Having a strong support system as you enter sober living is crucial: the love of friends and family members reminds you that you are not alone in your struggle and that you have people to turn to for strength in your moments of weakness. But being part of someone else’s support system can also be invaluable to you in your recovery, even though it might seem counter-intuitive to try to offer someone else support when you are still feeling fragile. Here’s why supporting others to stay sober can help you in your own journey:

1. It gives you purpose

The deeper an addiction goes, the harder it is to build a life without it. A key step on the road to addction recovery is finding purpose outside your addiction, but that can be difficult when you’ve become accustomed to your life revolving around drugs or alcohol. Being supportive of someone recovering from their own addiction is a positive purpose; it’s familiar to you, so you aren’t trying to build a new reason for being from scratch, but it lets you channel what you know about addiction into workable goals without risking your own relapse.

2. It’s good for self-esteem

Addiction is often tied to low self-esteem; it’s easy to use mind-altering substances as a substitute for self-confidence if you struggle to see yourself as worthwhile. Helping someone else during their addiction rehab doesn’t just give you purpose; it’s a great way to feel good about yourself, knowing that someone else values your support and encouragement.

3. It makes you aware of stressors and triggers

They say there’s no better way to learn something than to teach it, and that is true of addiction recovery. Helping someone else stay sober forces you to think about triggers and stressors analytically as you help your friend identify and recognize theirs. Even if you have very different triggers, the act of identifying someone else’s makes it easier to think rationally about your own.

But be careful!

Being there for a friend as they go through recovery is a good deed and can help you manage your own recovery, but never be afraid to ask for help if being a supportive sober friend becomes a challenge. Everyone struggles after addiction, and if you worry that your friend’s recovery is causing you stress, that’s the time to call on your own support network to keep you both strong and on the right path.