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 Post subject: Somewhere to start
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:09 pm 
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After I got on suboxone, I was feeling better in every possible way. My cravings were gone, I had the energy felt by normies, and my fibromyalgia pain was usually bearable at worst and not present at best. But I still hadn't worked in a very long time and needed something productive to spend my days with. I wanted to be a functional person again but I didn't want to jump right into a job for fear of just screwing it up again or not being able to handle the physical strain should it add any to my life again.
If you're in this place, I recommend, no, I URGE you to find volunteer work. It's a perfect opportunity to get back your discipline, your work ethic, and get used to a normal schedule or doing something everyday. I started volunteering at a local food bank about a month or two after starting sub treatment. A good friend of mine who I'd been close with in high school had died from a heroin overdose recently (almost right after I started sub) and at the funeral they spoke highly of the organizations he volunteered with a lot in Cali where he'd been away at college. He was a great person which makes it such a waste. Anyway learning more about this (as he never bragged about it) it was a way I wanted to honor his memory.
I hope you'll never get stuck with that particular motivation, but there's plenty of other reasons to do it. You're starting a better life, and it builds self esteem and makes you care about other people more and more. After a while the physical labor was actually therapeutic, and so long as I didn't overdo it, it helped me and was something I was better and better able to handle.
It reminds you that you can hold a job again, it may not be exactly the same thing, but since you are the one who makes you schedule hours and show up it's a safe thing to start with.
Also, a lot of places nowadays credit volunteer jobs as work experience, so now you'll have a recent reference. Make nice with the supervisors there and work hard, and they'll give you a great one.
Anyway I just wanted to share my experience with this as it was important for me as a way to reintegrate myself into the world, and I don't think a lot of people even think about it as an option even when they can afford to do it.
I hope it can help someone else.


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 Post subject: Re: Somewhere to start
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:07 pm 
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I totally agree that volunteering is a wonderful way to connect back to mainstream society as a step toward getting your life back to normal. Although I'm sure there are many people here who had a full time job and never stopped functioning despite using, there are also plenty like me, who had dropped out of almost everything, including spending time with extended family and friends.

I volunteered at a non-profit daycare center for babies and children of female addicts undergoing a residential treatment program. Not only did I get to hold babies, (yay!), but I also was able to normalize my schedule (I had days and nights mixed up), and it gave me something to look forward to. I had made a commitment to helping there, but I also knew that I had the freedom to back out if it felt like too much. It definitely helped me feel like I could go out there and get a part time job with no problem.

And it does feel good giving back, doesn't it All Apologies? There are nothing but benefits all the way around. :)

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: Somewhere to start
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:31 pm 
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Absolutely. I know it's not for everyone as some people have full time jobs still or need to get one to start supporting their household and maybe even their treatment, but for anyone who needs to reintegrate it's the best training wheels ever.
It was something that mattered to me a lot, the organization and the work they were doing. It felt great to be a part of something special like that so for a long time I worked that volunteer job like it was my real job. It also educated me a lot about the problem of hunger in neighboring communities.
There were a lot of people there on volunteer status who were actually there doing community service for some bullshit misdemeanor, but most of them still took it seriously enough and worked hard. Unfortunately I don't get much time to go in there anymore since I started a "JOB job" but I still go in for a day or two when I get some time off every so often and I'm still friendly with much of the staff.
Anyway, I could've chosen from a few different gigs and I'm really glad I chose that one.


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Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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