Over the last month or so I have released many articles telling my story and detailing the phases of my own personal recovery. This last piece is something I had to actively participate in while I was continuing to get sober. However, this doesn’t just apply to people getting sober, I believe this last piece of advice can apply everyone and anyone trying to make their life more fulfilling. As I have stated on multiple occasions, addiction is a very selfish and self-seeking disease. It creates the illusion that the world revolves around the person in active addiction, and blinds them to the fact that nothing could be further from the truth. I say this because I was that addict for nearly a decade, and this was undoubtedly my truth.
This selfishness was a huge part of why I couldn’t get out of my own way. I was a Tasmanian Devil that ran through the lives of the people around me. I think a more fitting analogy would actually be some kind of parasite because I would attach myself to a host and try to get everything I could from them for as long as possible. When the well ran dry and I felt as if I poached everything I could from someone, I would move on to my next victim. I wasn’t purposely going around and doing this, but it was just how my life played out time after time. I was selfish, I was self-seeking and I couldn’t find the version of myself I had lost so many moons ago.
The last, and most important part of me finding myself, was me losing myself in the service of others. We hear stories of people going out of their way to do good deeds for strangers – and I feel justified in saying – it gives us that warm and hopeful feeling inside. In the beginning of my sobriety I needed to find the hope in myself that I could actually follow through with my own personal recovery. Once I had put some real sober time together I needed to find the hope in me that I could become a better person by helping those who needed it. The scales fell away from my eyes at this point and I came to the stark realization that I was not the most important person on earth and I never would be. I had made my peace with that. I also realized that my importance did not come from what I could wrestle away from other people, but instead what I could give to them.
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I have always been big into the idea of self motivation and finding out what drives someone to do the things they do in life. When I finally got sober and realized that I had the ability to tell my story and positively affect those around me, I was sold. Not to mention I had a formal education in Journalism and I had always dreamed of writing for an audience I may be able to help in some way, shape or form. I was born, I was born again in sobriety, and I had figured out that my story should be used to help others find their way – while battling through the disease of addiction.
But it doesn’t stop there. Service is a daily agreement. Service is something that we can do regardless of our background or our upbringing. This is why I believe that this piece of recovery can be used for those struggling with addiction, and also those people who just need to find themselves again. After all, Mahatma Gandhi said, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
You don’t have to be wealthy to hold the door for someone. But I am positive you’ll feel rich after the deed is done. You don’t have to be happy to smile at someone you pass on the street. But I am positive you will be after they return the favor. You don’t have to feel good about yourself to pay a stranger a compliment. But I am sure you will after you see the impact it had on their day. You don’t have to buy a homeless man a house. But I’m sure he will feel at home when you offer to buy him a hot meal. You don’t have to be an auto mechanic, but I am sure the woman’s tire you changed will treat you like one. You don’t have to change the whole world at once, but I am sure you will be able to find a way to change one person’s whole world.