“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!