The most significant revelation I’ve had in recovery (at least, so far) is the notion that selflessness does not exist. When I help another person, even if no one knows about it, I receive a payoff. It’s not the same as hitting a jackpot on a slot machine; the reward is much more subtle. Assigning selfish motives to selfless acts seems cynical. But as an addict, it’s an invaluable technique. If I have a decision to make, whether it’s substantial or minor, the deciding factor must be what’s best for my sobriety. The selfish desire to stay sober will normally precede a selfless act. My actions determine how I feel about myself, and how I feel about myself determines if I will relapse. Of course, the opposite is also true. I pay a price for abhorrent behavior, even if no one knows about it. Before recovery, I did not believe selflessness had a reward. I was wrong.