Although the Christian New Testament line “It is better to give than receive” was used by my grade school nuns for every special collection and the Lenten box of nickels from the candy not eaten, there is more.
I object to what I refer to as the “Santa Claus” mentality of service work where those who have shower gifts like magic glitter on those who have not. This practice is a rather self-indulgent feel good exercise. And yes, it is true that in giving we do receive. I have never done service work whether in recovery or any other context where I did not get more out of it than I put in.
More difficult is being certain not to take away someone else’s opportunity to give so they too then can receive. That is something I enjoy about 12-Step programs in general. I learn in the sharing of experience, strength, and hope, from a broad array of folks. From those very first lessons in detox many years ago, to the continued growth today, including what I learn in the blogosphere, I have received much.
Today, I am grateful for and thank the broad scope of humanity (and canines) who have given me so much.