21 Jan Importance of Service by Anna McClelland, LMFT
Why is being in service important during recovery? Why do I have to take out time to focus on someone else’s needs when I do such a bad job of meeting my own? I don’t have the energy to focus on anyone but me right now!
Addicts/recovered addicts are generally so self-focused that they have little room for real and genuine connection with others. They maintain unsatisfying relationships because they cannot provide others with adequate support and connection. A main task in recovery is to learn to have satisfying relationships with others- to increase intimacy. The more satisfying relationships people have, the less suffering they experience. Being of service is a great way to cultivate intimacy.
Addicts feel entitled to feel comfortable at all times, becoming agitated when their wants and needs aren’t being met. If they aren’t obsessing on getting their needs met, they are stuck on trying to figure out why they aren’t being met. The fantasy is that the more the person thinks about themselves, the more they will feel comfortable. This is an illusion. What the addict needs to cultivate is the ability to expand their bandwidth for uncomfortable feelings and decrease their dependency on the self. Being self-consumed is isolating and perpetuates emotional distance from others.
Creating emotional distance from others perpetuates loneliness and suffering. Trust me (even though it feels anti intuitive), it will feel good when you get out of yourself and take a look around. As Steve Errey says in his blog, The 8 Laws of being in service, “Be of service because you want to be enthralled by the world, not because you want the world to be enthralled by you.”