by Jim Hajny, Executive Director
July 25, 2023
The psychologist Carl Jung wrote, “…knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” Finding meaning in our lives, understanding who we are is an important component to the recovery journey. When we are not well, we don’t have the opportunity to get to know ourselves. We are consumed by our own darkness. Once we begin the journey of recovery the light begins to find its way in and we often begin to ask, who am I. What do I like? What do I want to do with my time, my life? We may find we need to let go of friends we hung out with. We may find we have lots of extra time to fill but unsure how to fill it. This is where I encourage the idea of volunteerism. In the twelve-step community it is referred to as service work. The Cambridge Dictionary defines volunteerism as; "the practice of doing work for good causes, without being paid for it."
In most communities there are non-profits who are looking for individuals to volunteer their time for their mission. Nonprofits often don’t have enough funds to get all of the task or jobs done so they rely on volunteers. You can volunteer for as little as a few hours a week or for a few months at a time. Volunteering your time feels great, despite not being paid. It will also open a person up to new ideas, people, and places. It is an opportunity to give back to the community.
When I ran Peer Solutions Drop in Center in Livingston we would volunteer at the local soup kitchen preparing and serving meals. We also participated in the adopt a highway program where we did roadside cleanup each spring. I always felt good afterwards, my spirit was renewed, and I walked away knowing I had done something that was greater than myself, something positive that would have a ripple effect across the community. These are two examples of volunteerism. There are many more opportunities that can be found. Here are a few to consider around Montana: