Hey, everybody, and welcome to another episode of Recovery Talk, brought to you by the SHAIR podcast. Today’s topic is going to be on helping others and being of service. The reason why I bring up this topic is because I think that this is one of the most important topics in recovery. Helping others and being of service is the reason why I started the podcast in the first place.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the cliché that states, “You can’t keep what you have without giving it away.”
I remember when I was early in recovery and I couldn’t wait to do service. That first year was rough, and it was mainly about going to meetings, working the steps, developing a foundation of recovery, getting my head on straight. But there came a point when I felt that I really wanted to be of service, so I started taking service commitments. I started chairing meetings. I started going to business meetings. I started volunteering for area service commitments. And as I got closer to my one-year anniversary, I talked to my sponsor about the opportunity for me to be a sponsor as well and help others. Right around my one year mark, I started sponsoring other guys. That took my program to another level.
What I’ve come to realize is that there is such an incredible healing power that comes from being of service. Now, as you’re listening to this recording, you might be saying to yourself, “Wow. That sounds awesome. I can’t wait until I start chairing meetings and I work some of the steps and I get a year clean so I can start sponsoring guys and being of service.” No. That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. It’s actually just the opposite, and I’ll tell you why. There’s something that I have noticed recently and I find to be very significant in The SHAIR Podcast Private Accountability Group is that recently, there have been some people that have really been struggling with just maintaining 24 hours of sobriety. What has happened is members have gone in. They’ve talked about having a really tough time coping with whatever it is they’re coping with in life, and they’re really on the edge of drinking, that they go 24 hours or they go 48 hours or they go 12 hours, and the obsession takes over, and they drink again. “I don’t know what to do. I need some help. Can somebody give me a suggestion?”
Here’s what’s happened in many cases. Remember, there’s 2,600 people inside the SHAIR podcast Private Accountability group, so what happens is you get 20, 30 of the other members that typically will jump in in a situation like this, and the suggestions go along the lines of, “Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.” “Call your sponsor.” “Call somebody you know at the meetings.” “Get to a meeting.” “It’s not worth it.” “Stay close to the group.” This goes on, and then you’ll read various other members chiming in thereafter supporting that member.
Here’s what’s happened recently. A lot of these members that have posted this have managed to get through that next 24 hours without drinking or using, without picking up. Then what happens is they’ll post, “Hey, guys. Thank you so much for helping me out here. I managed to get 24 hours without drinking or using.” Then, of course, they’ll get more support from the other members. “Good job. Way to go.” “This is awesome.” “You should probably still go to a meeting.” So the encouragement continues. Before you know it, this same member has managed to put together an entire week, and they’ll post in the group. “Guys, thank you so much. Thanks to you guys, I’ve managed to stay clean and sober seven days,” and of course, everybody goes bananas, and it’s awesome and it’s fantastic.
Now, here’s the most interesting facet of this entire process, and that is that other members now feel more comfortable to talk about their potential relapse and how they’re feeling and that they’re on the edge and that they’ve had one or two days and they’ve relapsed and they need support and they need help. Now, guess who’s in there being of service, helping others, and showing support? The member that just a week ago or two weeks ago was struggling to put together one or two days, now has seven days, now has two weeks, jumps in there and says, “Don’t do it. We’ve got your back. Think it through. Get to a meeting. Call your sponsor.” Not only is this member being of service by sharing their testimony, sharing their truth, being open to vulnerability, which allowed these other members to come out and share their truth, they’re now actively supporting the other members. You can feel, you can actually feel through their post their enthusiasm and their excitement about not only putting together their clean time, but now having the opportunity to be of service and to help others. That’s the whole point of that story is that no matter where you are in your recovery, you can be of service.
I don’t know how many of you have been in early recovery, gone to a meeting, shared that you had two days clean and sober and you were hanging on by a thread and that you needed support and you needed help, and then after the meeting, you had a bunch of members come up, give you their phone numbers, support you, tell you, “You’re not alone. Keep coming back,” and what a difference that made in your life as somebody in early recovery. But I’m pretty sure at some point, one of those members would have said, “Thank you for sharing. That helped me more than you could possibly imagine.” Now, some of you know exactly what they’re talking about. We can’t keep what we have without giving it away, and we also can’t keep what we have without constantly being reminded that we are addicts and we are alcoholics and that this disease is cunning, baffling, and powerful.
When you hear a newcomer sharing with such passion and such pain and suffering that they’re currently dealing with, then we are instantly transported to that time in our life where we hit rock bottom and we surrendered, and we walked into a room for the first time and said, “My name’s Omar, and I’m an addict, and I need help,” and just thinking about the love and the support that I received when I first walked into the room of Narcotics Anonymous.
If you notice inside the Facebook private group that that’s what’s happening in there. There are members in there that have a lot of clean time doing service. They don’t need to be in there because they’re hanging on by a thread. They need to be in there because they keep what they have by giving it away. They do a lot of service in there, and it’s that message that they carry that helps the newcomer, that helps anybody struggling to string together one day, two days, a week. But more importantly, this recording and this message is for those newcomers that didn’t even have 30 days and were absolutely helping others and being of service, reaching out to the other members who were struggling, who were in pain, that needed love, that needed support, that needed encouragement, and they were there for them.
So to think that your voice doesn’t matter, that you don’t have enough time, enough days, to help somebody else is absolute bullshit. This is when it counts the most. You need to be of service to give you what you haven’t been able to give yourself in so long. Self-esteem, self-worth, value. If you’re listening to this message right now and you have a small amount of clean time, you’re in pain, then the best way to get out of your head and to relieve some of this pain that you’re going through is to help others and be of service. Join us. Join the SHAIR Facebook private group, and welcome people that are coming in, help people that are struggling, and share about your own struggles, and allow the rest of the members to help you so that they can be of service.
It doesn’t matter who you are or how much clean time you have. When you wake up in the morning, and if you’re anything like me and you have that itty bitty shitty committee racing around in your head, rattling off the to-do list or telling you to push the snooze button or telling you you’re not worthy, then ask the God of your understanding, ask your higher power, how you can be of service and do the greatest amount of good to help others. That’s why I launched the podcast, and it’s the reason why I started the Facebook private group, and it’s doing exactly that. It’s helping thousands of people, and you know what else it’s doing? It’s allowing other people to be of service as well. Service doesn’t cost anything, but the value of helping other people with no agenda, with no ulterior motives, unconditional love and service, that value that it brings into your life is unmeasurable and unquantifiable. So I’ll end with this quote.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi.
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step Anonymous program.