“If you want to keep it, you’ve got to give it away.”
This is one of the slogans that I heard quoted at meetings earlier on – when I first started to attend 12 step meetings. But it didn’t make any sense until I had completed my own 12 steps.
This week, I wanted to take a look at why we must give back.
The 12th step states: “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts who still suffer…” It has everything to do with the spiritual awakening that we received as a result of doing these steps.
I’ve laid out the reasons why by using the acronym ‘G.I.V.E.’
Gratitude: One of the reasons we give back is out of gratitude. We have experienced a miracle as a result of the 12 steps! Don’t you think that ‘giving back to the fellowship’ is an appropriate response for the grace we received?
Integrity: Giving back is the sign of wholeness. It also denotes honesty; but more than that – integrity carries with it the sense of completeness. Giving back is the final step to our own healing and complete wholeness.
Voluntary: It is important to remember that our giving back is not out of a sense of duty or obligation. There is no “you should” or “you ought” when it comes to the 12th step. Many a 12-stepper has been hampered by the thought that they might have to help others. No one has to give back; it is all done on a volunteer basis.
Encouragement: If it had not been for the encouragement and selfless giving of others in the fellowship, I wouldn’t have reached any recovery myself. The slogan “You alone must do it, but you must not do it alone” is so true. If not for the encouragement of others I would still be stuck in my addiction.
Don’t forget to G.I.V.E. It’s all part of your recovery!