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Getting Involved in Service: Good for Me and We

celebrate service in narcotics anonymous


When I first came to NA, all of a sudden I was forced out of my comfortable pattern of alternating between being with lots of people when I was using, and then isolation in the times when I was trying to be clean on my own, with no comfortable in-between. Now here I was for the first time, clean AND around a bunch of people! Not easy, to say the least. Something that helped be break down those walls inside myself was Service. It doesn’t need to start off with a bang, and I didn’t even really know until later that that was what I was doing: Service. I would help pull out the chairs for a meeting, help set out all the announcements and IP’s, (I never dared touch the coffee machines, well aware early on that this is a serious beverage around these rooms, I figured to not be taken on by a coffee-making novice like me!), help put things away after the meetings, empty the ash trays…These may seem like little things, but they made me feel like I was contributing in a small way, like I had a place in the rooms and belonged, I was involved, and it helped me feel more comfortable in those awkward times for me before and after a meeting, and it still does years later.

Time went on and I did different more “formal” Service Positions: Like Alternate GSR for my Homegroup (interesting to get a glimpse of that legendary Area Service Committee meeting!), Treasurer, Chair/Secretary for a couple of meetings, and now Chairperson for the Newsletter Subcommittee… Not only am I able to give back by doing my service, but I also get back so much for me and my recovery. All of these brought (and are bringing) wonderful rewards and challenges for my recovery to grow as I serve my fellowship. And they have helped keep me stay connected and accountable to my fellowship. At some particularly difficult times in my life I wanted to isolate, but because I was Chair of a meeting at that time I managed to drag my butt into a meeting when I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and I was never sorry I was there by the end of that meeting. That may very well have helped keep me here, and kept me clean, just like when I used to help set out chairs.

Service helped me come into these rooms years ago filled with people which made me nervous, and service still helps me today to stay here and stay connected. I, like everyone, am not perfect and nor is my service, but when I find that the world does not fall apart when I fail, and neither should I carry the whole burden myself, I am reminded that this is a program of “We” and then I don’t feel so alone.

So whether you’re new, or have decades worth of keytags and medallions, there is never a service too small or too big…just get out of yourself and do it! It’s good for everyone!

I truly thank you for letting me be of service.   ~ Julie O.

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