Victim or Volunteer?

Throughout life, individuals inevitably encounter victimisation, be it physical, mental, sexual, or emotional, including deceit or infidelity. The transition from victim to volunteer occurs when one allows these violations to recur, essentially participating in their own victimisation. Counselling reveals that many are unaware of their dual role as victim and volunteer, often through convenience or denial of responsibility. Recognizing oneself as part of the problem is challenging, yet essential for change. Opting to move beyond victimhood involves establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries, which empowers individuals and protects against further harm. This approach is crucial not just for those directly affected by addiction but in any context of abuse. Setting and respecting one’s boundaries is a step towards recovery and empowerment. Beyond victim and volunteer lies victory, a state that requires letting go of powerlessness and actively choosing empowerment and self-definition.

People often give up their power by thinking they don’t have any, especially in situations of victimisation like being affected by someone else’s addiction. Recognising a violation of your boundaries is the first step in preventing further victimisation. Except in extreme cases, such as unjust imprisonment, being a victim is usually temporary and ends when the boundary violation stops, unless you allow it to continue.

To protect yourself from repeated violations, it’s important to make choices that stop further victimisation. For example, separating finances from a financially irresponsible partner is a way of setting boundaries and regaining control. This process involves four steps: deciding to overcome the problem, identifying areas of control, accepting what you cannot change and taking action where possible.

However, some people get trapped in a victim mindset, continually feeling powerless and at the mercy of others. This mindset can lead to a cycle of victimisation and even abusive behaviour, as they justify harming others in response to their perceived victimisation. True empowerment comes from making choices that prevent further harm rather than seeking revenge, which only continues the cycle of abuse and victimisation.

Volunteers in Rehabs

Volunteerism in rehab programs has been influenced by various historical events and conditions, including new recruitment strategies and the women’s liberation movement, leading to an evolution in the roles and responsibilities of volunteers. Currently, volunteers make up about 20% of personnel in drug abuse programs, primarily contributing to counselling functions. Research indicates that there isn’t a “typical” volunteer profile; however, common personality traits among volunteers include a concern for others, a desire to help, empathy, enthusiasm, dedication, honesty, sincerity, tolerance, objectivity and flexibility. Their motivations often blend altruism with self-interest.

Evaluations, both qualitative and quantitative, have shown the effectiveness of volunteers with benefits extending to both the volunteers themselves and the clients they serve. While staff members may initially be skeptical about volunteers, they often develop positive views after witnessing the volunteers’ interactions with clients.

Successfully integrating volunteers into rehab programs involves addressing various administrative concerns. These include outreach to different population segments for volunteer recruitment and tailoring training and deployment practices to align with program needs and the unique skills and preferences of each volunteer. Involving community members in all aspects of program planning and development is also crucial.

The insights and approaches to volunteer involvement in rehabilitation settings are informed by literature from diverse fields such as mental health, corrections, alcoholism treatment, health care, education and social service.

Victim Mentality

A victim mentality is a psychological state where a person consistently feels like a victim across various situations, often despite evidence to the contrary. This perspective can affect numerous aspects of life, including relationships, work and health. This mindset can develop as a coping mechanism in response to traumatic experiences.

Individuals with a victim mentality often feel they have minimal control or influence over external events in their lives. This mentality typically arises from experiences of repeated lack of control, ongoing emotional pain leading to learned helplessness or betrayal by a trusted individual.

In the context of alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, a victim mentality can be particularly detrimental. It can trap individuals in a cycle of addiction, as they may feel powerless to alter their situation. While they might seek support from others, they often feel incapable of supporting themselves, reinforcing the cycle of dependency and victimhood.

The distinction between being a victim or a volunteer, especially in the context of relationships affected by addiction, challenges the notion of helplessness. Co-dependency in such dynamics often leads individuals to believe they must cater to their addicted loved ones to prevent conflict or abandonment, inadvertently trapping themselves in a cycle of victimhood. However, the realisation that one is not powerless in these situations is crucial. Although control over the addict is unattainable, individuals possess the power to change themselves, establish boundaries and prioritise their own needs and happiness. Embracing this power and responsibility can transform one’s perspective, promoting a process towards recovery that is neither about remaining a victim nor becoming a volunteer. The process of recovery emphasises self-care, boundary setting and a significant attitude change towards personal empowerment and happiness, underpinned by faith and a hopeful outlook on the path ahead.

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Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

Inpatient Rehab

Our rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This rehab option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

Mental Health

Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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