If you’ve lived through drug and alcohol addiction treatment, you’ve done so thanks to two very important – and very distinct – factors: firstly, you have individually taken the steps necessary to effect personal growth and enact recovery; and secondly, you have been aided by a support system of family, addiction treatment professionals, and recovering addicts and alcoholics.

Again, that’s recovering addicts and alcoholics.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, very wisely foresaw the power of fellowship in achieving recovery from substance abuse. In fact, in AA’s Legacy of Service, Bill W. spoke of the importance of service, stating, “Our Twelfth Step – carrying the message – is the basic service that the A.A. Fellowship gives; this is our principle aim and the main reason for our existence.”

Simply put, recovery isn’t just about the change you see in yourself: it’s about the change you see in the world.

Go Beyond the Addiction Treatment You Received

You may have come far from that moment when you first decided you needed help, but it’s important to remember that, beyond all the addiction treatment centers and the 12-step meetings, beyond the recovery for which you’ve strived with the unwavering support of others, your work is not done. No, whether you realize it or not, you have a responsibility: to carry a message of hope, a message of recovery, a message of fellowship and the strength it provides. It is important that you take what you’ve learned and pass it on to the next group of addicted individuals so that they, too, can move forward toward a better life with a more promising future.

Such is the basis of the community of recovery.

This fellowship can exist only if its message is passed on from person to person, addict to addict, alcoholic to alcoholic, struggling neighbor to struggling neighbor. And because your story was so affected by addiction treatment, it has become a part of something greater, something that you are responsible for nurturing and sharing with others who are just starting to break free from the darkness.