alcohol.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we offer a safe, clean environment so you can continue receiving the highest quality of care. To learn more about our services and to get the help you need, please call BRC Recovery at 1-866-291-2676 to speak to our team.