Random acts of kindness are small events that can result in big outcomes ⁠— even recovery.

It’s the moment the barista says, “The person ahead of you paid for your coffee.” It’s telling a friend that you appreciate them just because it’s true. It’s picking up the newspaper off the ground for your elderly neighbor. It’s a piece of candy left on your desk by a coworker. These actions may seem like “just the right thing to do,” but to the person receiving them, random acts of kindness can mean the world.

What Are Random Acts of Kindness?

By definition, a random act of kindness is simply that: a spontaneous, thoughtful gesture just for the sake of being kind. Random acts of kindness speak to every person’s innate sense of humanity.

No matter the gesture, random acts of kindness are:

  • Spontaneous: unplanned moments that can happen anywhere, at any time
  • Selfless: doing something for someone when there isn’t anything in it for you
  • Beneficial: helpful, complimentary, or encouraging acts to make someone’s day a little brighter

Kindness in Recovery

Giving your time or energy is often far more rewarding than people realize. In the same way, random acts of kindness can make someone’s day while also making you feel great, too. During treatment and after rehab, people need support and encouragement, and random acts of kindness can be a great way to help someone along on their sobriety journey.

There are also plenty of opportunities for you to try your hand at small acts of kindness as you take your first steps in recovery. If you’d like to practice kindness as part of your recovery process, here are a few ideas to consider.

10 Random Acts of Kindness in Recovery

  1. Compliment someone in an AA or NA meeting.
  2. Send a handwritten thank you note to your sponsor, just because.
  3. Smile at someone who seems down.
  4. Let someone go in front of you in line.
  5. Share helpful tips or advice with someone who is just starting treatment.
  6. Call a friend who encouraged you.
  7. Offer to drive someone to a meeting or therapy session.
  8. If appropriate, hug a friend or group member.
  9. Hold the door for a stranger.
  10. Tell a family member that you’re grateful for them.

An Act of Kindness Can Lead to a Life of Sobriety

Receiving a random act of kindness can be the starting point for what will become a new life of sobriety. If you’re in the midst of a mental health disorder, a heartfelt compliment from a stranger can make you feel less invisible. A simple “you matter” note can remind you that life is worth living. Once you’re sober, doing random acts of kindness and being of service to others can remind you that a substance use disorder doesn’t define you.

If you’re facing an addiction or debilitating mental health disorder, you’re not alone, and your recovery is possible. When you’re ready to find the kind of care you need, call The Recovery Village to take the first step. We’re here for you.

Camille Renzoni
By – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
Gretchen Pruett
Editor – Gretchen Pruett
Gretchen Pruett is a writer and editor based out of Detroit, specializing in academic and evidence-based content. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.