BEING OF SERVICE
We asked these clean and sober individuals with various lengths of sobriety time what being of service means to them and how helping others helps them in their program of recovery.
BY PAULO MURILLO
“I get to see myself when I’m of service. It’s a constant reminder. The last Saturday of every month, I package a 150 lunches and I serve them out at homeless encampments all over Los Angeles. It’s not just about making the lunches, but being able to go out there and serve people in person that allows me to see myself in the people who need help. It takes me right back to where I was, not even a year ago. It’s a reminder that I can be one step away from making a big mistake. Being of service brings me closer to myself and closer to my Higher Power. It helps me remember that I’m human and that the disease of addiction is real. I think of the people that helped me, so when I’m helping others it also reminds me become more grateful. Through service I realize that I’m loved and I can also love in return. Service is very important.”
—Jacob Ritenour, sober since July 20, 2020.
“Being of service allows me to step out of myself and meet someone else’s needs. It reminds me that I am not alone in this world. I need people. Especially now during COVID. I realize how much I need people today. I’ve taken a lot for granted and I’ve learned to appreciate the things in my life. I love helping people. Especially those who I consider to be outcasts, because I can identify. Before I got sober it was all about me, my needs and wants. Friendships were disposable. I only cared what I was going to get for me. Today, helping someone is important to me. It is the foundation of my recovery.”
—Ricardo Mejia, sober since December 26, 2020.
“Service is always at the forefront. In our texts it talks about how nothing gives us more immunity than the constant thought of others. That part of my recovery has only been enriched these past 15 years. Without service I don’t have a spiritual experience. I don’t see my program working. I don’t see my Higher Power working. There is something about giving back, even if may seem inconvenient and a pain, I show up. I’m of service to the Friendly House and do anything they ask. I work at La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center and we do a lot of events that help other organizations. Sometimes I just want to chill and watch Netflix, but I also enjoy being free. I keep that freedom by helping others. Service is something that has kept me sober and a big part of what makes me the person I am today.”
—Christina Simos, sober since June 11, 2005.
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