First couple of times I attempted sobriety I would hear comments like “being of service is part of the program…” and I kind of just thought this whole giving back thing was optional or something you did only if you were a recovery nerd.
I relapsed a few times before I finally got sober and my mentor made it crystal clear to me that being of service was necessary and not optional, and I was like “WTF bro.. I can barely help myself.” As a matter of fact I’m the one that needs ALL the help that he can get. I suck at living life. I can’t hold a job, I can’t get through school, I can’t go a day without having a needle in my arm. Who the hell is going to want ME to help THEM?!
But as I journeyed through my recovery, my mentor would continuously put me in positions to help other people, especially other addicts.
My mentor would tell me “you don't have the luxury of staying sober if you don't give a fuck about someone else.”
When I was six months sober, my mentor would drag me to this detox center and would have me share my experience strength and hope. I was nervous and didn't know what I was saying most of the time. I just knew I was speaking my truth and from the heart.
Afterwards people would come up to me and thank me for coming out to help them. And then it dawned on me that I do have something to offer. I can offer hope just like hope was offered to me.
It's so easy to become self absorbed in addiction, and even in my recovery it was all about me and how I needed to get better. But once recovery shifted my perspective on how I could be useful to someone else's recovery, I began to experience gratitude.
In the beginning, it was just about asking people how they're doing and offering simple acts of service. Since then, I've had awesome opportunities to help in all sorts of ways- whether it's helping someone find treatment or mentoring them in their journey. Being of service is something I get to do, still.
My recovery always feels best when I get to be a of voice of hope and love for people. Especially people who experience similar situations as I do. And the universe never fails. Every time I'm going through a hardship- sooner or later I get the opportunity to use that experience to help another person whose going through the same situation.
And the hardship is no longer a hardship, but rather a useful tool to put back in to life.
I always took when I was in the depth of my addiction, and it only makes sense that the solution to that is to give back.