Help with GSR...

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

Help with GSR...

Postby becksdad » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:08 pm

Hi everyone... sobriety seems to always draw me into new directions - and not always ones I would have foreseen or chosen myself! Anyway, I find myself in a new service capacity and I could use some help.

A few months ago, I was elected as my home group's GSR. I have attended all the Area meetings, but this is really new to me. I have the GSR pamphlet from AAWS. I have a renewed interest in Tradition study, in meetings. I have also found recently many posts here in the Traditions forum that are helpful. But this seems somewhat limited, as it appears there is more to service at the Area level than just the traditions. For instance, I am just becoming aware of the "Concepts for World Service". I am sure there is more.

I don't know if this is common throughout AA as a whole, but I am finding that in this area, service at the level of the group and individually seem very solid as far as singleness of purpose and carrying the message, but in a larger sense is very slack. I suppose I am part of that "slackness", but now being in this position, I find I am ill-equipped to fulfill the duties in a meaningful and informed manner.

There are a couple guys I know pretty well who are involved in service at this level, and I look to them for help. But I have heard several times here on the site about a "Service Sponsor". Even my own sponsor, who is great with recovery, has not been involved with this kind of thing very much. What is a service sponsor? I could pretend that I must know what a service sponsor is, but that would be like old thinking; (not having the rule book to life, so pretending I know, or making it up as I go, lol).

Also, could anyone share any other ES&H in this area?..... I know, that's a real broad question. Point to any other sources of information? Anythiing anyone could share that might help will be really appreciated! And I hate to say this, but the biggest excercise I have found so far with this is practice in placing principles before personalities!!! There's gotta be more......

Thank you!

Ed
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby becksdad » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:30 pm

Hey, I also just found the Service Manual with 12 Concepts online!! Still looking for ES&H, too!!!

Thanks,

Ed
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:52 pm

Hi,

A service sponsor is someone who has taken the path of service that you're embarking on, and can show you the ropes.

At the group level, it's as simple as the prior coffee-maker showing the next how the coffee is done - where to find the can, how much they use for the typical size of meeting, etc. That's service sponsorship.

For a GSR, you could look to the prior GSR, or maybe the DCM or some other who's further along the line who's done it, or has enough experience around service in general outside the group.

The "men stick with men" etc. caveats don't apply, as you don't get into the recovery arm of the 3 legacies as you would with a recovery sponsor.

IMO the Concepts are a big deal. You could almost consider them in-line with service. 12 Traditions:Unity, 12 Concepts:Service, 12 Steps:Recovery

I've never not had some sort of service commitment in sobriety, spanning 2 continents f2f. Literature, Coffee maker, leader, Treasurer, GSR, PI/CPC Chair, DCM, currently embarking on Area Finance Chair. Also had a lot of commitments in this online group.
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby PaigeB » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:05 am

I got to be my group's GSR with just 1 1/2 years of sobriety. I feel like I got tossed in something I did not understand... and I really was told to "wing it". My group said they trusted me... I was a trusted servant. I think some of my changes annoyed them... asking for chair reports even though I thought I knew nothing was really happening. I pressed them into service in some AA community events and an Area Conference. I made it a point to invite newcomers to join us as their home-group. But they didn't fire me! They didn't even roll their eyes much!

I just rotated out of the position and rotated into a new position as PI Chair for the District. I was told to leave the position better than I found it, handed a few boxes of material and was wished well as the current chair headed for her car with a wave to me from over her shoulder.

ES&H - Do the best you have with what you got!

GSO sends a GSR packet to all those who fill out the Group Changes form. Or you can call GSO and order it yourself. It is free. I ordered my PI Kit and the District paid for it. But really? Have fun - be genuine and open and willing. Sit next to a GSR that participates in discussions. Go out for coffee after the District meeting. Go the the Area Service Weekend (ask the DCM or Alt. DCM). Go to the conferences and Regional Forums. (My groups absorbed some of those costs) Get on a District Committee. Call GSO ~ I did and they talked to me for quite a period of time! I don't think it was pure luck that I got a patient person to take my call... my guess is that they all would love to be of service to you too!

