Volunteering as a Supportive Practice for Substance Addiction Recovery: Uncovering Tools for Meaningful Volunteer Opportunities




Bergrud, Kari

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Recovery from substance addiction is a complex undertaking. It is simultaneously personal and societal, individual, and collective. As such, there are various opinions, stigmas, and systems that challenge an individual’s choice in a recovery path and at times, can also affect their access to recovery options. In addition to these pressures, people requiring recovery are in a state where their “life has become unmanageable” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 59) and making any decisions becomes even more challenging than under ‘normal’ conditions. This study explores the current state of the men’s Second Stage Recovery Program (SSR) at Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM) and primarily focuses on volunteering as a supportive practice for their recovery pathway. To support this practice, an asset-based participatory led approach was applied during the research process where in general, participants use their acquired skills to decide how and who they would like to volunteer with as a supportive practice for their recovery. The main deliverable for this project is the creation of a guided tool for practitioners and participants of the second stage recovery program at the Vancouver Union Gospel Mission to help connect participants to meaningful volunteer opportunities .



Addiction, Substance Abuse Recovery, Recovery Capital, Asset-Based Community Development, Volunteering