Posted on April 26, 2011
President, Fountain House
Walter, a Fountain House member, taught me a great lesson about responsibility. He bemoans the members who come to Fountain House simply to access services - assistance with a job search, a school application, Social Security benefits, etc.
While he understands that sometimes people just need a little help, he knows that, in and of themselves, those things are not enough. He feels as though every member is responsible for every other member, and each needs to do something to further the other’s goals.
The act of contributing to the larger community is how recovery begins. If someone helps you apply for a job or Social Security, it improves your situation, but it also makes you feel a little more helpless. On the other hand, helping someone else improve their situation makes you feel better about yourself.
People need to feel needed and relied upon. This is the irony of the social practice at Fountain House: a staff worker performing a helping act does not signal that a member is recovering; it is when a member performs a helping act that his or her recovery is underway.