Service and what it means to me

When I first came in to AA I realised that the way I was living my life was not working. I realised at depth that all the suffering and misery from my drinking was basically my own doing. I was desperate and I decided to seek help in the form of sponsorship and a solid 12 step programme.

As it states in the Big Book, my self- centred thinking and attitude was slowly killing me.  After working the programme for about two months, I suddenly realised that I had not been such a nice guy and that I had been selfish to the extreme for most of my life. My drinking was just a symptom.

Through the 12 Step Programme, I was introduced to the concept of helping others with selfless service. Service is an integral part of my recovery and it has formed a strong foundation for me to build the rest of my life on. I came into AA with very limited social skills and was unable to form relationships with other people. I had ended up totally dependent on alcohol and also very alone and isolated. Service has become the shining beacon of hope and happiness in my sober life. It has enabled me to form normal and happy relationships with people, and to finally realise that I am not the only person in the world.

I started off as a cleaner in my Home Group. I am lucky enough to belong to a very strong home group with a sound service structure in place. This structure is tailor made to help bring the alcoholic out of himself and think of others. One of my favourite service positions was as tea person. To be honest, I hated it at first. I did not want to be stood in a doorway, dishing out tea and having to talk. But I persevered because deep down, I knew it was doing me good. After a while I actually started to enjoy being around other people. This was a first for me, it felt marvellous and it still does.

I have continued to do service and I hope to go through the AA Service structure as I can see the benefits. I am currently serving at intergroup level, which at times is challenging, but ultimately it is rewarding. I cannot praise the AA Service Structure enough, because for me it has been the key to a new life in sobriety and a host of new skills. I remember being the secretary for my Home Group, which is quite a large group, with about 40 – 60 members. Three and a half years ago, if you told me that I would be taking a meeting with up to 60 people, I would not have taken you seriously. This is how much service has helped me, and long may it continue.