Having grownup in a home controlled by alcoholism, I was able to see my addiction very early into the disease. Thanksgiving, 1976, I told my family that I thought I was an alcoholic. I fully expected everyone to disagree with me because I had not had any outward signs. But, my mother said that she had been afraid of that. So I was stuck with the admission and being the “perfect daughter”, I never drank again and went to AA.
My third month into recovery, I had a radical conversion as described by William James in his The Varieties of Religious Experience. It was instant and I call it ‘”the moment that changed my life.” So I have been trying since 1977 to hear what God’s will is for my life. Many days I have followed my will and called it His. But there has been progress, too.
The main reason that I love helping others is because we are each born with a core of goodness from birth. I also believe that this core contains our creativity which is the source of our joy. I also believe that helping anyone find this creativity is the answer to awakening others to the beauty of himself/herself. Finally, I believe maturity is returning to the joyful, playful child that God created.
Thoughts about helping others from other writers:
1. From Talia Fuhrman (crazysexylife): “Uncovering the Secret to True Happiness”:
Lucky for us, the path to true, authentic happiness, the type of happiness that really sticks with us day after day, can be found simply and actually makes so much sense when understood. Psychologists in the emerging field of positive psychology have been studying the concept of happiness for some time now and have adopted Aristotle’s term “Eudaimonia” or the Good Life, to mean a life in which you employ your strengths and efforts toward a goal or passion that you believe is larger than yourself. Now this is a type of happiness worth talking about.
Eudaimonic motives include pursuing personal growth, development of your potential, achieving personal excellence and contributing to the lives of others. Psychologists have found that these types of Eudaimonic activities were the ones that led to the most happiness, rewarding experiences and life satisfaction over time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need research to tell me that helping other people feels good. Naturally, pleasurable, comforting and enjoyable activities have their place, yet they are no match for having a strong life purpose and using our abilities to enhance the lives of others.
As a lover of shopping and a gourmet meal, I don’t plan on giving up pleasurable activities any time soon, yet the next time I feel down in the dumps, I might just drive to my local animal shelter or use my cooking skills to prepare healthy meals for my friends instead of drowning myself in coconut milk, butter-pecan ice cream (well, maybe I just might do both). Seriously, I have noticed that moments of gloominess really do drop significantly the more we perform selfless acts and practice reaching our potential with meaningful activities. I wish you moments of great joy and authentic happiness throughout the holiday season and beyond.
The following writer, luluberoo, writes about her happiness at being able to help others:
2. From luluberoo (Just to be is a blessing): “How it Happened”:
Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, writes in How Good Do We Have to Be, “There is a wholeness about the man or woman who has learned that he or she is strong enough to go through tragedy and survive, the person who can lose someone through death, through divorce, through estrangement, and still feel like a complete person…when we have lost part of ourselves and can continue rolling through life and appreciating it, we will have achieved a wholeness…”
After spending many years fragmented as a result of my son’s addiction, today I’m whole; content, secure, loved, compassionate, healthy. Damn, I’m happy! Good for me, but not good blogging fodder.
Of course, I took action to become whole; religion, friendships, blogging, Alanon, helping others. It’s a unique, personal journey for everyone. Many people struggle to find completeness, always feeling like the missing piece in a broken relationship.
Everyone to their own timeline. There is no schedule.
Now the years behind me outnumber the years ahead. Statistics say if we live to 65, we will most likely survive to 85. Looking at 25 years left (I’m optimistic!) urges me to work enthusiastically, show kindness, give and receive love without condition, smile at strangers. Feeling whole gives me the energy to attempt an uncompromising life.
So many trails to walk, so many full moons above, so many hugs to give. So many bedtime stories for my granddaughter, prayers of praise to offer up, books to read, riverbanks to explore. Knowing every act of decency changes the world for the better.
“Teach me to feel joy as deeply as I feel sorrow” Psalm 90:15