Practical AA Leadership

From that ten-cent phone call and a cup of coffee to AA's General Service Office. What's your take on service?

Practical AA Leadership

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:33 pm

Practical AA Leadership

Bill wrote an article that was incorporated into Concept IX of our AA Service Manual titled ‘Leadership in AA: Ever a Vital Need’, which
“was first thought of in connection with our world service leadership, it is possible that some of its suggestions can be useful to anyone who takes an active part in our Society.”

“Every sponsor is necessarily a leader. The stakes are about as big as they could be. A human life and usually the happiness of a whole family hang in the balance. What the sponsor does and says, how well he estimates the reactions of his prospects, how well he times and makes his presentation, how well he handles criticisms, and how well he leads his prospect on by personal and spiritual example – These qualities of leaderships can make all the difference, often the difference between life and death” (AA Service Manual, pg 40)
http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/en_bm-31.pdf

Successful sobriety, at least in my case, is mainly due to leadership of those old drunks who took me by the hand (and sometimes collar) to motivate me and steer me along a path to a new life today... Which is almost ‘miraculous’ considering the Defiance I came to the doors of AA with.

The First bit of AA leadership demonstrated to me was by the fellow who 12th Stepped me in AA.

Coming out of a black out and waking (again) to the Hideous Four Horsemen of Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration & Despair it was almost too coincidental that I found myself talking with a fellow on ship... someone I didn’t know in the workplace (we had a 5,500 men ship company), nor did I know was an AA member.

His Timing was perfect, as I was 'feeling' the shame, remorse, guilt, etc.

He listened with some interest as I detailed as much of what I remembered, asked questions which produced more ‘tales of woe’ as to about every thing in my life. And then, when I ran out of steam (or whine), he made a simple suggestion, “Maybe it’s your drinking?”

He showed interest and spent time with me. There was no diagnosis, no direction, no order, just a “maybe”, which he followed up with an invitation to attend the ship’s AA meeting that night, another suggestion with a promise of more of his time.

Later, at the meeting, I found more of the same... Interest, time, and suggestions, combined into ‘their experience’. “This is what WE were like, what happened, and what WE are like now”, to which they added Hope and Encouragement of “Come back again,” and “If you are like we were, AA will work for you, too.”

AS I didn’t have any other place to go, that Hope & Encouragement got me to my second meeting.

Bobby S used Timing, Interest, Personal Time to lead me to a meeting, where the group continued to lead me towards AA with Experience, and Hope & Encouragement.

I'd like to hear what approach or approaches worked with you, or you used with others... To get through the doors of AA, working the Steps, through a bad time, into doing service work, etc.

For instance, were you lead by Example (Good & not so good)? Order & Discipline (some of us function well with structure)? Demonstration, Illustration, Oration (moved by speech & explanation)? led by Faith (in a Higher Power and/or another AA)? motivated by Usefulness (like being of help to others)? by a sense of Obligation/Team Work (paying back what they gave to you)? or by Pain/Heartache (struggling in Dignity)? ... (I'm sure there are others ways)


Thanks,

Tommy
Last edited by Tommy-S on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: Practical AA Leadership

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Here’s another example.

In early sobriety, I used to have to see one or another of the AA's daily... I needed it. They were my safety net. One had an office on ship that was convenient, and as he was the oldest AA (not sure if he had the longest time), I would head for his office when I had a problem.

He said, What’s the problem?”
So I told him.
He than asked, “What are your options?”
And I told him.
Finally, he asked, “What do you think you ought to do?”
And I told him!


You see, I didn’t realize it, but Starkey lead me to the realization that my life was my Responsibility. I had always wanted someone else to figure it out for me, so I could blame them, or take credit if it worked well. But Starkey showed me AA wasn’t there to baby sit, breast feed, or burp me. AA expected me to stand on my own two feet, and face life (even as ill-equipped as I was).

No one else had my answers... and those AA’s allowed me Dignity to Suffer as I worked out an answer (with the help of their experience), and took Responsibility for ME. Thanks
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: Practical AA Leadership

Postby Tommy-S » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:33 pm

Service came 1st as a necessity ('Work with others alcoholics would save the day'), but then because of example.

My Service Sponsor (currently a Delegate) carries an infectious enthusiasm for service work, and after accompanying her to a workshop, I was surprised at the 'fun' we had putting it on (I got drafted to help), not to mention the ride there and back.

Her advice is 'Find someone with the position you'd like to serve in, and learn from them'

In western PA, there's a little lady who opens the Monday night meeting... and she had more than 54 years sober! Likewise, the Monday meeting I attend here, our coffee maker has 52 years sober... (may be something about Mondays? :))

By their examples, they take away any excuse I have for Not getting involved, and staying involved, because that voice in my head says, "Maybe that's how they lasted this long?"

We can lead by Enthusiasm, and by Example (either in screwing up other's excuses Not to do likewise, or by passing on our experience).

Thanks
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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