In Step Twelve most of us believe we understand to a degree what the Principle of Service is. Though do we really? To often we believe that this Principle is simply carrying the message of the Program to other alcoholics, addicts, gamblers, co-dependents, or whatever group we belong to. My friend Chuck C. believed that this Principle applies to every area of life. In fact he built a very successful business by honestly asking how he could be of Service to his clients. If he could not he would say ado and move on to someone he could Serve.
So, what does the Principle of Service in our daily lives really mean? Dictionary meanings of Service that would apply are, a helpful activity. It is also a provider of maintenance. It is also being of Service at work for a person or company or employer. In the dictionary I am using there are thirty-seven definitions. I don’t want to go on from it. I’m sure you get the point. Being of Service is a way of being as much as an action.
To me it simply means being useful. So if what I have to say or do in not helpful in the situation it is of no use to it. As we know even a spiritual or religious talk is called Service. And those that minister those Services are said to have had a calling to Serve. This is exactly the way I feel about my constant study of the Twelve Steps. I also believe that a life of Service is one where we simply try to be helpful (when asked) where ever we are. Even driving in traffic if someone pushes to be ahead of me I am willing to give way—not fighting anyone or anything.
I sometimes laugh when I am holding the door for someone and four or five others push there way through. Oh and when I do something like this I do not believe I am truly being of Service if I expect anything from them—like thank you. In fact doing something and needing others gratitude is one of the many signs of co-dependency. It really demonstrates a selfish attitude. Truly being of Service is only accomplished when it is given unconditionally. However, like everything in life there are degrees. When we work at our job for instance we do expect to get paid. But when we do our job well or at least better than some slacker in the office, we should not expect more than our pay—we are paid to work.
It is our attitude of Service that eventually has our life improve greatly. We may not think it is being noticed but leave it to our real employer to advance us.