The Bond Between Good Deeds and Sobriety
Everybody knows how much good deeds help both the doer and the receiver, but there’s an especially strong bond between good deeds and sobriety. In fact, the bond between the two dates back to sobriety’s inception. No matter how you calibrate the birthday. And it continues to this very minute.
Actually, you could say the bond between goods deeds and sobriety has become ever stronger. And that bond strengthens with each and every deed. You can see it in the eyes of the practitioner. And you can feel it in the heart of the recipient. More importantly, each good deed enhances the lives of everyone involved. Not just for the moment. But for ever. Whether you see, hear, touch, taste and feel it or not.
Good News and Good Deeds
Last week we launched our Good News Fridays with a profile of Stanford University’s incredibly accomplished Noel Vest. The good Doctor helped draft Washington State’s 2018 Fair Chance in Higher Education Act, which effectively banned the stigma-triggering check box on college enrollment applications. The effort helped clear the educational path for Vest, who’d go on to achieve a Bachelor’s, a Master’s and a PhD, before earning a postdoctoral scholar spot in Stanford Medicine’s prestigious Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab.
Dr. Vest’s efforts also cleared the path for many thousands and thousands of academically-inclined Washingtonians who might otherwise have been denied their fair chance at higher education. That makes it one of the most impactful great good deeds we’ve ever seen.
But we’re not here to herald the technical quid pro quo that comes about as a result of a person’s efforts; we’re here to herald the more spiritual side of the equation. In other words, to show how great good deeds affect our very beings. And yes, that of course includes our sobriety.
Good Deeds and Sobriety
This week’s great good deeds report is coming courtesy of the great good folks at Soberbaddassery. They’re hip. They’re with-it. And they’re inspiring. They also happen to have provided an action-backed six-pack of great good consequences you’re sure to enjoy if you go out and commit a great good deed.
Ready? Of course you are.
Soberbadassery’s feature is entitled 6 Ways Good Deeds Will Keep You On The Straight And Narrow. It’s written by someone named Natasha. It’s likely seeded with a few cool affiliate links. And it’s a breeze to read.
Mostly though, it’s a sensible, helpful and refreshing contrast to the typical advice that’s generally bandied about. Sure eating healthy is good for us, as well as our sobriety. So is exercising, building healthy relationships, and spending time on our passions and hobbies. But we really don’t need to read all about it. Again.
Good deeds on the other hand are an entirely different category of self-help. Sure we know they help us, as well as those we are helping. In fact, the tenet is built into Alcoholics Anonymous’ very foundation. But good deeds’ impact on our sobriety can never be too fully explored.
So just how do good deeds keep us sober? Well, let us count the ways.
Good Deeds Make Us Feel Good
Yes, it is that simple. Good deeds have a built-in feel-good factor. Even thinking of commiting a good deed will often make you feel good. Committing a good deed? Watch out! You may end up feeling ecstatic! Why? Because good deeds places you on the side of the angels. Aloft and praise-worthy. Oh, you don’t need to get all haughty-taughty about it. In fact, you better not. But committing a good deed will indeed raise your consciousness to another level. If you’re lucky, you may even reach another realm.
The Butterfly Effect
“Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” Scientists still aren’t entirely certain. But the butterfly does seem to have the upper hand. So too the good deed. Committing one good deed generally leads to another. Sometimes it’s from the recipient. Sometimes it’s from an observer. And sometimes it’s from someone who was nowhere near the initial good deed. It may even occur months later. Every good deed opens up an avenue where other good deeds become more and more possible. You, in turn, get to be the butterfly. And you need only imagine the tornado of good deeds bound to occur in the future.
A Sense Of Purpose
A sense of purpose is one of life’s most important components. Lacking a sense of purpose also happens to be one of life’s chief complaints. It’s not limited to the sober either. It applies to everyone. In all walks of life. It just seems to especially affect those in recovery.
But the legions who have turned helping others into an actual career choice are legend. In fact, every day we hear stories of yet another sober supporter stepping up and making it official. Peer Recovery, Drug & Alcohol Counselor, Licensed Social Worker. The options are many.
