” Service will keep you Sober!”

I heard this phrase over and over in my first month or so of recovery. My recovery group was hosting its annual convention and I was recruited by the chairperson to be the one to make announcements and provide local information. “Service will keep you sober Tim,” she said over and over to me. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by this, of course, I wasn’t quite sure about a lot of what was being said at that convention weekend. Everything was so new to me. In reality, I was just glad to be out of the house and have something to do, something to keep me busy and keep my mind off of my problems.

In the years since, I have washed a lot of coffee cups, set up chairs and tables, chaired meetings, and sponsored other men in the program. And I have worked on the annual convention every year since. This year I had the honour of chairing the convention committee. With each commitment, I gain more understanding more of what it means to be of service.

When I am doing service work I am stepping outside of myself and my difficulties, problems and challenges. Doing something, keeping busy, whether its sweeping the floor, setting out books, making coffee, chairing a meeting, reading, sharing, all of these activities are not only vital to the life of the group, they are vital to my own recovery, reminding me that I am not alone and that I can’t do this by myself. Service reminds me that I am part of something and that everything I do has importance in maintaining my recovery.

That phrase that I was told at the beginning, became embedded in my  recovery. It taught me that I need to pitch in because we sink or swim together. It taught me that my personal recovery is very dependent on my group and making sure that my group functions. It taught me that I am not alone and that I can’t recovery alone either.

When I first came into recovery, I came from a point where my world had shrunk to a very small circle of people and activities. Coming into the program and jumping right into service work got me involved. Forced me to meet new people. Allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and experience a new way of living. Service is not the only part of recovery, but it is one of the key elements: I can’t keep my recovery to myself, I have to give it away.

The service work of this past weekend took me way out of my comfort zone. But as my recovery has grown, so has my ability to take on new responsibilities and challenges. My Higher Power is by my always. And with the enormous amount of service work by the other committee members and volunteers, I participated in an incredible event that will carry me forward in my recovery.

Jennifer R., I thank you for your guidance in my recovery. Service is still keeping me sober. I am grateful.

5 thoughts on “” Service will keep you Sober!”

  1. Wow, I had chills everywhere reading this!! I call them my God bumps! So grateful to you for carrying the torch of service and keeping the message alive!

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  2. Tim,

    Recovery River has become my raft; every time I read your blog I’m amazed at how clearly you put into words my very thoughts. I m grateful to my home group for being a map, a way to reach new heights in this scary journey of recovery. I’ve always isolated, then self-medicated trying to “find myself”, not realizing how very lost I was going on “my road”. “Service will keep you sober” – wise words which I never really understood. Now I’m finally getting it: the sense of belonging, the getting out of my comfort zone (and my head), the whole experience of getting to know people I’d already met and meeting new people that I would never have crossed paths with and forming lifelong alliances through doing service at the Convention has given me a renewed sense of hope. I’m “trudging toward happy destiny” with a new faith. If this is what three days of service feels like, I want SO MUCH MORE! I listened to and learned so much from that gentle giant, Jason. He gave me some great lessons on patience, tact and humility! I learning so much from observing you on how to open up to people, how by accepting all others I learn how to start accepting myself. Thank you for allowing me to do service at this wonderful event. I believe it has been life-changing…

    Julia

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  3. Tim….
    I just Love beyond words that our paths crossed last year in Costa Rica. I was immedietly and continue to be Eternally Grateful for sll if the planning and hard work that your spiritual crew do to pull off that Amazing Convention I am fully grounded in service and pray that will continue…that My God will put me where I need to ne when I need to be there. Thank you again…You Rock!
    Always,
    Dawn

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    • I love working on the convention…keeps me on the straight and narrow. And let’s me meet wonderful folks like you and Bill.
      Hugs
      Tim

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