Early in sobriety, I learned the power of helping others overcome their struggle with the disease of alcoholism. We keep what we have by giving it away. Although this seemed like an oxymoron in my early years, I have discovered that being of service is crucial for my recovery.
I am reminded of this old adage when I help newcomers in the program. One of the best ways I have found to ferret out these wobbly newbie’s is doing H&I work. This stands for Hospitals and Institutions, a service juncture that began in the late 1930’s when Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith carried the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to a third AA member, Bill Dobson.
The basic premise to this outreach is that recovering alcoholics/addicts carry the AA message into residential treatment centers, jails, and mental institutions to suffering alcoholics/addicts who could not otherwise attend regular meetings.
I had the opportunity to speak on an H&I panel at a recovery house last week. This particular group had just gotten out of detox and most had burned their lives to the ground. One man had 13 years sober and started drinking again. He lost everything this time; his family, his home, and most importantly, the self worth he cultivated in sobriety. I asked him what he was doing those few months prior to picking up a drink. In a nutshell, had had gotten complacent. Although he attended meetings, he did not work with struggling alcoholics and did not have any service commitments. Not being exposed to newcomers, it is easy to take the good life for granted. If we forget where we come from, we may end up going back. Alcoholism and addiction are progressive, and there is no cure. Working with others is great insurance against taking that first drink. I am grateful for the opportunity to be reminded that service is it’s own reward.Share post