Service is the key to getting to the heart of AA. It is what keeps us coming back. ~ Anon
Ooops, I over booked; then my computer mouse died. I am up and running again. I spent the weekend at a 12 step convention. There were some powerful messages of recovery. The most meaningful was that one must be completely sober in order to work the steps. I am so glad that such events exist locally and at a very reasonable cost. There is a great deal of work to be done to achieve such an event. There are boards positions such as chair, vice chair, etc. And, there are committee jobs such as registration, decorations, fund raising, etc. This year, I put the flyer together. I am not all that good at key boarding, but I got through it and it looked presentable.
I had the opportunity to speak as well. That was an honor. I spoke on the topic of acceptance as needed to work the 12 steps and how they apply to my life. Then, I gave them some questions on how these acceptance issues would apply in their lives. They seemed to appreciate that. Most importantly, was that we got to know each other a little bit more. Sometimes, just sitting and listening instead of applying the learning can get tiresome. I am one of those who is easily distracted and bored when required to sit and listen. It is probably the ADD in me. Ha ha. At any rate, we applied tradition #9 well, and it paid off. Be a part of, not apart from.
We are a motley crew of drunks who manage to have special events, service boards and committees, conventions, etc. that go off seemingly well. I know it baffles newcomers who want to know who is in charge. Who should they go to for the rules and directions? I used to wonder that too. My objective was that I wanted someone to blame if I failed. I also wanted to know what the rules were, so I could systematically run afoul of them; in the hopes of being kicked out. That didn’t work either!
This weekend, I will be attending a 12 step state convention. Somehow, several parts of the state come together each year and throw themselves a fun, weekend long party. Everyone is welcome to participate. No one is turned away if they cannot afford it. We each pitch in. This year, I put the flyer together, will do a shift or two at the registration table, and speak. I am speaking on the topic of acceptance. Had I never accepted the concept that I was an alcoholic, and that my life was unmanageable by me, I would not be 31 years sober. I would not be up at 6 AM typing this, and I surely would not be spending a whole weekend at a 12 step convention. Join the party and get involved. Your soul will thank you.
AA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may created service boards and committees directly responsible to those they serve. ~ AA 12 X 12
Gees, it is nearly mid month, I have not even mentioned the tradition of the month, and that is #9. The key word for this tradition is structure. What most of us have learned about AA and most 12 step programs, is that there are no bosses, no one is in control, and we are an unorganized organization! At the top of most nonprofits is a service board that will have at least one member on it. The rest is made up of professional and community members. These boards act as arbiters of the organization’s business. In most situations, they oversee the decisions about legal and financial matters, to ensure the nonprofit is run correctly according to the laws of the land.
AA is an upside down pyramid. The members and groups have more say so than does any entity over it. Each group is autonomous, unless it effects AA as a whole. I have had the wonderful but challenging opportunity to serve on many committees and even on some regional and intergroup boards. Committees might take care of public information, outreach, 12 step work, elections, events, banquets, etc. Service boards are usually involved in how to handle the money, setting up and maintaining an office, phone lines, publishing meeting lists, hotlines, information, literature sales, etc. There is a great deal of work to do. It takes a group effort and cooperation to keep our doors opened and to have help available for the still suffering alcoholic. Be part of the solution, and be of service.
Each group is autonomous, but they cannot thrive and grow without the assistance of their intergroup, district or world service offices. It reminds me of the old phrase: no man is an island. We are social creatures who need the support and compassion of others to help us feel a part of something bigger than our own unsteady willpower. We need their guidance. We need their resources. We need their experience, strength and hope. Otherwise we are ships in the night that may run aground or bump into each other.
Today, our intergroup is meeting at 1 PM at the AA Central Office 1620 Pleasant Street http://www.aadesmoines.org/contact.htm.
The District meets at 3 PM at the White House, 1400 Penn Avenue. http://whitehouseaa.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
There are many service opportunities to be fulfilled. Once you become involved, your circle of spiritual support opens up and widens. There is no reason to wrestle the tiger by yourself. Your meeting needs to have a vote on how AA functions. If it has no representative, then I encourage you to step into those empty shoes, register as a rep today, and bring home the information imparted, so that your group can grow and blossom. Be the voice of recovery that the next newcomers need to hear. Be the peace and sanity you wish in this world. It begins with you.