Take a deep and humble breath. You are the hand of AA.

What an honor and a privilege!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby becksdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:13 am

Thank you Ian & Paige for your shares! Both have helped me. I am going through the Service Manual, and see that I have lots to learn about! But one day at a time, with help from sober drunks, I have a sure faith that it will all work.

I look forward to hearing from anyone else who also has experience with service at GSR level.

Thank you all!

Ed
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:26 am

What else do you want to know?

Would be worth attending a GSR workshop arranged by Area. Your DCM should be able to find out when the next one is.
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby becksdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:17 am

Hi, Ian.... the workshop idea is great! And I certainly will talk to our DCM about this!

To be honest, I don't know yet what else I want to know! If that makes sense? I guess I need to approach service as GSR as I have with recovery... with an open mind, whatever humility I can muster, and willingness to seek help and try to practice what I learn. I have to go on the premise that things will unfold as they are meant to be.

Seriously, in the 2 area meetings I have been to so far, they have been kind of dry. Mostly financial stuff from various committees. The biggest issue has been how to get groups actually involved in General Service. There is a very tiny minority that actually attend the meetings, and we would all like to improve that. As for our group, I intend to do that. We have not had a GSR report for over 6 months. I think that is how I got elected!!! LOL

Thank you all!

Ed
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby PaigeB » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:41 pm

There is a very tiny minority that actually attend the meetings,


You seem like a good candidate for a volunteer to make a flyer to send to all the Group contacts & GSR's regarding an open invitation to attend District meeting and join a committee!

Keep looking for opportunities to serve!
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby becksdad » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:24 pm

That's a really, really good idea, Paige!! Thank you!!

Peace,

Ed
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:28 pm

Great topic, Ed, and lots of good input.

I, too, felt I was thrown into the pit, but it was the motivation I needed. As was said, my Service Sponsor became simply the person I asked the most questions of, and in my case, she turned out to be female (happily married)

One of the first exercises she gave me was to take the Steps (then Traditions & Concepts) and write a few words as to what I thought the 'Principle" behind each was We did 3 at a time, so this took several weeks, but it was really well worth it.

I also started familiarizing myself with Robert's Rules of Order, as most of the business meetings in District and Area used a loose adaptation of Robert's Rule (we also used them in my Union's Local, so the only 'major' difference was the Minority Opinion AA used.

It was in attending the Area Assemblies that I learned the most. North Florida' Area Assembly runs Friday night to Sunday night every quarter, with Saturday being devoted to service committee reports, comments, and questions... A group of us would head up for the day, attend the different workshops we were interested in, clean out the local Chinese buffet :), and maybe stick around for the Speaker that evening who usually focused on some aspect of Service.

I was also taught how to put on workshops, and when I had the Corrections Chair, we would do yearly workshop, inviting the Chaplains & Staff of local facilities to tell a little bit about what to expect, which went a long way towards allaying some of the potential volunteer's fear and concern. (Comes in handy when one is being asked to sign 'Hostage Clauses' of "We love you, but won't trade weapons or releases for you" LOL)

Service sometimes feels like 'herding cats', but I find a great deal of reward in helping set up something, then seeing it continue on for years, like some meetings we got started at the local Prison. And even when what is tried doesn't work out, I still remain sober.

The AA pamphlet on Sponsorship mentions Service Sponsors. I was taught to look for someone who has the position you would like to put yourself up for, and ask them how they do it.

Finally, the last job of the Service Sponsor is to keep me in service, whether I am being volunteered for her workshop or someone else's. I'm also told there's an Area Position with "my name on it" coming up in three weeks...LOL.

As my Step Sponsor keeps me accountable for ME through the Steps, my Service Sponsor keeps me accountable to AA, and those who took the time to pass on what they had found.

Congrats on the position! WE keep it by giving it away.

Tommy
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Re: Help with GSR...

Postby becksdad » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:00 pm

Thank you all for sharing your ES&H, information, and encouragement! You don't know how much I appreciate it! .... well, you probably do know....

Anyhow, thanks!

Ed
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