It is such an honor to be able to be of service in
Alcoholics Anonymous. I was reminded
this afternoon by the speaker at the Tampa Bay Fall Roundup. She was taught the value of service early in
her sobriety. She said it is an honor to be able to make coffee at her home
group. It is an honor and it has been an
honor for me to be involved in Saturday Night Fever. However, it is time for elections.
The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob, said “Our
Twelve Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words
‘love’ and ‘service.’ We understand what love is, and we understand what
service is.” That was a reasonable
assumption in 1950. At that time almost
everybody had been indoctrinated into A.A. by one of the founders or somebody
that had been indoctrinated by one of the founders. They emphasized selfness and service almost
as much as they did prayer and meditation and in some places they emphasized it
even more. He knew that anybody who had gotten involved in an A.A. group in the
1940’s would be compelled to be involved in the groups business.
Tom I. from Southern Pines, was reflecting on the early days
of A.A. He said service was the name of
the game. That there is some notion in
A.A. circles that they were more pure in their approach to A.A. in the good old
days. He said something to the effect “if
they were more pure in their approach I didn’t experience it, we mostly used
the Big Book to beat the new comers over the head to get them in the car.”
Occasionally I have to be reminded that it is an honor to
get to be of service to my home group. I have been unlocking the meeting hall
and helping with the chairs. I started
doing this in 2011 when I moved to Tampa.
I saw a big meeting that is relatively close to where I live and decided
to make that my home group. I chose that
group because there was a lot of people at that meeting. I liked Jerry, Kate, Michelle, and John, who
were all involved in setting up the meeting. I have been involved in A.A. long
enough that I knew that as big as Saturday Night Fever is, there would be
something I would be able to contribute even though I was new to town. It would be an honor to get to be part of it.
It is an honor to be a part of Saturday Night Fever. I got
sober in 1987 and my first sponsor had me volunteer to be of service before I
had much more than 30 days sober. They would announce at the meeting that they
needed a leader for the Tuesday noon group and he would raise his hand and say
Wayne will do it. They would announce
that they needed someone to take a panel to the detox and Hank would raise my
hand and say “tell them you’ll do it.”
He insisted that I be part of A.A. Not because A.A. needed me because it
didn’t. There were plenty of people
willing to take meetings into the detox. There were plenty of people that were
committed to seeing to it that there would be someone to cover the Tuesday
meeting. He insisted that I get involved because I needed A.A.
That is right. I did
need A.A. I was living like an animal. I
was irresponsible and lazy. I was self-centered and selfish which the big Book
says is at the root of our problem. What was the solution to be? It was to
develop a life based on spiritual principles.
How is that to be accomplished? Through action and more action. So, he had me make an inventory and start to
pray and make a list of amends but he also had me start to get involved in
selfless actions. He had me volunteer to
do things for others and not expect any credit. He did this because he knew I
would not intuitively know to get involved. I had to be taught. The Big Book
has a chapter named “Into Action” but not any chapters named “Into Thinking” or "Into Fitness." He knew that I needed to be part of the group
and I needed to be of service.
The only reason that I could be part of service was because
people like him knew how important it was for the new members to get involved.
He was going to be at the meeting every Tuesday, he could have raised his hand
and said “I’ll take it if nobody else will do it.” He didn’t.
He said Wayne will do it. So, that I got the honor of being of service.
So, fast forward 26 years. I have not
always been at the center of the group nor did I always maintain service
commitments because of many very good reasons (rationalizations and excuses.) However, I have been at the center of
Saturday Night Fever for the last two years.
I have been the secretary and have filled in at virtually every position
at some point. I showed up to set up chairs but when it was necessary for
somebody to step in and provide some leadership I filled that void. Now it is
time to turn the leadership over to somebody else. It is time for the honor to be given to somebody who needs it, whether they realize it or not.