Are you a giver or a taker? It’s a question I never gave much thought to in my life until I finally made my way into the rooms of recovery from addiction back in September of 2007 when I began to see for the first time that I was clearly a taker and always had been up to that point.
Active serious addicts of any kind are usually takers more than not. They constantly look for the angle in everything they do for anyone else. I.E. There are typically strings attached and hidden agendas to any of their actions for another. And oh, how I know that pattern so well.
I once would help a person with a favor they asked of me, but at the same time I’d store it away in the back of my mind until I really needed something from them, and when I did, I’d quickly remind the individual of my “generous” help to them from however long ago.
Then there’s that other form of takers who hijack conversations during social times such as in group gatherings or at meals dined out. They constantly like to be the center of attention instead of being a good listener and allowing for others to be the main focus of conversation. That was me as well, consistently trying to steal the spotlight and thunder from all in attendance in social settings, solely to feel more important in my life.
I mustn’t forget to mention another type of taker as well, that being one who frequently asks for handouts and favors, yet claim their busy or broke or have some other when something is asked of them. Sadly, here too, as an active addict I was definitely this, placing my needs always first and disappearing when a friend or loved one needed anything.
Essentially, a taker is no more than a user. A user of everyone’s energy, time, money, etc. I.E. A drain on everyone’s spirit. Something I just couldn’t see that I had become until I worked on the 12 Steps to become more selfless than selfish.
Over the past 12 years since I first walked in the doors of recovery and got myself a sponsor, a full 12 years after living as a dry addict, I’ve slowly done my best to chip away at that taker part of me, doing my best to become more of a giver.
Today, I rather enjoy sitting in conversations with loved ones, letting them become the focus, all while showing them how much I care about what they need to talk about. I also regularly like to help others when they ask for favors and do my best to never ask for anything in return, save the exception of possibly asking for something to eat if the favor happens to occur during a mealtime. And I absolutely am no longer that person who places my needs first above everyone else’s, as I have found a much greater appreciation making myself second.
While there are some areas I’m still chipping away it that I deem I’m still being a taker of sorts, like in my frequent need for human touch and hearing positive feedback, I think I can safely say I’ve become more of a giver, enjoying my desire to help others, enjoying volunteering in the world of recovery and outside the rooms as well, and enjoying being there more for others than myself.
The bottom line I learned along the way on my journey from addiction to recovery is that as an untreated addict I was always going to remain a taker in this world, draining it of whatever I could to survive, regardless of how it affected another. To become a giver, I had to turn my will and my life over to the care of a Higher Power, as in doing so, I discovered a genuine willingness to give back to the world I took so freely from for far too long, and the longer I’ve remained in the rooms, turning my will over to God, the more that willingness to be a giver has grown greater…
So, what are you? A giver or a taker?
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson