By James Boner, Alumni Coordinator
Are you being of maximum service to those around you? Service is key to maintaining your sobriety as well as growing in your recovery. The big book tells us, “Our very lives…depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs” (BB 20). We have a daily reprieve from a death sentence and we are in a constant fight for our lives each and every day. Sometimes it is hard to get out of our heads and out of self-pity and resentment and instead think about others. There are often many opportunities to do this but they are often overlooked due to the hardships and stresses that life brings. We often are so busy and wrapped up in ourselves that we do not realize that we have opportunities all around us constantly to be of service to others and help them out.
As addicts and alcoholics, the root of our troubles is selfishness and self-centeredness. We are so busy being wrapped in ourselves, our little plans and designs, as well as being caught up in our own heads that we do not take the time to think of anyone else. We are only out to get from others whatever they can give to us. It even says in the big book that we must be rid of this selfishness. If we do not, it will kill us! It will bring us back to the very thing that so many of us have now gained freedom from. Being of service is the way we get out of ourselves. When we are able to take the time out of our day to help someone else or help out in any way we can, we make those spiritual deposits to combat the low spots that come with life. Like it says in the big book, “For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead.” (BB 14:6). Service is an essential part of your recovery journey and it is one of the main spiritual principles that we all have to live by. There is no feeling quite like getting out of yourself and being of service to others!
Being of service does not mean that you have to do some amazingly huge service project that takes up your whole day or dedicate your life to the Peace Corps. Service opportunities show up in many different ways and at various times in our lives. It can be something as simple as truly listening to someone who is going through a hard time and being there for them, picking up some trash that somebody left out, wiping down the toilet seat after you use it, refilling the coffee pot for the next person, wiping down tables after a meeting or taking out the trash, giving someone a compliment or some encouragement, H&Is, and of course volunteer work. The Alumni Program is here to support you in your dedication to service. Whether you are looking for an H&I or if you are looking for a place to volunteer, WE GOT YOU! We have at least one monthly service opportunity, as well, which is a great way to have fun and fellowship, but also to help others and get out of ourselves. It is a 2-for1 special courtesy of your loving Alumni Team! So please let us know how we can help you build this vital part of your recovery and help you to enlarge this spiritual principle that is so vital for your sobriety. Please come out to our next service opportunity and join us! We would love to see you there as we make some memories, share some laughter and smiles, and put smiles on the faces of those we are helping! So who here likes to help others??!!
We are waiting for you to join our Facebook group Infinite Power, weekly free boxing classes, and our brand-new Infinite Book Club. Need more information? Contact us at 512-200-4925 or 512-643-3732.
“I started drinking when I was 13 years old, coming from a home with alcoholic parents and addict siblings. I am not only an alcoholic, but also an adult child of alcoholics.
I grew up in Southern California and married my childhood sweetheart in 1986 when I was just 20 years old, and we moved to Texas in 2006. Before I moved to Texas, I didn’t think I had a problem with drinking. Drinking on weekends was the norm. Hanging out with friends and going to parties and concerts was a big part of my life. It started with having a “few” beers, then moved on to wine and hard liquor as I got older. I had it under control–or so I thought.
In 2012 I had an alcohol related seizure, but still–I thought I had my drinking under control. In 2016, my husband lost his job and I, coincidentally, quit my job the same day, not knowing he had just lost his. I was sick and tired, and my hands were shaky, so it was hard for me to work, as perfect dexterity is needed to do my job. I continued to drink heavily for the next 6 months, as we prepared to sell our house and move to a smaller more affordable one, since we were both unemployed. It wasn’t easy to do while under the influence and we likely lost out on making a fair amount on the sale. We moved into our new home in 2017 and nothing changed. We continued drinking and alienated ourselves from friends and family.
When the pandemic hit, our drinking increased tenfold. I was always sick, shaky, or drinking to stop the shakes. I was tired of being sick and tired, and tired of only leaving the house to go get my alcohol. That’s when I decided it was time to take care of myself.
I called my family and told them I was checking myself into rehab; and my daughter helped me find Infinite Recovery. I thank God every day; and although I was terrified to go, I know now I should have done it a lot sooner! I missed out on a lot of my kid’s activities due to drinking. I was there, but not present, and that is one of my biggest regrets.
Today, thanks to Infinite and AA I have the love and respect of my family, am able to spend quality time with my daughters, and am very grateful for all the support.”
April P.Sobriety Date – 09/11/20
What Are We Up To?
Our alumni participated in the Family Support Program Workshop to share how fun and fellowship have supported their recovery journey. A huge thank you to Caleb, Anna, Caroline, Justin, Stephanie, and Skye!
This month, we dedicated a few hours to the Round Rock Serving Center. We helped with their food pantry and thrift store. The alumni sorted books, stocked the pantry, and rearranged furniture.
Ready to help others? Below, you can sign up for the upcoming service work or contact us to find something in your community.
Learning & Growing
AN INTRODUCTION TO EMOTION REGULATION, MINDFULNESS, AND RADICAL ACCEPTANCE by Tricia Newman, LCDC, Infinite Recovery Program Counselor
How much easier is life when you are not stuck in your head, having conversations with yourself, or venting/gossiping with others? DBT skills can help with emotion regulation by being mindful and more accepting of others and situations that are outside of your control. There are many skills! Following is an introduction to Emotion Regulation, Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance.
Emotion regulation helps to understand emotions, the behaviors that accompany the emotions and when to act on emotions. It is being able to have some control over emotions, the ability to stay clear headed and focus on solutions. It can involve rethinking situations or getting a new perspective. Emotion regulation helps to recognize the thoughts and events that lead up to emotion dysregulation by being mindful of thoughts and behaviors.
Mindfulness is staying present and, in the moment, as opposed to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Keeping in mind that what has happened in the past cannot be changed and it helps to be present when thinking about the future so that you do not miss opportunities and can make
decisions with a clear mind. Some practices to improve mindfulness can include meditation, spot check inventories and daily practices such as doing a nightly review or keeping a journal. Once you are able to be cognizant of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors you can take action to change them. Many times, you will find that there is a lack of acceptance around that which is out of your control is leading to emotion dysregulation.
Radical Acceptance is an effective way to work with distorted thoughts and be in your Wise Mind, being more responsive to yourself, others and situations that come up. It is recognizing that which you have control over, as well as what you don’t. You do have control over your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Radical Acceptance is not resignation, agreeing or being passive. It is about focusing on what you have control over and taking positive action as opposed to reacting. Are you able to see the similarity between Radical Acceptance and the Serenity prayer?
You might notice that DBT skills and 12-step tools work together. If you look at the purpose of daily practices, you will see that both are tools to work toward changing maladaptive coping strategies and replacing with more healthy ones. Daily practice using mindfulness and acceptance of that which is out of your control will lead to a more purposeful life. Remember it takes practice to rewire your neural pathways so that healthy skills become the habit.
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