One of the most famous sayings in 12-Step groups worldwide is, “you can only keep what you have by giving it away.” This saying refers to the idea that service in recovery can help the giver as much as the receiver. Service in recovery refers to work carried out for no financial reward or compensation. This may involve directly helping somebody else or indirectly helping them by providing services. The individual in recovery gets involved in service because they know that it helps keep them sober.
Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) could not function without the voluntary services provided by members. All these meetings around the world are organized and maintained by volunteers. There is usually a collection at the end of each meeting, but this money is used to pay for rent, literature, or coffee.
Almost every person at these meetings will provide some type of service, even if it is just sharing a bit of their story or preparing the coffee. Other opportunities to be of service in meetings include chairing the meeting, serving as treasurer, acting as Group Service Representative (GSR), or helping with things that get the meeting running on time and smoothly. You might even decide to show up early for a meeting and prepare the meeting room.
There is no need for the individual to be a member of a 12-Step group for them to become involved in service. There are plenty of official and unofficial ways that those in recovery can help others. Such work is highly rewarding, and it can strengthen the commitment of the individual to their own recovery.
Anything that directly or indirectly helps others in recovery could be considered service. Examples of this type of work include:
Service in recovery benefits both the giver and receiver. Benefits of being of service include:
Helping others is always a good thing, but there can be dangers involved. This is particularly likely to happen when the individual is doing it for the wrong reasons. Some individuals become so obsessed with focusing on the needs of others that they neglect their own. This is dangerous because it may mean that they are stuck in recovery, and their giving is part of the relapse process. It is likely to come when they realize that fixing everyone else is not making their lives better. They can start to feel bitter, which may lead to thoughts of returning to drink or drugs.
Others may find it hard to say “no” and end up taking on too much. When this happens, it can further play into neglecting the individual’s own needs for the needs of others. Taking on too much can also lead to an increase in stress levels, potentially leading to relapse if not dealt with.
Sometimes, people aren’t ready to take on significant service opportunities, and that’s okay. Some types of service require a lot of trust, and if this trust is broken, it can cause problems. For example, there have been cases where treasurers of AA meetings steal money from the group’s funds. Behavior changes don’t happen overnight in recovery, and if someone feels they aren’t ready to take on a significant amount of responsibility, there are other types of service available. People shouldn’t be afraid to start small; just setting up the chairs for a meeting is an excellent way to be of service!
Being of service in recovery means helping those in need for no reward or profit. Service can be done in both 12-Step settings and outside of these programs. Anything that helps another person can be considered service! Not only will being of service benefit your recovery, but it will help someone else, too. However, if you feel you aren’t ready for significant responsibility yet, that’s okay. There are many variations of service and just helping to set up a meeting is an amazing way to be of service. If you are struggling in your recovery, Hired Power is here to help. Hired Power goes above and beyond to help individuals achieve lasting sobriety with our industry-leading Personal Recovery Assistant (PRA) program. This program supports clients and their families as they forge a new path into recovery and transition into a sober, independent lifestyle. For more information on our services, call us today at (714) 559-3919.
“I have worked with Hired Power extensively in collaboration with Clearview Treatment Programs’ individualized outpatient program. I am always impressed with their effectiveness and professionalism.”
“Thanks again for being there for us and guiding us through some rough waters. Your kindness and genuine concern deeply touched my soul and we are all grateful our paths crossed when they did. You are a truly gifted professional, keep on doing what you do so well.”
“I just want to thank Hired Power for the PRA. He was a perfect match and I can’t say enough…. He was intensely committed. This is the first time I have been clean in over 30 years. Thank you again.”
“I don’t look at you (Hired Power) as hiring a service, I look at you as saving my life.” (referring to his ability to stay sober after returning home).