Here is how I have come to view service, whether in recovery or in life in general. I have a need, a desire, a commitment to give back and be of service. Whether the need or the desire comes first seems to be a sort of chicken and the egg question.
I know that when I am in service and in community with others – whether sharing my experience, strength, and hope in recovery or life’s road in general, my ability to live a meaningful life is enhanced. Whether that service is doing something, saying something, or simply being present in something – the result in all the same. In this way, for me service is really quite self-serving. I know that if I do not practice service to others, I will focus exclusively on myself, my own narrow self-interests and my life will be diminished and back into self-will run riot.
On the other hand, I enjoy being of service to others. I enjoy that I have been able to play a positive role in the lives of other people. I feel a very strong desire to give back for all that I have been given over the years.
I find this service thing awkward. I find it increasingly important to let folks know when they express their thanks for service rendered, that it is really I who need to thank them for passing through and sharing our mutual existence so that I can do that which I know is important for me as a person on a recovery road.
Being of service works both ways.