We asked a few local clean and sober folks how helping others through service helps them stay sober.
“Service for me is based on action. Service also keeps me accountable. During my addiction I used to think about being of service and think about helping other people. It was a fantasy. It was a person I wanted to be, but it was just a thought. Being in action is part of my service now. I take it as an opportunity to connect with people. Connection is a big thing for me. It’s something that’s very difficult, I feel. When I’m of service, I allow others to recognize me and hear my truth. It’s about doing things together. The way I’m of service is I do simple commitments at meetings. I pick up the phone when I really don’t want to, or have conversations I really don’t want to have, but I know it will be helpful to be honest, and open. I’m part of sponsorship. I help the alumni at La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center. If I didn’t do the service and just went to meetings, I think it would allow me to take steps away from my program. For years, I thought I was just a good person without doing anything for anybody else, other than for myself. Being of service helps me be a better human being and I feel a lot better about myself.”
—Arthur Khyata, sober since October 25, 2015.
“Service for me is how I stay grounded, how I stay connected, and also how I give back what was given to me. I believe deeply in getting out of my own way and service is one of the ways in which I do that. I’m literally an example to others. People get to know you and you get to know people. It really can deepen connections. Service is one of the main vehicles. I want to be connected to my Higher Power. I want to be connected to people. I find that through service, I’m able to do that. Sometimes service can be extraordinarily inconvenient, but at the end of the day, every time I do something where I am of service, I feel better. I was of service before I got sober, but I always wanted something in return, but now that I’m sober, it’s just a different story. Service is one of the keys and one of the reasons why I’m still sober and my quality of life is really, really fucking good.”
—Christina Simos, sober since June, 11, 2005.
“Being of service helps me stay connected to everyone in recovery and it helps me stay in the center, so it’s harder for me to isolate. It helps me in the sense that it gives me self-worth when I do something selfless and help others. Being part of something bigger than myself builds my self-esteem. Before, I didn’t have any. I was super insecure. I didn’t feel I had anything to offer, so service really started to propel me to my self-esteem. I go to two meetings a week, when I should go to four, so what really keeps me connected is service. I’m involved with service at work and in my fellowship. I have commitments. I’m the vice chair for the recovery convention. My service helps me build deep bonds with people. All that stuff helps me stay in the middle and not fall of the wagon.”
—Edwin Sanchez, sober since October 14, 2015.
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