Service, to the best of my ability
Service is essentially any action that better enables the message of recovery to be carried to the still-suffering alcoholic. It is also a unique opportunity to give of ourselves that most precious commodity that we all possess, time itself. Service may mean many things to just as many different members of AA. And the perceived rewards are just as numerous; however I can only share my own experience.
I started doing service when I got a sponsor and it was suggested that I get to the meeting early and help put chairs out. This I did and have continued to do so. This simple action made me feel a part of the meeting. The meeting was no longer something I went to, but more of something I was. In those days I also found that after the chairs were out I could help the secretary by putting the literature out on the secretary’s table, and pack it away after the meeting. I found that the table not only needed the literature on it but it was of greater use to those wishing to find particular items if everything was arranged in chronological order. After a few weeks of sorting everything out at each meeting I found that if it was packed away carefully then it took no time at all to set up the table with everything in order. From this experience I have learnt that with a little forethought and anticipation much time can be saved in doing the simplest things in life. I also found that if I was first in the kitchen after the meeting I could wash up the dishes or dry and put away.
I have held many service positions, all of them I have tried to carry out to the best of my ability and I have found that my ability has grown as has my confidence and also my satisfaction. When I did the literature I carefully wrapped the books in plastic, this kept them looking clean and new, protecting them from the small bumps and scrapes they are prone to receive being carried from one meeting to the next. When I put up the scrolls I was careful not to bang them about or drag them on the floor and when they were up I would ensure they were hanging straight. When I had the responsibility of meeting secretary I learnt to take advice and to say ‘thank you’ when it has been given.
Thus I progressed through the service structure, as it was in my early days of recovery. As my home group has grown I am now part of a team setting up the meeting. The camaraderie and cheerfulness is a wonderful gift. I would not miss it for the world.
To be asked to do service shows a trust in one's ability to be responsible and to carry out the service commitment as though you mean business. If you are asked to do service remember that this is an opportunity for you to give, and to enjoy giving. Make it a special occasion, give of your all, try to go the extra mile and you will be amazed at the rewards. This I have found to be equally true of all of life’s endeavours.