Are There Benefits of Bearing Witness in Recovery?

In sobriety, we may feel a calling to help others. Many are motivated by their recovery to help others who have similarly suffered. They want to go back to school, and to contribute to society. They feel motivated to help others, whether spiritually, mentally or physically. Helping others can give meaning and purpose to their lives.

Not everyone in recovery has the time or inclination to go back to school, or enroll for the first time. Other interests may draw their attention. Recovery from active addiction turns lives around, offers hope, good judgment, balance, discernment, motivation, joy and laughter. Still, a desire to help others may be present in their psyche and minds.

Bearing witness to a newcomer is one way to help another. By doing so you can fortify your self worth, self esteem and empathy. Recovery practices teach that you can’t change another person, but your can listen. You can offer yourself as a witness. You might notice a young woman new to your meeting. Of course you are not going to smother her with overbearing welcomes.

The good news is that she comes back to the meeting the next week. She pays attention, but at the same time appears to be extremely sad. After time goes by you invite her to sit with you at the meeting, and then to have coffee with you sometime. During your coffee get together, you share pleasantries and talk of recovery. You keep it simple.

As time goes by, she smiles more often. One day she opens up to you. She has a terrible story to tell. You listen and bear witness to her story. However difficult the details may be, you have given her a gift, a gift with no strings, a gift of recognition and care. Bearing witness is being present to what is. It is a simple act of kindness.

You do not bear witness it to receive benefits, but they show themselves anyway. Bearing witness can improve your resilience to difficult matters that arise in your own life. Recovery can be enhanced by helping others, but it is important to recognize when a person’s story is triggering you. It is also your responsibility to keep safe boundaries and take care of yourself.

“I always felt called to serve, to empower and ennoble as many people as I could, teaching, truth-telling, exposing lies, bearing witness, and being willing to live and die for something bigger than yourself.”—Cornel West

Infinity Malibu offers treatment for ones body, mind and spirit to heal from an addiction. Our setting is beautiful, with spectacular ocean views. We offer a dedicated and licensed staff, individual treatment plans, as well as holistic therapies. Make that call today 888-266-9048

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