At the beginning of a journey through a 12 step program, the importance of being of service is stressed. Many who are new to recovery may not understand what being of service exactly means and how it is supposed to be done. The following is a short guide describing the role of service during the recovery process and how it can change the quality of your experience, as well as help others.
What does it mean to be of service?
The concept of being of service to others isn't just limited to those who participate in 12 step programs. The idea of service can also be found in major world religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. It turns out that helping others is a significant step in the process of reaching spiritual fulfillment. In the beginning of your recovery, being of service to others may be quite simple.
It can involve simply just being there for someone who needs a helping hand or someone to listen. It's important to be aware of your own behavior and motives when helping another person. Sometimes your own selfish needs may take precedence or you may not be truly interested in helping the other person.
An awareness of your own natural selfishness as well as the selfishness of others (sometimes others can try to take advantage of your good intentions) is a major step towards reaching a more balanced and fulfilling life. Offering your help to someone selflessly is what it means to truly be of service.
Why is service so important during recovery?
The concept of service is tied to recovery because it helps an individual put aside their own wants and worries for awhile in order to focus on something outside of themselves. This allows you to give something to another human being without your own ego standing in the way.
Many alcoholics and drug addicts don't known how to see the world outside of their own egotistical perspective. Service provides a fresh, more balanced way of looking at things that also eventually leads to healthier perspective of one's self.
What are some ways that a person in recovery can be of service?
There are so many opportunities out there to help others. All you have to do is open yourself up to the experience and make the commitment. Service can start out slowly and simply with sponsorship in a 12 step program or by just being there for another person in recovery.
From there you can start to explore your interests by volunteering with groups or institutions that are involved in causes you care about. You can choose to offer your service to others in recovery, or become involved in a group that works with animals, the environment, or the homeless.
Soon you'll begin to notice how giving back selflessly brings a new kind of fulfillment that is truly healthy and healing for the soul.
How does service in recovery help you stay sober?
Not only does helping others give you a healthier perspective, it also builds self esteem and a sense of self worth. It also connects you with others. So many people drink or use drugs to deal with feelings of low worth, loneliness, or desperation.
By finding a healthy way to build up self worth, you're less likely to turn back to drugs or alcohol. Service is one of the best ways to do just that.