Doing Probation Service in AA

I was encouraged by my sponsor to get into service in Alcoholics Anonymous, from the moment I asked him to sponsor me. This has served me well, and this year I turned 18 years sober, for which I am extremely grateful. All service is essential to my recovery, be it greeting and putting out chairs at my home group, or serving the Fellowship at the level of Intergroup or Region. I feel greatly honoured to have been trusted by my local Fellowship into taking on the Probation Liaison Officer role, at Intergroup and also Region. This service has had a colossal effect on my own recovery, and it is also a pleasure and a privilege to try and make Alcoholics Anonymous available for the still-suffering alcoholic going through the legal system, by liaising with professionals in this field.

Through doing Probation Liaison service at my local Intergroup, I have managed to build good relationships with various probation workers and establishments in our area over the years, including the local Magistrates Courts. In my home-town (Plymouth) we have AA members attend the magistrates’ Community Court on a regular basis, to try and carry the message of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous to the still-suffering defendant, if he or she admits that the reason they are in court is due to their drinking. We also have members attend the local probation hostel for the same reason, and we provide talks to staff at the local probation offices, offering to talk to the service-users of the probation workers, if they need the help. This is an extremely rewarding service, and one for which I am grateful to have been involved in. I currently hold the Probation position at South West Region, and have passed on my contacts and provided support to the current Intergroup Probation Liaison Officer, who has already made a great start in service, providing the help and support of AA to professionals and service-users in our area.

Through doing this service, I have learned that patience and perseverance are important qualities when doing liaison work in Alcoholics Anonymous: in other words, emails and messages offering AA talks can go unanswered. We have to remember that professionals are busy, they have a lot on their plates and are not as excited about Alcoholics Anonymous as we are, which is why we need to be persistent without being too pushy, and not giving up altogether. I’ve found that when all else fails, leaving the latest Where-To-Find at the reception of an office is still better than nothing.

My advice to anyone who is thinking about service is get involved! Be it a Liaison role or as a recovered AA member doing the talks and 12 step work, it’s essential that we carry the message. It’s not as hard as you may think, and from my experience it pays dividends in terms of strengthening my own recovery, taking insurance against the next drink. And don’t be put off by the terms “Region” and “Intergroup”. The first time my sponsor suggested that I start doing service at my local Intergroup I really thought I wasn’t up to it, but it’s really not as hard as it sounds. There is a wealth of experience in Alcoholics Anonymous, and people are happy to pass this on, and extremely supportive.

Arash T, Road to Recovery Group

January 2020