A woman crouches down with her hand on a dog next to her. The woman is smiling and looking off at a bird feeder filled with birds. The dog has a bird perched on his nose and is sitting next to another feeder.

Do Good. Feel Better.

My whole life, I have been told there are great rewards by helping others. As a child, I watched my grandfather help anyone in any way he could. He was kind, caring, and compassionate. It did not matter who you were, he was always available to offer a helping hand. He was also one of the happiest people I knew (even though we called him Grumpy).

My journey

I will be the first to admit I have been very self-involved my whole life. When I was actively using drugs, the world revolved around me. I was living in survival mode. I did not have the capacity to think about helping someone else, when I was having a hard time helping myself.

When I put down the needle, and started living in self-love, I also started taking suggestion from others. The one consistent suggestion across the board was to get outside myself, and help someone else. At first, this was a hard pill to swallow. I had a difficult time trusting anyone. The idea of helping another person was scary. I thought I was not capable of helping someone else, or no one would want my help. Moving forward with my life has been about baby steps, so I started small.

Helping the planet

Helping the environment was a great start. It does not require interacting with people, and allows me to do good, take action, and make a difference. I began recycling, picking up garbage while walking my dogs, and feeding the birds. I find all of these actives rewarding, and make me feel good. Once I started feeling good by doing my part, I started to understand the value of good deeds.

Rescuing a dog

Once I began to grow and feel more confident in myself, I decided to step it up a notch and rescued a dog, named Eligh. I adopted him two days after I finished my treatment for hepatitis C. He is a young Staffordshire terrier, who has been rejected my society because of his breed. He is very fearful and misunderstood. His story pulled at my heart string, as we have a lot in common. I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I adopted him. There have defiantly been some challenges. I am learning these challenges, if handled properly are an opportunity for growth. We consistently work with trainers, and with patience and persistence, he is growing into a beautiful and loyal companion. He is a blessing in my life, and a wonderful companion for my other dogs. I had no I idea, the rewards, and lesson that would come from helping an animal in need. If I am feeling down, I can just look at him, and know there is hope.

Helping others

Once I really started experiencing the high that comes from helping, I again stepped outside of my comfort zone, and started helping people. The rewards that come from helping another human being are indescribable. I will be honest, the high I get from helping others, is better than any high a chemical can provide.

I am defiantly not a saint, I am human. I get busy with the chaos of day-to-day life. The most important thing is to be kind to myself. When I am kind to Jessica, I can be kind to others. If I am having a bad day, I can always turn it around by getting outside of me. I would like to point out, because it was been pointed out to me many time, even though I may not think I am helping someone else, by just showing up and being present in my own life is helping more people than I could possibly imagine. And that feels good!

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