Losing yourself in the service to others
I got to experience this first hand this past week as I traveled with Jaywalker Solutions to Boulder, Utah for a week of service work. Solutions has been working with “The Grand Canyon Trust” for the past 3 years. The Grand Canyon Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Colorado Plateau. Our specific group project on this trip was to build fences for private land owners around their property in order to fence out cattle that are grazed on the public lands surrounding their property. This seems like a medial task, but hauling 150 lb. aspen tree trunks at 9,500 feet of elevation is no walk in the park. The first fence we worked on was a log fence, so it required a great deal of communication and team work – the exact opposite of my actions during active addiction. Our struggle as drug addicts/alcoholics is to take our hands off the wheel, and let our higher power direct our lives. This trip showed me first hand how much easier life can be when I surrender my will and life over to my higher power on a daily basis.
The first morning of work was very similar to my life during active addiction. Each one of us was trying to run the show. We each had our own ideas of how the project should work, and what we thought each other should do. We were all frustrated and exhausted, and progress was slow. After lunch the trip leaders assigned us to teams of two, each with a different task. Being the self-centered control freak that I am, I obviously was not pleased when he told my partner and me that we would be hauling logs down the hill instead of building the fence. I was not happy, but I complied with the instructions. Everyone did their assigned job, and we began working together. We finished twice the amount of fence in half the time. We were a finely-tuned, fence-building machine.
During active addiction my life mirrored the first morning of work. I was constantly struggling to run my life, and never asking for help. This way of life eventually brought me to my knees. Jaywalker taught me to turn my will and life over to the care of a higher power, and to ask for help when I need it. As a result of doing this daily, my life now seems to be running more like that smooth, productive afternoon of work, instead of the frustrating, unproductive morning of work. Life is no longer a struggle, and I can see progress.
One year ago, I would have never imagined myself being able to take a camping trip to the mountains of Utah to do volunteer service work without drugs and alcohol. Today I am grateful that I am in a place where I can be of service to others.
Click on the picture above for more pictures of our trip!