SELF-SACRIFICE AND SERVICE
“Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.” -AA Big Book, pg 77
Of all the arrows in my quiver that I use to keep my demons of Alcoholism, Bipolar Disorder, and Porn Addiction at bay, Alcoholics Anonymous has been the sharpest and most accurate.
In 2010, when I hit rock bottom yet again, the Fellowship and spiritual disciplines of AA saved my life. Not only did it allow me to continue to exist, it gifted me with a life in which I am thriving.
It is a bit vague to simply assert that AA is the linchpin of my stability and sobriety. To get a bit more specific, the principle of the Twelfth Step is service. And thanks to the Higher Power of my understanding, AA, and my diligent efforts, service is now a staple in my recovery regimen.
I am forever grateful to all of my predecessors and peers in AA, and one of the ways that I repay them is to strive to give rather than to receive. To be of service rather than to be served.
Dr Bob Smith, AA’s co-founder, once said, “Service is love in work clothes.” I believe this whole-heartedly. My trials and tribulations and extensive, varied life experiences have given me unshakable faith that this is true. Love is the reason we are here and sustains us. Service is love in action.
The older I get, my memories, reflections, and feelings that are the most meaningful and fulfilling involve helping others and being of service.
Many aspects of spirituality are paradoxical, and the Twelfth Step is no exception. When we give of ourselves, our brain rewards us with dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, the chemicals which make up the Happiness Trifecta.
We give selflessly. We repay a debt.
We give selflessly. We spread and animate love.
We give selflessly. We find meaning and self-worth.
We give selflessly. We receive happiness in return.
“I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said “yes,” when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else.” -Fred Rogers