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Why do service work?

How can service work advance my recovery?

People get involved in service work for many different reasons. Some do it because they want to control what is going on in their sphere within CoDA. Others do it because they think that they are the only one who knows what is best for CoDA. Some do it because they feel guilty if they don't contribute. And some actually do it for selfless reasons - because they truly want to contribute to the Fellowship so that more and more codependents can find their way to their own recovery.

Some avoid service work because they are tired of doing so much and don't know how to set appropriate boundaries. Others avoid service work because they have given so much in their life without feeling appreciated or recognized for what they have given. Some say no because they are just learning how to say no and want to practice. There are probably lots of other reasons why people choose either to do or not to do service work.

Service work puts us in a space where, from the start, it is no longer easy to exert our own will because we are working with others. It gives us the opportunity to notice when we are exerting our own will, and to practice letting go and trusting in a Higher Power. It is a visible, tangible, undeniable declaration of our desire to put recovery on the fast track.

One of the things that make service work particularly challenging is that not all people who do service work are willing or able to confront and work through their own issues. As a result there are times that doing service work can be really trying. This gives us another truly valuable opportunity to work our program - it gives us the opportunity to learn to accept others as they are and to find serenity even when circumstances are frustrating.

Service work is NOT about being in control. It is actually about realizing that we are NOT in control and learning how to function without the need for control, while also learning to truly trust that our Higher Power knows and wants what is best for us and for CoDA. Service work IS about being open to new opportunities while also learning how to set and enforce boundaries in a healthy and loving way. It gives us a forum in which to determine what our boundaries really are in a safer environment than most of us are used to.

CoDA Communications Committee (2010)
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