I give of myself to others and receive no less than the blessing of sobriety for it. While I can take no credit for the sobriety of others, I can and do claim the sobriety I get from others. It’s kind of circular, when you think of it . . . and yet it is also individualism at it’s highest point. Being a friend to others has its own rewards, as keeping busy leaves me little time for self-absorption, and selfish thinking. If I can focus my mind on helping another alcoholic, staying sober comes more readily to me. This philosophy can be confusing – I work to eliminate my selfishness, and yet learning to give of myself requires selfishness because I need to work on my recovery. If I am not here to be of service to others – no one will benefit, including me.


10 thoughts on “Giving

  1. Are you anything like me?
    Have you yearned to have a spiritual experience and a meaningful connection with a higher power but hopefully not seeking it at the wrong address such as the bottom of a liquor bottle?
    It probably takes a little effort.
    And it probably also takes a daily effort.
    So just a suggestion because it worked for me and believe me I don’t know why or how.

    I obtained a copy of this little book which has been and is the continued focus point of my spiritual journey and I find so much content that it always seems to have something new and exciting every day. And this also seems to be the way that God as I understand Him is.

    Look To This Day

    Look to this day
    for it is life
    the very life of life.
    In its brief course lie all
    the realities and truths of existence
    the joy of growth
    the splendor of action
    the glory of power.
    For yesterday is but a memory
    And tomorrow is only a vision.
    But today well lived
    makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
    and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
    Look well, therefore, to this day.
    – ancient Sanskrit poem –
    24 Hours a Day

  2. Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary. It was transcended by the happiness they found in giving themselves for others-A Vision For You.
    As I worked the steps, giving became second nature. I feel a deeper sense of gratitude when I am giving. Paradoxically, when I am taking I don’t have that sense of gratitude.

  3. Yep
    Quite a shift!
    We say it daily, talk about in most meetings, see it throughout the Big Book and the miraculous results surround us in meetings all over the world.
    Yet my amazing ego every day naturally and presumptively attempts to reassert its old dominion. It is indefatigable.
    So, daily I practice the routine that reminds me of our purpose and our way of life.
    Blessings upon us all.

  4. Don McIntire of Burbank CA was given access to the AA membership surveys from 1968 through 1996. His article showed that 81% of first timers attending AA meetings drop out in the first 30 days and at the end of 90 days, 90% of them have left AA. At the end of the first year, only 5% remained in AA. A Cochrane Review of eight trials found that none unequivocally supported the efficacy of AA. Based on meta-analysis, the Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches ranks AA as the 38th most effective treatment for alcoholism out of a list of 48 treatments

    The Vaillant study is probably the single best piece of evidence on 12-step treatment. It had several components, including a long-term longitudinal study of a group of “100 alcohol-dependent men and women followed for eight years after being admitted to a clinic for detoxification” (Vaillant, 1995, p. 2). (This clinic was the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation, CASPAR, a 12-step inpatient/outpatient program, for which Dr. Vaillant worked as a psychiatric consultant.) Vaillant compared the outcomes of these 100 patients with those of alcoholic members of two comparison groups, subjects of two long-term longitudinal studies begun by other Harvard researchers: a group of 456 “Core City” Boston men, who had been followed since they were school boys; and a group of 204 former Harvard students, who had been followed since their college days. Vaillant also compared the outcomes of the 100 CASPAR patients with those of treated alcoholics in other studies, and with the outcomes shown in studies of untreated alcoholics. Vaillant’s results were that the 12-step hospital treatment he helped to provide was utterly ineffective, as judged in comparison with studies of untreated alcoholics. As Vaillant remarked, “Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling” (Vaillant, 1995, p. 352). He continued, “our results were no better than the natural history of the disorder.” (i.e., no treatment).

    –I really wonder why I am discouraged from exploring alternatives.

    • Lliam, I don’t know who’s trying to discourage you….but as far as I know, we all have free will? Whatever works! I actually didn’t start with AA….but it works for me. Just a thought….don’t let ANYONE discourage you….

    • 106,000 groups and 2 million people must be finding something; I know I did.
      Maybe you should start with the Number 1 most effective treatment and, hopefully, you’ll not need to resort to number 38.
      Best of luck.

  5. Top of the day family,
    If you want something in your life you’ve never had. You’ll have to do something, you’ve never done. If I want to have a friend, I need to be one. If I want more freedom, face my fears. If I want more joy, serve others. A little giving goes a long way and who would have known: this allows me to feel comfortable in my own skin. That’s a golden feeling.
    Heard at a conference: The pain we share we cut by half, the joy we share we double.
    Its a good day to have a good day.

  6. Thank you Lliam, I feel really grateful to have beaten the odds as it were.
    Do you have any statistical evidence from some of the other recovery aproaches. I’d like to know where you have found your peace.

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