Staying Sober by Considering Others

Recovery Reflections: November 15, 2017

Hello there, my name is Leah and I would like to welcome you once more to Detox to Rehab’s Recovery Reflections. Please join us and listen to the experience, strength and hope shared by Madison, Jen, Patrick and Brandon.

We pre-record one of our reflections every week for you to watch. In the sessions, these individuals will express how the reading of the week relates to their own experiences in recovery and how it has helped them along their paths.

Alcoholics Anonymous

November 15, 2017: Thinking of Others

Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 20

“Thinking of others has never come easily to me. Even when I try to work the A.A. program, I’m prone to thinking, ‘How do I feel today. Am I happy, joyous and free?’ The program tells me that my thoughts must reach out to those around me. ‘Would that newcomer welcome someone to talk to?’ ‘That person looks a little unhappy today, maybe I could cheer him up.’ It is only when I forget my problems and reach out to contribute something to others that I can begin to attain the serenity and God consciousness that I seek.”

Thinking More of Others in Recovery

“When I think about others, I am more able to listen to the direction that God gives me,” said Madison.

It is easy to get caught up in thoughts about yourself. We tend to obsess over how we are feeling, what people did to us and what we want to have or accomplish. While there is nothing wrong with these thoughts, they can consume our attention.

It is easy to forget about the world of other people who are suffering and need help. Everything is relative, including our feelings of discontent. Considering others more often can help to put our own problems into perspective.

Like Jen said: “There’s got to be someone who’s got it worse than you.”

Addiction inspires very self-centered thoughts and behaviors, as the goal of using a substance is always to affect yourself. If it is an obsession, then it is an obsession with your own perceived needs. If you’re starting to feel sick, then you need another fix. If you feel sad, maybe you need a fix. If you feel stressed, then perhaps another fix to calm your nerves is what is needed.

In addiction recovery, it is important to think of others’ needs. How can you affect others positively? How can you help them if they are in need?

Considering Others Aids Addiction Recovery

Many people who are new to recovery don’t understand how the service element is relevant to them. It isn’t until they become sponsors themselves, or take up a meaningful service commitment, that it becomes clear.

Like Patrick said, “it’s a hundred percent true that the sponsor derives more than the sponsee.”

The act of sponsoring, of helping someone else in recovery, gives a purpose in life and helps people stay sober. Of course, the sponsee is receiving help as well, so both benefit, but service puts things into perspective for the sponsor and gives him or her purpose. These benefits actually help the sponsor to stay sober.

We often think too simply about addiction, as if the drug or the Alcohol is the root of the problem. This is almost never the case though; there are many underlying issues for addiction that must be addressed and treated for recovery to be achieved.

Many people who suffer from addiction feel purposeless or aimless. Others feel as though they are totally alone in the world, that no one truly cares about them or can relate to them. Considering and helping others through acts of service are effective and proven ways to help with some of these deeper feelings.

Helping Others Works in Recovery

Brandon reflected: “When I’m getting in my head on things and then I go and help someone else, I instantly feel better.”

Helping others can help us to get out of our own heads and feel a part of something. We all get stressed out about jobs or interpersonal relationships, but anxiety only grows as you turn these thoughts over in your mind.

Oftentimes, helping someone else will help alleviate that anxiety as you draw your focus away from yourself. To help others is to look outward and see a larger picture that you are a part of.

If you are suffering from addiction, or are in recovery, and you feel purposeless or alone, there are people who can help. Call (866) 578-7471 to speak with someone about your concerns and how to find the life you deserve.

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