10-22-2015 Being of Service

UCE Addictions Ministry
October 22 Agenda

Opening Words

Maybe an insistence on community can help balance the cult of the individual seeker, and the idolatry and narcissism that this search can sometimes foster. It compels us to ask the question, either on our way into the cave or on our way back out: What have you learned that you can give?
Something happens, is made possible, in the human heart when we are told we belong. It is something underneath language, something embodied. Belonging to a tribe teaches us how to belong to all humanity, to all creation.
But it is not so easy to belong. Because it involves a deep compromise, and we can feel that it corrupts the “purity” of our aloneness, we resist belonging. Yet this is the way of the world. We belong—to our people, to all life—whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not.
-Joshua Boettiger
http://parabola.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Alone_with_Others_Article.pdf

Welcome

Welcome to the UCE Addictions Ministry Group. We are a group of people who have
struggled with our own addictions and the addictions of others. We hope to struggle well
together as we work towards finding sanity, peace, love, and healthy relationships in our
lives. We will strive to spend our time together in a spirit of love embracing the inherent
worth and dignity of all. We accept and respect the varied paths that our members will
take to find sanity, peace, love, and healthy relationships. We covenant to to be together
in a confidential, safe environment where we can explore our paths and our stories.

Our Relational Covenant

▪ Embrace and practice deep listening
▪ We will strive to be respectful of our limited time and try to keep our comments
focused on the issues that have brought us here.
▪ Experience the group in a non-judgmental frame of mind
▪ Build trust within the group
▪ Confidentiality about specifics shared or discussed is imperative for our
success
▪ We each take full responsibility for what we share or say, recognizing
retractions are acceptable as well
▪ Meetings will always start and end on time

Check-in and Processing of Check-in

Discussion

Being of Service

Altruistic acts
Being altruistic means helping others or doing good deeds without focusing on recognition or reward for yourself. Even though the point of altruism is focusing on others, this type of behavior can go a long way toward reducing stress. The act of giving can activate neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain and nervous system) associated with positive feelings, decreasing anxiety and worry, and making people feel stronger and more energetic.
In addition, altruism decreases stress by virtue of the outward focus (much like socialization). Focusing on and helping others in need (especially those who are less fortunate than you), can provide you with a sense of perspective on how fortunate you are. You can spend more time being thankful for the things you have (e.g., good health, adequate food, money, safe place to sleep, etc.) and less time pining for things that you feel you lack (e.g., expensive t.v., large home, fancy car, etc.). Helping others with their problems can also help you gain a more positive perspective on the things in life that are truly causing you stress.
Altruistic individuals have better life adjustment overall and tend to see life as more meaningful. In addition, altruism is associated with better marital relationships, a decreased sense of hopelessness, less depression, increased physical health, and enhanced self-esteem. Altruism also tends to neutralize negative emotions that affect immune, endocrine and cardiovascular function.
If you choose to incorporate altruistic acts into your stress management plan, it's important to select activities that fit with your personality, financial situation, and time budget. Otherwise, these generous acts may start to take on the tone of stressful obligations and start to increase, rather than decrease, your perceived stress levels. For instance, making a donation of money or time to your favorite charity, taking a meal (or a gift card for a meal) to a family with a new baby or someone who is ill, extending the time on someone's parking meter, paying a toll, offering to babysit for a new mother or father, or provide respite to a caregiver who needs a short break to recharge can all be way to help others.
Harry Mills, Ph.D., Natalie Reiss, Ph.D. and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.
https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/socialization-and-altruistic-acts-as-stress-relief/

Other links:
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/staying_sober_through_service
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/altruism/definition#what_is
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008319/

Closing Words

Small change, small wonders – these are the currency of my endurance and ultimately of my life.
—Barbara Kingsolver

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