The Most Important Part of my Recovery is Being of Service to Other Alcoholics. Written by Jay Keefe.

 

service

The most important part of my recovery is being of service to other alcoholics.

It may seem kind of strange but helping another alcoholic gets me out of my head.  If I’m focusing on helping someone else, I stop being self-centered.  Besides, it feels good.

I had a very hard time picking up the phone or asking for help when I first got sober.  I always thought that I was bothering the person on the other end or that they wouldn’t have time for me, or even worse, that they’d think whatever I was going through simply didn’t warrant a phone call and that I’d come off as a whiny baby.

But whomever I called always picked up and I always felt better.  Granted, I made sure I was respectful.  I called or reached out during a respectable hour and didn’t keep calling back if the person didn’t answer.  I have a ton of numbers stored in my phone and if the first person I call doesn’t answer, I simply move on the next number on the list.

So when someone reaches out to me, I try my best to be available.

I’ve gone to a complete strangers house with a friend and together, the two of us took the stranger out for coffee and talked to him at length about addiction and what we were doing to stay sober.

I’ve knocked on a hotel room door, not having any idea what was on the other side.  I only knew that the guy in the room was drunk and had been drinking for the better part of a week.  His girlfriend called me and asked me to help get him into her car so she could take him to rehab.  When he answered he was naked, gave me a hug, told me he loved me, and said he was ready to get help.  It could’ve been much worse.  But luckily it wasn’t.  After they left, I stayed behind to talk to both the hotel management and the police to explain to them that I myself was a recovering alcoholic and that the guy in the room was currently on his way to get help.

I went to court at the request of a friend, to vouch for him as his sponsor, and to inform the judge he was doing the “right” thing.

I went to a friend’s parent’s house (with a police escort) so she could have her siblings involuntarily placed in a 30-day rehab.  Said friend was physically attacked by one of her siblings.  The sibling was arrested and we spent the remainder of the day in court.

I’ve been kicked out of someone’s house for not agreeing to be his sponsor.  I’ve had my life threatened for being honest.  I’ve lost friends, made dozens of phone calls to people I didn’t know, and been pulled aside after 12-step meetings hundreds of times because another addict wanted to talk.

I speak when I’m asked to speak, I help clean up meetings rooms, and I make myself available to people who need help.

Why?

Because that’s exactly what was done for me when I was struggling.

I was lost and hopeless when I was at the end of my drinking.  I didn’t know who I was, where I was going or how to stop drinking.

A friend of my dad’s talked to me (more than once).  A guy took two days off from work (on two different occasions) to drive me to detox.  Countless men and women took time out of their busy, hectic lives and schedules to spare a few minutes for me when I needed it most.

Every time I’ve ever reached out for help, it’s been there.  Without it, I know I wouldn’t have stayed sober.

So when something is asked of me, I say, “Yes”.

It may involve the police, or the chance of violence.  It may be time-consuming or I may have to rearrange my life a little to make it happen.  Sometimes I don’t want to do it, but I do.

I do it because it was done for me when I needed it.

And when I asked for it, I received more help than I ever thought possible.

 

Jay Keefe, Director of Happiness and Staff Writer at The Addictions Academy

National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer

Published Author of “And Drink I Did”

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