Ok, confession time.
I haven’t had a true commitment at my home group since…forever. Now, to be fair to myself here, my schedule changes week to week, and I have no idea what days off I have, so making plans of any kind is quite challenging. So whenever I hit my homegroup (not often), I tend to feel left out and guilty at the same time. So what I will usually do is greet, or help set up, or do something to help out.
I also haven’t chaired a meeting (yikes!)
So when I hear over and over how vital service is, I tend to cringe a little inside because I haven’t done much service in the way that I hear service should be done. Am I a monster for not making coffee or doling out cookies? Will I be on a bender because I am not on the steering committee or don’t attend business meetings? Is my recovery in danger because I can’t do teardown every Sunday night for two months? I don’t feel so, but I still can’t shake that I should be doing more.
I’ve brought this up with my sponsor and he didn’t seem too worried. Service, which I learned, isn’t all AA related. Service is important in AA – I understand that – giving back, humility, commitment, etc. I share at meetings, help clean up, etc. but for some reason I always felt that I was lacking in that department.
Regardless, my sponsor said that it’s also the things we do outside of AA that are important – helping those who might need the program, stepping outside of ourselves and assisting others, turning our thoughts and actions to other people, etc.
And so it is now with a bit of time under my belt that I have been getting away from the “oh no, if I don’t make coffee I will relapse!!” phase and getting comfortable with who I am and how I give back to others, in the program and not in the program. I work with others, I speak, I sponsor, I visit my old treatment center, I write this blog, I put myself as a contact at my old treatment center…and know that these are the things that capture my imagination. Being secretary or other admin might not, and that’s ok. For others, that is something that is a pull to them, and they enjoy it. And that is ok too.
Because what I am learning is that we all have our niches, our ways of contributing, our special attributes that help our recovery and help others in the program. For me, communicating is attractive to me (who would have guessed, for this isolationist and shy dude??) So I can now see that while I may not man the library table (yet?) or put out the cookies or the signs that point to the meeting, I feel that my contribution to AA is on solid ground.
I can’t compare myself to anyone.
And for giving back, for doing service in the way that I can serve best, is the best feeling.