A lot of recovery professionals get their start as Behavioral Techs. Quite often at the very same addiction treatment center where they accomplished their sobriety. Once the joys of helping others day-in and day-out become apparent, they eagerly move on up from there. Of course it helps that they’re all uniquely qualified to do the work. So does the sheer irony of turning an affliction into the foundation of an achievement. Mostly though, people become recovery professionals because it gives them a sense of purpose and meaning. Need we say more?
Good Deeds Help Us Bond
Bonding is another big sobriety basic. It’s also a key tenet of AA’s 12 Step program. What’s great is that the more we help others the more bonds we develop. Eventually we create a tapestry of connected lives that strengthens and grows each and every day.
As Natalie makes clear, it doesn’t matter how we bond either. “Whether we’re helping our grandparents with their food shopping, helping our niece with her homework, or meeting and engaging with new people in need of our help,” it all increases our capacity to bond.
It also “shows people we can be trusted and relied upon.” That’s crucial. Especially considering the untrustworthy and unreliable acts we left in the wake of our active addiction. It’s also a crucial to “building strong, lasting relationships.”
At the end of the day we all need support. Bonding with others provides that support. It also happens to be incredibly fulfilling and a whole lotta fun!
Good Deeds Lead to Distraction
Another recovery basic. People in sobriety too often wallow in regret and self-pity. Especially those in early sobriety. In fact, we’re often so burdened by our yesterdays that today doesn’t even get a chance. Good deeds will snap us out of all that. Quickly. Better still, it’ll put a positive in its place. A big plus.
But perhaps the most important need for distraction arises when we’re bored. If idle hands are the devil’s tools then idle minds most certainly open the floodgates on devilish ideas. And we definitely do not want to go there.
Commiting a good deed however ensures that we won’t go there. In most cases, it’ll generally get us off the track altogether. Because like The Fixx sings, one good thing does lead to another, and another, and another.
Good Deeds Help Us Live Longer
You don’t need us to tell you that feeling good aids longevity. And since committing good deeds also makes you feel good, well it’s only natural to expect the act will help you live longer too. Here’s how Elaine Mead summed it all up in the ever-learned Psychology Today:
Happiness’s physical health benefits include “a stronger immune system, stronger resilience in the face of stress, a stronger heart and less risk of cardiovascular disease, alongside quicker recovery times when overcoming illness or surgery.” All of which indicates that being happy may help us to live longer lives.
In fact, happiness enabled scientists to accurately predict whether or not some folks even made it to the end of one 13-year-long study! No foolin.’ Those who reported more positive emotions survived the length of the study. The more negative folks didn’t.
The point is happiness is a health bellwether. Health determines longevity. If committing good deeds makes you happy (and it most certainly does) then it only stands to reason that they would help you live longer too.
Healing Properties salutes each and every person who committed a good deed today. And we’ll keep saluting everyone who commits good deeds each and every day of the week. We see how much good deeds trickle both up and down in the community, and how essential they are to a community’s well-being. We also see how essential good deeds are to sobriety. Even something as simple as providing sober support can be a boon to a person’s recovery. It can also be a boon to the recipient, as well as a lifeline.
Speaking of Good Deeds… the site Sober Badassery is more than just “Your Online Guide to Sober Living the Badass Way!” It’s also a bona fide Good Deed! And a Damn Good Deed at that! Why? Because it completely flips the script on recovery, that’s why. And it does so by making recovery look like the coolest thing in the whole wild world. And if that’s not a Damn Good Deed, well, then there’s no such thing. Sign up. Subscribe. Support. They deserve it. And so do you. Bravo!
While we’re on the subject… how are you? How are you holding up with all this COVID craziness? Keeping cool? Keeping busy? Staying sober? We know it’s a rough period right now. Real rough. But help is out there. All you’ve got to do is call. Sometimes it’s good to call someone, even if you don’t need help. Put a smile on a friend’s face. And on yours too while you’re at it. Give it a try.