May 12, 2011

Selfish Program. Really?

Smitty here and learning.  

There are those that say everything people do has a selfish motive. For many years I've heard it said that our  Twelve Step work is also selfish.  I always and ever find myself questioning this, and not only because  at every meeting we talk of service and we read Step Twelve... "we tried to carry this message to others..."

I am not alone in questioning this program mantra.  For I  know this truth: When we are reluctant to serve the group, or shy away too much from sharing ourselves with those in need, we may find ourselves frustrated in our own program learning. Why is it that we are often urged to share our program with others who need its reassurance, its comfort and our personal concern? I think it is not just because it is the right thing to do.  It is because such open sharing makes us into better people.  We come to benefit fully from our program's promises, when we give away our good results to others, because thereby our hearts are open to receive.    This kind of service to the group is constructive selfishness. Maybe this is the more complete understanding of selfishness that our founders meant.

So let us reconsider our thinking on a "much maligned" word. I like to consider these words (from a Sister Program) about "selfishness."

"The highest form of selfishness is to give of ourselves, so that our understanding and confidence in the program are broadened and deepened. The richest reward is to give without need of receiving anything in return."

In our program we learn a spiritual truth that changes lives: We canNOT truly receive until we have learned how to give freely.

"There are those who have little and give it all. They are the believers in life and their coffers are never empty."  Kahlil Gibran

Inspired and adapted from ODAT, April 30


  1. When I first got here it was foreign to me to think of myself first. I couldn't see how in my caretaking and pleasing I was really trying to buy love or at least self-worth. The program helped me see I can love and take care of myself first. It is then that I can give freely and with love and without expectations.

    Until I could start to love myself I gave a lot of advice instead of letting the person find their own way. I was still saving people.

    Luckily we don't have to be well before we help others. Our experience can give someone the courage to go on.

  2. Thanks for keeping me honest and balancing my "take" on the ODAT reading!

    Yes, the other side of the coin IS that we need to love ourselves before we are able to give freely, no strings (expectations) attached. Glad you stopped by!

  3. I used to be selfish in giving, hoping to get some strokes from others. I do my best to examine my motives today.


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~