The Value of Our Communities


Table of Contents

Almost every human alive is part of a community. We can define community in multiple ways. The most common meaning is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Community can also mean “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” These two definitions often appear together. Whether it’s our roommates or immediate family, we have our own small community, but it scales up from there — all the way up. We have our work community, our city, our state, our country, and finally, our planet. Community stretches from the smallest to the largest scales in our lives. Whether or not we like to think we’re a lone wolf, pretty much everyone is part of a community.

No man is an island, no matter how much we may think differently. Even if you never leave the house, every interaction with another person is a relationship, and every relationship unites us to a community. But here’s the beautiful thing about community: it needs us just as much as we need it. We all need each other. This is what makes the world work. We’re all in this together, on this giant rock floating through outer space, and our communities are what make life liveable.

Community Is Important

Community is vital for many reasons. Our mental and emotional health depends in large part on being able to interact with others. We share things with them, laugh, talk, and give and receive help and advice. Without a community, we would rarely have anyone around to help us. More importantly, we would have nobody to help out. Alcoholics and addicts understand the seriousness of this. Without people around to be of service to, our recovery and our happiness are in jeopardy.

The people around us are the people we love, learn from, give to, and share our lives with. No matter how big or small our community is, it is integral to the quality of our life. Without people, we have mere survival, and living becomes very hard to do. Alcoholics and addicts can see the importance of community very easily. We can look at our recovery. Could we have worked the 12-Steps and found recovery without our sponsor? Without meetings? Without friends and mentors and people to serve? Recovery would be nearly impossible without community.

Community Is Give And Take

By default, if there’s nobody around, then there’s no one to give anything to. Nor is there anyone to provide us with anything when we’re in need. The reciprocity inherent in a community is how civilization got started. We help each other survive, thrive, and find love, joy, and purpose. We all need help sometimes, and the community ensures that we’re all in it together. There are always some who need help and some who can help out. We all take our turns being on each side of the equation. Again, we can see this in our recovery. How often have we been able to help someone out somehow, and then a week or two later, they were there for us when we needed someone? That is reciprocity.

Community Is Responsibility

This word may sound terrible to some, but in reality, responsibility is the key to freedom. Only to the degree that we accept our responsibilities can we be free. Like with our recovery, it is only our responsibility to work the 12-Steps, go to meetings, and be of service to others. The recovery that results from these things is the responsibility of the 12-Steps and our higher power. Everybody has responsibilities, and in a community, these can become wonderful things to have.

We are responsible to others, not for how they perceive us or for monitoring them, but for how we can be of service to them. Our responsibility within a community is right there in the Big Book. We are to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and fellow human beings. It’s our responsibility and our purpose, and embracing it can change our whole lives. It can change us.

Community Is Freedom

When life stops being about getting all we can and having all we can and focusing on all our own problems all the time, something incredible happens. We become free to live and be ourselves. This happens when we accept the responsibility we have to others we share our community with. Our focus becomes being better so that we can help them better, and our lives change. The book Alcoholics Anonymous puts it like this: “That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.”

Sounds pretty great, right? We couldn’t do it without our communities. For alcoholics and addicts like us, the only real way we can begin to experience this and act on our responsibility to our communities is to work the 12-Steps with a sponsor, go to meetings, and seek opportunities to be of service. Doing this will, of course, allow us to get and stay in recovery. But working the 12-Steps will also help us learn how to live a way of life that is increasingly wonderful and fulfilling.

Here at Jaywalker Lodge, we fully embrace the community aspect of recovery. We get well together, and we go through all the ups and downs of life together. We understand that community is part of what makes recovery possible. We need each other to work the 12-Steps, go to meetings with, share with, and be of service. Recovery would be empty and practically impossible without every member of our community. The Jaywalker Lodge Alumni are pretty fond of the community aspect of recovery, too. They join us for meals, meetings, and important events where all Jaywalkers can come together to serve the community. We don’t just trudge the road of happy destiny together at Jaywalker Lodge — we do what we can to use our recovery to make people’s lives better. This is just part of what makes life in recovery and within the recovery community so incredible, joyful, and meaningful. If you’re ready to become part of the Jaywalker Lodge community, call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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