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To be of maximum usefulness…


November 2013

I was inspired to start this blog by a fellow with whom I’ve run on a regular basis.  He’s an old-timer, ex-special forces, and is one tough old man.  He and his awesome wife have opened up their house every Saturday for years to a rag-tag bunch of ex-drunks so we can have a place to be ourselves – to feed off of each other’s passion to be clean, sober, decent, fit people.

My friend is being of maximum usefulness to his fellows.

My goal, from the start, wasn’t to reach so many “likes” or hits, though these are nice and well appreciated.  My goal is to be of maximum service to my fellows.  I am a part of the local speaking circuit and I like that just fine but the truth is, I like writing much more.  I don’t think on my feet as well as I’d like but put me in front of a keyboard and give me a half an hour to write a post and I’m much better.

A constant goal for recovering people is finding out how we can best serve others.  This can be in the form of simply opening a meeting and making coffee, it can be working with new people (some of us have more patience than others), the list of seemingly small items one can volunteer for is infinite but can make a huge difference in someone else’s life – but here’s the beautiful secret:  When I volunteer, the biggest difference I notice is in me.

There are three places that I know of where you won’t find a sad face in the bunch:
1.  At the starting line of a running race
2.  At the starting line of a cycling sportive
3.  On a volunteer at a soup kitchen

There is a reason that recovering people are pushed to service from the start and it’s quite simple:  When I’m helping others I can’t stay trapped in self-pity.  I can’t be self-centered.  Helping others gets me out of any rut I’m in when self-seeking goes out the door.  Just like running or cycling, when I get out of that little box, when I can stop that hamster wheel in my head from spinning and throw in a little bit of “feel good”, my attitude and outlook on life will improve.

This is one of those things that I highly recommend you don’t take my word on…  Give it a try, I’d be willing to bet my lunch that you come away feeling a lot better for it.


  1. sueslaght says:

    Excellent post. I agree completely. Having volunteered at our local Food Bank weekly for years it keeps me grounded. That life is far bigger than me. Thank you for your wise words.

  2. Kecia says:

    I couldn’t agree more!! I’ve volunteered at our local Thanksgiving meal (served to anyone in the community who doesn’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving), been on the start line of a running race and been on the start line of a cycling event. Every one of these experiences has provided me with much joy and has made me a much better person. Thanks for the reminder of the power of paying it forward!! 🙂

  3. neonspndx says:

    What a great post!

  4. Mark says:

    Thanks. Your posts on sobriety have been helping me a lot lately.

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