Remember how far you’ve come from the moment you stepped into your recovery program and how far you’ve come since then. According to the twelfth step of Alcoholics (or Narcotics) Anonymous, in order to fully recover and take your sobriety to the next level, you must share yourself and your story with those who are still struggling.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics/addicts and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.
At first glance, the idea of “carrying the message” may seem a bit vague – but it’s an important step, not only in maintaining your own sobriety but in helping others who are also suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol.
How Others Benefit
As you progressed through the twelve steps, you learned about yourself, addressed your shortcomings, and learned how to overcome them by reaching out not only to a higher power but also to other people.
The power that comes through having another person to share your struggles and victories with is enormously healing for someone suffering from addiction. Remember how relieving it felt when you were able to admit your problems to your group leader or sponsor and understand that these other people had successfully overcome the same issues?
By continuing to share your story with other addicts or alcoholics, you can provide them with hope and the motivation to keep trying.
How You Benefit
Carrying the message helps tremendously with rooting yourself in sobriety.
Focusing on serving others helps to raise your self-esteem and reduce any feelings of selfishness by knowing you’re making a positive impact on the community. As you focus on helping other people, you’re creating an environment within yourself that fosters feelings of fulfillment, true happiness, and spiritual growth.
By actively engaging in the community in a positive way, you can also help yourself avoid a common trigger of relapse: boredom.
How to Carry the Message
The great thing about carrying the message is the opportunity to make it as big or a small a part of your life as you can handle.
Many people go on to become a sponsor, but that’s not the only way to give back to the community. You can join or start an activities committee in your own 12-step group, become a 12-step group leader, or visit people in recovery in hospitals or prisons.
Some people even choose to change careers to allow them to spend more of their time supporting the recovery community, working in an outreach program or at a recovery center.
The bottom line is, no matter how you choose to involve yourself in the community, carrying the message to other addicts or alcoholics will benefit not only others’ recovery, but yours as well.