I often hear people say that AA and other Twelve Step-based fellowships are selfish programs. I agree that the Twelve Steps are about taking care of one’s self. But taking care of one’s self doesn't necessarily mean that we are selfish.

A man once went into a private audience with the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. "Rebbe, please help me! I need a blessing for my health. I also need a blessing for Parnassa (livelihood). And I also want to have a better relationship with G‑d. Please bless me, Rebbe." Rabbi Schneur Zalman responded: "You list the many things you need. What about the things that you are needed for?"

We should definitely focus on ourselves, if we want to achieve spiritual growth. But we don't have to be selfish about it. Instead of seeking to get more, we should look for ways to be useful to G‑d and to others. Instead of looking out for ways to expand our presence in the world, we have to look for how to be of service to G‑d's plan for His world.

"Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to G‑d and the people about us." - Big Book of AA, page 77

We need to learn to be selflessly selfish.