One of the guiding principles in a 12-Step program of recovery is working with others. People who have been blessed with the gift of recovery from an addiction frequently make it a priority to try to give back. This can be through leading group meetings, helping out with meeting logistics or working with another addict. These are all very important things, but the one that sticks out to me the most is working with another addict.
Working with or sponsoring another person who is trying to recover not only helps that person, but helps the sponsor as well. While the goal of helping another addict should not be motivated by selfish gain, the act of helping the other person can provide the sponsor with a sense of contentment. He is helping someone along the path to recovery the way he was once helped by another. Her guidance and advice can be extremely important to a person going through a situation similar to her own. There may be situations the sponsee is struggling with that the sponsor might have forgotten about, which she struggled with long ago. It can be a reminder and a safeguard to the sponsor on the issue. When a person has reached a point in his life that he feels recovery is necessary, he needs all of the guidance and help he can get. And a person that was once guided in his own recovery is the best person to provide advice and any first-hand experience he can.
A couple of the most impactful relationships I have formed in my own recovery have been with people newer to recovery than myself. These were young men still struggling with some things that I had experienced—and some that I had not. I tried to help them by listening and providing advice based on what I had learned from my own recovery, from other recovering individuals and from the program we shared. Whether these guys realized it or not, they were helping me as much as I was them. Working with them allowed me to get outside of my own head, which was filled with my own problems, and focus on helping someone else. Did this fix every difficult situation they were facing or every problem in my head? No, but it always makes you feel better knowing you’re not facing an uphill battle alone.
Now to You…
If you’re a person in recovery or are familiar with recovery, what are some ways you have seen people give back to others? What is your commentary on someone in recovery giving back?