What Service Can I Do?

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

What Service Can I Do?

Postby DavesNotThere » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:38 pm

I'm 2.5 months sober and have been going to local AA meetings. The requirements for answering phones or the penpal program is 12 months sober. Soooo, what AA related service could I do? I try to give support for people at the meetings but I'd like a more active role.

Thanks
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:37 pm

Welcome Dave

SERVICE is something I have found vital to my sobriety, as it seems was for those who founded this program.

Bill W had his last drink in Dec 1934, but didn't find Dr Bob until Jun 1935 to start AA, 6 months later. Bill didn't sit on his butt with a sign in the window that read 'Will Help Drunks for Free" but rather went and found them. It worked

(And this was well before the 'designated' service positions we have today.)

So while it may seem like a step up to get into a position, some of the most important and life-saving service I can provide is to try and help the Alcoholic sitting next to me.

I still make it a habit at live meetings to look for the new person, or even an oldtimer, particularly if they are sitting alone and look as though they lost their puppy. Shaking hands and saying 'Welcome, glad you're here" made all the difference to me when I was new, or at a new meeting, and it seems to work that way for others, too. It could be the difference between life or dying drunk.

EZ does it was also taught me by the oldtimers... Get a home group and get involved making coffee, setting up, cleaning up, are all ways I got introduced to service, and got to know the people in that group. Once I got involved there, I also got a sponsor... he took me through the Steps, on 12 Step calls, to meetings at the jails & nutwards... even got me to speak.

That getting through the Steps not only helped me, but then I was able to pass more on to those who were newer than I was.

Today, after some 24 hours and many service positions, I still feel the most important service I can provide is still to stick out my hand and say "Welcome, glad you are here"

So glad you're here, DavesNotHere :)

Thanks... Tommy
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby PaigeB » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:07 pm

Shake hands. Go early. Shake hands with everyone that walks in. Stay late. After helping with the coffee cups, stay until they turn the lights out - lol just like I used to at the bar!

Heck be "that guy that always sits at the corner table". Whatever it is be consistent. Somebody will be looking for you there. The next time they come and they might only remember that you were doing the dishes when they left.

Thanks for asking. Service saved my life. Taught me integrity. :wink:
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:35 am

I'm 2.5 months sober and have been going to local AA meetings. The requirements for answering phones or the penpal program is 12 months sober. Soooo, what AA related service could I do? I try to give support for people at the meetings but I'd like a more active role.


Congrats on your 2.5 months of sobriety. Hope you are working on the 12 steps and then you are looking for service work. Its important that we keep first things first. In the initial period, you could do many chores. I was helping my sponsor procure Coffee and other material for the meeting. Cleaning of the rooms is another great service you could do. I am sure there are lot of smokers at the meeting, you could pick up the butts and keep the environment clean.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Squawking Hawk » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:40 am

Early on I used to go early to home group and help set up the meeting. In addition to being of service, I was also connecting with other sober alcoholics. In my home group there were a couple of guys who had been making the coffee for a couple of years who would come by an hour before the meeting and set up the urns. But there was still stuff that needed to be done. I'd also go with members of my home group on speaking commitments, even before I had 90 days. Per group conscious you had to have 90 days to speak on a commitment, so I was quiet support and there for the fellowship.

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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Brock » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:28 pm

Some very good advice has been given. I would add a word of caution regarding not underestimating the time any service commitment would take; I have seen members with the best of intentions take on tasks only to back out after a few weeks. If you know for example that something you can help with would add an hour to the time you normally devote to a meeting, I think it is wise if you are married to discuss it, make sure your better half understands that it’s not just for a few weeks, but for a longer time. Some wives and husbands can develop resentments against AA, if it starts taking us away from the family for unreasonable lengths of time.

Also if service positions are not open at the group level, most intergroup offices have an open invitation to those willing to assist, these offices generally do a lot of worthwhile outreach work. Best of luck in being of service, you may not get very many verbal thank yous, but it makes you feel good inside and strengthens your sobriety.

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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby DavesNotThere » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:54 pm

Thanks everyone, I'll keep an eye out for these opportunities.
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Lali » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:47 pm

It's nice that these two guys you speak of, Hawk, who make the coffee have offered their services, but it is unfair to newcomers to not be given the opportunity to make the coffee too. I think it is time for them to turn it over to someone else.

