Twelve step recovery largely consists of working the steps, meeting attendance, developing a relationship with a higher power of your choosing, reading the literature and service. Of course there is more to it than that, but the above elements are at the core of twelve step programs. Of the 12 steps the twelfth is considered an extremely important and transformational step. Often referred to as action step. It involves giving back as a key facet of staying sober. While no one works a perfect program of recovery, practicing these things can help you remain clean and sober and live a more peaceful, successful and satisfying life in recovery.
Why Is Service So Important?
You’ll hear about service regularly if you are hanging out at meetings or in recovery circles. It is an important element of recovery, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. But why is it so important?
There isn’t one simple answer to this, because each person may have a different answer for why they consider service important. For some, service is a way to give back. Active addiction is often about taking. When someone is using, they may not be thinking much about what they can do for others, they are too worried about what they can get for themselves. Getting into service is one way to give back to the community that they may have taken from. Some people see service as an opportunity to make a living amends.
Service within the recovery community is also a good way to give back in gratitude for what has been freely given. This is win-win, because twelve step recovery is fully self-supporting, and relies on the service of members to keep its doors open for the next struggling addict or alcoholic. This is key because even if that struggling addict or alcoholic cannot stay sober and goes back out. Your interaction will have planted a seed and they will know that there is a solution when they are ready to try again. I do want to say that I personally feel strongly that the way you get sober is not important or how you stay sober just that you make it. That this disease doesn't kill you.
Staying Out Of Self-Obsession
Self-centeredness is thought to be a primary component of addiction. Often based in fear, self-centeredness isolates people and can create a lot of insanity in their lives. Service is a good way to get out of that self-centeredness while helping others.
When someone is feeling down, worried, stressed about life’s problems and unsure of what to do next, being of service to others is a great way to let that go, if even for just a little while. When you are helping someone who is struggling or less fortunate than you, it may just put your own problems in a more realistic perspective. Not only that, but when you are able to step back from yourself, you may find that solutions to your problems are more likely to present themselves.
Service has an almost magical quality to it. Somehow, no matter what’s going on in your life, service has a way of making you feel grateful. It isn’t just something that happens when you are helping someone who isn’t doing as well as you are, or who is having bigger problems than you. The act of service in itself seems to inspire those feelings of gratitude and humility.
Whether you are being of service at meeting level, serving in your community or helping a friend, service just makes you feel good. While there is certainly nothing wrong with doing things for yourself, helping others has a way of increasing your levels of self-esteem and confidence. For the newcomer to recovery, getting a service commitment right away is one way to get to know people, feel useful and feel a part of.
Fellowshipping And Meeting New People
Being of service often introduces you to people you might not otherwise meet. Whether you are meeting others in recovery or out in the community, service creates a common bond and a feeling of belonging. It truly brings people together.
Service Keeps You On The Right Path
Service is an integral part of a strong recovery. People who are of service often report that it is one of the core things that have kept them clean and sober. If you are new to recovery and attending twelve step meetings, it’s often suggested that you get a commitment right away. This makes it more likely that you will continue going to meetings, gives you a chance to meet people and gives you a sense of purpose. Continuing to be of service helps keep you grounded and grateful and out of self-centeredness.
Even if you are not actively working a twelve step program, but you are in addiction recovery, you can incorporate service in your life. Consider volunteering. People who volunteer regularly report higher levels of satisfaction in life, a feeling of being connected to the community, gratitude and higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.