Many would say that our teenage years are some of our most selfish years. As our brains are developing, we’re learning more about what we want and less about what others want. We make decisions, whether or not they’re supported by parents or guardians, and then we experience the consequences of those decisions. It’s a natural part of adolescence to go through these phases, but addiction recovery really places emphasis on the ego – which only further separates a teen from developing close relationships and building a fulfilling, well-balanced life. Despite the fact that many teens aren’t thrilled to volunteer, research is showing that both support and service is incredibly beneficial to teens – especially if they’re in the process of recovering from an addiction.
Last year, researchers from around the U.S. highlighted the fact that there isn’t a lot of national data tracking adolescents with addiction in the correctional system. They wanted to uncover some of the components that help teens maintain sobriety, reduce arrests, and reduce the likelihood of reverting to these behaviors overall. After reviewing a number of other studies, they came up with some key recommendations that have seemed to work time and time again:
- Support services such as mentoring, therapy and life skills courses have greatly helped adolescents become more confident in their recovery capabilities
- Faith-based programs (such as AA) do seem to foster a sense of spirituality, and have been shown to lead to greater personal change in teens
- Volunteer work provides youth with an opportunity to explore how they fit into society and how helping others can affect them in positive ways
There are two main themes that run throughout these examples: focus on the self and focus on others. Personal growth is found when a person is able to really build up a healthy sense of esteem and faith in their own personal capabilities. Teens are at a vulnerable time where peer pressure, traumatic events and more can weigh heavily on their hearts – by strengthening their own coping mechanisms and gaining a better understanding of who they are, they can further help others. Studies have shown that volunteering can bring about a sense of personal fulfillment and can decrease stress.
The more one-on-one attention we can provide for our teens, along with the opportunity to help them help others, the greater their chance of recognizing just how valuable they are – and they’ll have higher chances of staying in recovery.
Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.