On another note, I decided to take my time before sponsoring anyone so I sought out other service opportunities. I am one of only a couple of people who clean up the kitchen at the end of the meeting. I wish more people would help out as it would be good for them. I also volunteered for the speaker seeker position and I keep up the home group sign up sheet. I have it on my computer and update it regularly. There are a lot of little things that people can do such as making sure that newcomers have a phone list. I am also one of a few people who keep our meeting book (we record who does the readings, who gave out chips, how much money was collected, etc.) This position requires at least 6 months of sobriety as money is being handled. One member does all of the shopping for the supplies we need. He orders our books as well. Then of course there are the following service positions that require some sober time: GSR, alternate GSR, secretary and treasurer. People are also needed to pass out books for book studies and to put the books away after the meeting. So StevesNotThere, there are a whole heckuva lot of things members can do to help out. Oh yeah, the trash needs to be taken out and tables washed down and floor mopped every now and then. Just look around and see what needs to be done and dive in!!!
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Squawking Hawk » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:02 am

Lali wrote:It's nice that these two guys you speak of, Hawk, who make the coffee have offered their services, but it is unfair to newcomers to not be given the opportunity to make the coffee too. I think it is time for them to turn it over to someone else.


I am sorry that I wasn't clear, I have long term sobriety. I was referring to service work that I was doing in my first home group when I got sober many, many years ago. I was sharing in response to the OP about the service that I did in the first weeks of my sobriety, that is all. The point is that while I wasn't making coffee, I was helping to set up the meeting and that is service work.

Whether or not the gentlemen that I spoke of who were doing the commitment of making coffee in my first home group held on to that commitment too long is not the point. My point is the service that I did when I first got sober and I am telling you that there was plenty for me to do without making the coffee.

Hawk

P.S. 8:24 AM EDT. Two gentlemen came about 1.5 hours early and all they did was to set up the two coffee urns and then they left. Someone, probably the treasurer brought two dozen doughnuts. It was suggested to me by sponsor that I get to the meeting early and help set up. And that is what I did for several months, there were at least a couple of people there early helping to set up, putting out the coffee urns, setting up the coffee cups, putting the doughnuts out, putting out ash trays, etc. Doing this sort of service helped me in my early weeks of sobriety.

I understand the concern that the two gentlemen that I spoke of held on to the coffee commitment too long and that the group allowed that. And I understand the concern that some of you may have that the treasurer bought the doughnuts. And I also understand that they way I wrote my first share made it sound like this group is still my home group and that perhaps I should bring up issues at a group conscious meeting. This was a group that I attended in 1984 when I first got sober, so the time period that I was referring to in my earlier post was 1984 and 1985.

It was a very large three-speaker meeting. I left the group about ten years later after a falling out and found another home group. And I moved out of the area several years later. What can I say, yes the group was a little set in its ways at the time I got sober, there was not elected service positions for making coffee (would have required a couple of people) and the treasurer was, by their group conscious, the person with the longest term sobriety. Yes, a little stodgy and a dated model, but that is the way that many three-speaker meetings were in those days. But those were the people that introduced me to the steps and the meeting my first sponsor attended.
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Lali » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:01 am

Thanks, Hawk, for clarifying. I forgot one very important service job - chairing meetings!
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby kenyal » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:47 am

Welcome Dave!

In addition to the jobs mentioned, if you have a car there are often men who instead must walk to meetings.
One new guy we'd seen at a meeting for several weeks agreed to come to coffee with us after and later we offered to drop him at his home. We found he'd been walking about 4-5 miles each way to get to that meeting for weeks, and he was in poor physical shape from his drinking. He'd had a car earlier but while drunk became mad at it and decided to divorce it on a rural road, never going back. Until he secured a car we took turns giving him rides. He's still sober and active 28 years later.

Newcomers often move. If your homegroup gets a lot of new people, members may have become very efficient at that. We could load up and deliver in a couple of hours, like a stream of ants.

You may as an individual have special abilities that can benefit newer people. I did small handyman-types of jobs occasionally, some automotive stuff, and some physical work beyond the capabilities of the elderly new people for no cost.

The unspoken rule in my group was generally to give our help to those newer people who were coming around, making an effort. Those who showed up once with requests most often got a cold reception.
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Squawking Hawk » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:37 am

Chairing meetings is always a good service opportunity. :D In the area where I live now, most meetings have a sobriety requirement for sharing meetings, usually three months although some groups conscience require more time. Of course, the sobriety requirement, if there even is any, might be different where you live. If it isn't clear of the group in question has a sobriety requirement for chairing the meeting (and it isn't always clear even at a group conscience meeting), always good to ask either at a group conscience meeting or asking someone privately (e.g. the current chair).

Some meetings in my area, especially the larger meetings have an elected greeter that stands near the door and welcomes people.

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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby DavesNotThere » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:24 pm

Thanks again everyone. I hadn't thought about the prep and cleanup needed just for regular meetings. My area needs someone to get meeting info to guys coming out of rehabs and such. I offered to do that since we don't have anyone but I'll help out at the meetings too.
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby Lali » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:42 am

Good for you, Dave! And thanks for bringing up this topic. It may help many a newcomer wondering what they can do.
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Re: What Service Can I Do?

Postby PaigeB » Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:56 am

I do both service in the face to face AA as well as online. E-aa has a month-long email business meeting as well as various committees to serve with online.
http://e-aameetings.org/mailman/listinf ... etings.org
We also belong to an Intergroup online
http://aa-intergroup.org/
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