For me, service has always played a key role in my recovery. So many people in recovery get caught up in self and they get stuck in their head — even me. When I’m in my head and can’t get out, one of the many things that I do is go be of service to somebody and/or the community. I feel like I have always had a good heart but lost some of those tendencies when I was using. Now I have developed healthy patterns and skills that have gotten me back to a place of giving. Nothing is more self-gratifying that when I can help someone else. I always want to help people and reach out, and Northbound has given me the opportunity to not only help via their program, but also branch out on my own and extend my opportunity to serve others.
Both Northbound and myself have built a strong partnership with the Los Angeles Mission and supporters Kirk and Anne Douglas. I love doing anything service-related for the Mission, and once a month we take a group of clients from Northbound to join us at the mission. We want them to know what its like to be on Skid Row, and learn how service can humble them and keep them from ever getting to that point. They join me in doing anything from cooking meals for the homeless to handing out clothes and literature. For me, this form of service in particular is priceless. It makes me feel grateful for what I have and realize that my problems are quality compared to what they could be.
At Northbound, the treatment is different. Part of my job and the job of the team is to be of service to the clients. I visit the clients over at detox and get the opportunity to sit and talk with all of them, even the clients who absolutely hate what they are going through. I get to share my truth and experience and let them know that it’s okay to feel the way they do. Not only do I get to do this because I like to be of service, but also because it’s the way Northbound approaches treatment. I remember what it was like for me when I went to rehab, and I want to make our clients as comfortable as possible. I will take them out for coffee, or teach them how to surf, paddleboard or wakeboard. Everyone (including myself) at Northbound has adopted this approach, and it keeps me and the rest of the team tuned into constantly serving others. Northbound has really set the bar in terms of providing cutting edge treatment to young adults, and allowing me to engage in that has helped grow my passion for helping out others even more.
My background in service and volunteering has encouraged me to branch out and start up a new project that I am really excited about. I can’t give out too many details just yet, but this new venture of mine will embody exactly what I am trying to accomplish by getting connected to others. When it comes to addiction, its important to be serious and raise awareness, but also have fun while doing it. I am ready to expand my ability to serve others to a much bigger platform, where the topic of addiction is no longer looked at as being taboo, but an open forum that can be both serious yet fun at the same time.
I look forward to sharing more of my upcoming venture with you guys and am excited to get moving on my biggest service project yet!