Being of Service in Recovery, Connections in Recovery Los Angeles
In the 12-step programs, a part of recovery is being of service to others—it’s something every addict, whatever the addiction is—is instructed to do. Whether one is addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, compulsive sexual behavior, workaholism, compulsive spending, and co-occurring mental health disorders—being of service means you are ready anytime, anywhere, to help someone in recovery who’s in need.
When in treatment, or leaving treatment, counselors and/or case managers typically will request one finds a 12-step home group and sponsor to aid in the recovery process. For those who already attend 12-step meetings, you are familiar with the Twelfth Step work, which involves sharing the message with other addicts, because by doing so, it can help keep you sober. In the “Service” section of the 12-step book geared for those who have struggled/struggle with alcohol abuse, it states that the program, “is a society of alcoholics in action”—that the message must be carried out. “A service is anything whatever that helps us to reach a fellow sufferer—ranging all the way from the Twelfth Step itself to a ten-cent phone call and a cup of coffee.”
Service also includes helping in the program’s General Service Office for national and international action, as well as “meeting places, hospital cooperation, and intergroup offices,” to passing out pamphlets and/or books in or outside of the meetings, and utilizing “good publicity of almost every description. (It) calls for committees, delegates, trustees, and conferences,” to voluntarily offering money contributions from within the Fellowship.
In an article on being of service published in “Step 12 Magazine,” the author, who is in recovery, shares his own personal experience, saying, “I understand the thinking behind picking up a service job within a program. It gets you involved, provides you with some accountability, and helps you meet others within the rooms. (Hence), if you’re just starting out, I’ll tell you the same thing I was told—find a way to be of service in the program. It doesn’t matter what it is, being of service will help you and others. You may find that your idea of service changes over time, but even if your service is always making the coffee at meetings, you’ll find it’s usually about much more than that.”
To find out more information on being of service and how it impacts recovery, The Berkeley University of Southern California’s in-house magazine, “The Greater Good Science Center,” which studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society, published a good article titled “Staying Sober through Service.” Below is an excerpt from the article:
Victor M. was only 13 years old when his troubles with alcohol began. He stole bottles of hard liquor from his neighbor’s garage, enjoying how alcohol made him feel. Soon, he was drinking every day and using drugs, too.
Shortly after turning 21, he crashed a car during an alcohol-induced blackout. A judge ordered him to attend (12-step meetings), where recovering alcoholics encourage each other to become (and stay) sober by sharing personal stories and following the famous 12-step model.
When Victor attended his first meeting, he was terrified. “I didn’t say anything,” he says. “I just stared at the floor the whole time and left as soon as it was over.”
(Fast forward to) five years later, he is still sober and reaching out to other addicts who are trying to kick their addiction. “It keeps me accountable and plugged in,” says Victor, now 26. “It gives me a sense of purpose.” To read the article in full, click here https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/staying_sober_through_service
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Since 2011, Connections in Recovery (CiR), an international addiction and mental health treatment consulting and referral resource company, has been a vital resource to individuals across the country, offering expertise in consulting, recovery companions, case management, and interventions. Our compassionate and innovative staff coordinates care and assistance to hundreds of people struggling with addiction and mental health problems—inspiring individuals and families to face life’s challenges and achieve greater personal and economic independence. Serving the Los Angeles area and beyond, Connections in Recovery supports caring for a family member or loved one struggling with addiction and/or mental health, every step of the way.