Group Treasurer

Just like writing this short piece – I said “yes” promptly when asked, and then procrastinated over the action itself – I hardly appreciated the true benefits of service as my Home Group’s Treasurer, until after I’d actually done it. Time and time again I had been told that action was the key to working the AA recovery programme: don’t doubt it, don’t argue about it, just do it.

I have been fortunate enough to find in my own home group a core of recovering alcoholics who had fait to commit themselves to service and by so doing to set me an example I wished to follow, to get what they had.  One of those has been my sponsor for the five years since I got on board in 1999.

I had been in recovery for two years when the position of Group Treasure became vacant on its regular two year rotation.  I had already rotated through the positions of Tea, Literature and Secretary at one of my Group’s three weekly meetings, the last bringing with it the periodic late night frustrations of the Group Steering Committee every couple of months.  I had been attending my Groups three meetings a week regularly and was now being given the “suggestion” that I should apply for a service position which I considered imposed and obligation to attend each of those meetings themselves. This was, I felt a bit different. I wasn’t sure I wanted it, and hoped someone else would stand so I could defer gracefully.  Fortunately no one did and yet again experience (of others) triumphed over hope (mine).

And so I took over “the bag” – the account books and kilos of small change, the cheque book, the rent books and the order forms for the literature list.  But I also took with it the help, encouragement and experience of my predecessor. I was lovingly sponsored in, which is vital to any service position.

Counting the change and bagging it up; learning humility when the counter clerk at the Post Office checked it and told me I’d got it wrong. Being told by the Steering Committee that the prudent reserve I was considering holding back was just a bit too prudent, when Tradition 7 suggested we could be more generous to Intergroup. Pride in my Home Group – seeing the increasing size of the pot over the months and realising that the message was being carried to newcomers, who were coming back. Increased involvement: being in the middle of the boat.  These were just some of the rewards of being Group Treasurer.

Above all the position also brought me into contact with the next level of service, witnessing the harmonious interaction of the groups which make up my local Intergroup. I had been encouraged by my sponsor to get to bi-monthly meetings of Intergroup. I didn’t like the idea to begin with and so I didn’t much enjoy it when I got there either.  But my attitude had begun to change. Now I felt I’d better go to ensure our donations got there safely: actually it was the warm glow of arrogance plonking a large cheque on the table to show how well we were doing and delude myself that I might have something to do with it.  But that regular attendance, initially for all the wrong reasons, brought home to me the appreciation that this is how our Fellowship really works – we cannot isolate ourselves just as I did when I was drinking, but have to co-exist with the rest of the world. I am filled with gratitude that the AA Twelve Step recovery programme has provided me with a bridge back to the normal world and that is by doing service that I have come to appreciate it.


                                                                       Johnny J, Road to Recovery, Plymouth, 2009