The Search Committee asked a number of AA’s who are active in service about their experiences and what service work as done for them. If you are thinking about Service Work, here is what some AA’s have discovered.
1. What is your number one reason for getting involved in service?
– “It is the one place out of the 3 legacies of AA that I seem to learn the most to help deal with what goes on in my life outside of AA,( the workplace, the public, home front) , and to know that I’m doing something to help AA live on for the next generation.”
– “I feel that service work is essential to keeping AA alive and viable — I want AA to be there always for others, so I must give of my time to make that happen'”
– “My sponsor and old-timers ‘suggestions'”
-“I got involved in service partially for selfish reasons. Commitment to service and being held accountable to keep that commitment, keeps me coming to AA and keeps me sober. I have several jobs which I hold in AA groups such as secretary, temporary sponsor, chairperson, and raffle ticket sales person. I still hold those positions but wanted to do something different.
One night a week, Wednesdays, I really could not find a meeting which fit my schedule and that I liked a whole lot. When I heard about the temporary contact program at the Farmum it sounded like the perfect opportunity. I could be of service and still get some kind of AA into my Wednesday nights. I thought the Farnum would be good to keep myself reminded of where I came from.”
-“To be an active part of the AA community and contribute in some small way to the recovery of others.”
-“To stay sober”
-“It is our Primary Purpose, give freely what ye freely received.”
-“To become more actively involved in AA and to support the district and AA as a whole in any way I can. Too many AA’s take from the program and give nothing back. I would guess –or hope- that it is from a lack of understanding of what it takes to keep AA a viable organization. It is the same reason that many give only a dollar or not even that in meetings”
2. Do you consider service to be an integral part of your recovery?
-“When I am doing service work, I have a strong sense of belonging, of doing something that matters, and of fellowship. All that makes me feel good, and while I hope I’m doing something to help another alcoholic, I know that I’m doing something to help me gain another day’s sobriety.”
– “Service is very important to my recovery because there is something I can’t really explain, other than the good feeling I get, even when I may not have originally wanted to involve myself. There’s just something very spiritual about it. If I would had let fear be the excuse for not volunteering for service work I would not have ever gotten involved. Maybe it has something to do with conquering the fear and asking for help. Maybe it’s working with and helping others.”
-“Yes, it’s important to give back time because not many do. In my experience… very few give back in the form of service seem to go back out.”
-“When I am not being of service to other I am often focusing too much on myself. The focus could be on good or bad things but either way it consumes my head and all I can think about is me me me. Service keeps me humble and keeps me grateful. Since I have heard a grateful heart will never drink and I know how to stay grateful then I should know how to stay sober.”
-“Absolutely. Service provides me with an opportunity to not only help others who need help, but it gives me an opportunity to learn and grow.”
-“Yes – It keeps me in focus with what the AA program is and does for its members and keeps me in close contact with other members with the same beliefs and concerns for the program”
3. Do you believe that the service legacy of AA is crucial for the survival of AA?
– “Absolutely. I may not have thought that way when I first got sober, but the longer I stay sober, I can see how important communication through the AA service structure is. Beginning with the Home Group spreading the message of AA to Treatment, Corrections and the Public Community, right on through to GSO. We need to continue on, Unity and our Primary Purpose, to help future generations of alcoholics.”
-“Yes, I do. We must rely on our own volunteer efforts to keep the fellowship alive and well.”
-“Yes, these jobs need to get done because without connecting of groups and districts and areas there will be a breakdown that could really effect AA in a negative way”
-“Yes, service is so important to recovery. I did not realize it at first because it does just seem like another job or task in like you “have” to do. Then you come to realize what service work is actually giving back to you. I bet most people will say that they have gotten more out of doing service work then the service they have felt they put in. I know I have. As long as AA is about staying sober then AA must be about being involved in service. Passing alog the AA message and passing along the message for service must go hand in hand in AA.”
-“Without the service legacy there would be no AA because it is through service that we are bound together.”
-“I think being active and involved helps me keep me on track. I do think that service positions should be rotated, but there aren’t always alot of people who want to volunteer for positions like GSR.”
-“I believe that the growth, or more correctly the survival of AA lies within more members contributing even a small amount of time and/or resources to the program at the District level. This in no way diminishes the contribution of Area or New York but is the foundation for a strong viable national organization”
4. How has service played a role in your recovery?
– “It has helped me to grow up and keep an open mind. It has helped me become a better person.”
-“My first service position was a plunge off the deep end — at my sponsor’s request, I took on the position of Reservations Chairman for the Area Convention for two years. It was difficult, and not particularly to my liking, but it taught me that my efforts are important to the group as a whole, that what I start I must finish, and that the work is its own reward. Subsequently I’ve done other work at the group and district level and enjoyed it thoroughly. I have a lot of friends in NH AA that I wouldn’t have met if I weren’t active in service. I try to have a job at all times.”
-“It gave me a perspective. I did not previously have about how AA works.”
-“Being part of the temporary contact program and spending time in a rehab center has changed my old fears to compassion, understanding, and identification.
When I first arrived to AA I went to a meeting at Serenity Place and left crying, swearing never to go again. My sponsor was there with me and she kept asking me what was wrong. At the time I did know. Then I realized it was fear; How fearful I was of reaching that bottom I saw in the meeting. People I saw that that meeting were homeless, suffered wet brain, severe anger, and had lost everything. I had a hard time identifying and was just frightened and judgmental.
Since going into the Farnum Center and spreading the message of AA over the past months, also working with women in the shelter to give rides to meetings, it has removed those fears.
I know there are those in the room at the Farnum who have had enough and are willing to listen to what I have to say. What a huge gift! They should be the ones afraid of me and not the other way around, so if they can have enough courage to put themselves out there and ask for help I can be there.”
-“a. It has taught me how to work with others that I may not agree with.
b. Provides me with another way to be helpful
c. Extends my circle of community beyond my home group.”
-“It makes me feel ‘part of’, like I belong. Contributing gives you a sense of belonging.”
-“Helps me to remember where I came from and allows me to do for others what was done for me, as well as giving me the opportunity to practice humility, be of service, and to live altruistically…. which is what our program encourages as our way of life.”
-“Service work keeps in the forefront of my mind the value and importance of this organization and how fortunate I am to have been given the gift of sobriety by it’s existence”
5. Would you recommend that someone you sponsor or a friend of yours become active in service?
– “Yes and I have, but you can’t lead a horse to water. Service work isn’t for everybody, but everybody wants service work done, so maybe everybody should at least try it! That’s how it started for me.”
-“Not only would I, but I frequently do!”
-“Absolutely. It is the only way to live a truly fulfilling sober life. Without service and giving back what we have been freely given there can be no future for the message to be passed. ”
-“Yes, I think it’s a good thing. It certainly helped me get sober, especially when I first got into AA.”
For more information on Service opportunities in District 12 check out the Service Tools Page or attend a District 12 Monthly Meeting the 3rd Sunday of the month from 6:00 – 8:00 PMSt. Raphael’s Church Hall Ferry St Manchester NH