Ever since my mid-teens, I’ve been a volunteer. Even when I was at the depths of my drinking and drugging, I did volunteer work. No doubt I made mistakes, sometimes because I spent the night before – and into the wee hours – drinking and getting high. But I would also have made some mistakes because we all do …
We’ve recently moved back to a community where we lived before. As usual, I have started volunteering again. One of the big upsides of volunteering is that people really care about what you are doing together. But one of the big challenges is that people of different experience and skills – and interest in actually doing the work – are drawn to an organization.
For the group I’m involved with, it has been a painful day of too many e-mails and too little getting accomplished. In my using days, I would grab a beer and a toke as soon as I could after today’s frustrations. Now I have the patience to take a deep breath, to think of the common purposes we have in the group, and to remember that I want to be sober today.
Despite the frustrations, I am grateful for the chance work with others to make a difference, and the pleasure of volunteering with some people who share my values, encourage each other, know how to make suggestions, and say thanks. Big thanks back at’cha!