Service Resentments!

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Service Resentments!

Postby triumphantarch » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:49 am

Hello everybody!

It has been quite a while since I wrote anything on a thread, but I check these forums nearly every day and always love hearing what people have to say! Maybe someone might want to weigh in on this topic: What do you do when you are starting to resent service work?

This is an old and tired Home Group scenario. A few people do all of the work. The rest complain about how things should be, but don't do any service work to effect the kind of change they would like to see. Heck, most of them don't even attend the monthly Group Business Meeting. I should say that this is actually not just a Home Group problem in my case. This is a District-wide phenomenon. A few people are rotating in and out of various positions. And--trust me--there is always LOTS of whining from people who are not willing to do anything.

I'm fed up. I hate it that I am fed up, too. Service work has been a HUGE part of my sobriety. I literally don't know where I'd be without service work. And, most of the time, I genuinely love being of service. I feel like a big fat baby, but I can't deny that this service work issue in my town is really starting to stick in my craw.

What do people think about this notion that floats around AA that one should "never say no" to a service opportunity? For years, I have never said "no". I have done lots and lots of service throughout my years of sobriety. And I am deeply grateful for it. But this THING happened recently . . .

I recently turned down a request to head up Alcoholics Anonymous activities at a local Health Fair because I will be out-of-town on the day the Fair takes place. It just didn't make any sense for me to organize this activity. Now, there is big, big, big drama involving the person I recruited to take over the whole affair, and the responsibility has been volleyed back into my lap. I'm feeling very angry this morning and needed to vent. Any input?

Thank so much! Hope everybody is enjoying some sober summer fun!

:)
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby PaigeB » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:44 am

Good morning triumphantarch! I hope you don't resent me chirping in here! lol

I too have heard "never say no" and I see that it is a few that do service work, some coming back after years off. I barely had 1 1/2 years when I took the GSR position and there is no one waiting in the wings to take it in January. Also, it seems there is no one except me standing in the wings to take the PI Chair and I am "encouraged" to do both. I am new... I am not resentful. I know that there were those who resented me for taking GSR so "young" but as my sponsor says (and my mother used to say) if you want it done right, do it yourself!

Which brings me to my thoughts on your service "resentment". You did what you could do now you gotta let it go. The person that you recruited will either sail or fail, but I doubt either will hurt Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole. Those who complain, (like I have) create a perfect service opportunity for themselves. If they refuse to stand, they lose the opportunity.

We are each bound to look only inside when we feel restless irritable & discontent, as the problem is invariably our own.
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: Service Resentments!

Postby triumphantarch » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:31 am

Thanks Paige! That's really good advice.

I actually spoke on the phone with a couple of people about the whole thing this morning and, with their help, was able to come up with some potential solutions. At the end of the day, one of the things I love most about AA is that there is always someone to turn to for help. There are always people who have walked this road before you whose experience, strength, and hope you can count on. That's one of the great things about this forum as well!

I believe so deeply in the Responsibility Pledge.

"I am responsible when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help. I want the hand of AA always to be there. For that, I am responsible."

I thought about that a lot this morning. I want AA to have a presence at this Health Fair; I think it is really important, and a golden opportunity to do some Public Information work in this community. There are things I can do to help put this together, even if I am going to be out-of-town. That's pretty much what I resolved.
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby PaigeB » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:21 pm

Help from all corners of the community! That is what I usually find as well. Glad you got it worked out... good for your emotional sobriety! :wink:
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby Tosh » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:21 pm

I've suffered with 'service resentments' too. My sponsor was great, he told me to dump some stuff back onto the group, "Tosh, an alcoholic CANNOT have a resentment!", and just to stick with ONE service job. At business meetings I just regurgitate my sponsors advice; i.e. that I only do one service job (actually I do three, coffee, GSR and co-treasurer, but weekly it's just the coffee).

And when I sponsor, I share my experience of taking on too much stuff and getting resentful about it to my sponsees, yet explain that everyone in A.A., who is capable, should have ONE service commitment.

To do more may lead to resentments and it may also deprive someone else of an opportunity to grow.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby triumphantarch » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:27 pm

Tosh wrote:
To do more may lead to resentments and it may also deprive someone else of an opportunity to grow.


That is almost verbatim what my sponsor told me. :)
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby leejosepho » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:44 am

I have always found it best to just stick to the things needing done within my own home group, and I say that as a member of a truly-autonomous home group with actual, self-declared members (rather than floating "members-at-large" such as can often be found "whining" at mere meetings mistakenly being called "groups"). Once actual recovery has taken place, I have found no "whiners" present within a true A.A. fellowship (an autonomous A.A. fellowship group).

When it comes to the matter of Area Assemblies and such, I try to just look at what common needs might actually be shared and in need of attention amongst my own home group and various others, then try to be helpful wherever I can.

Point: Tend to the matter of organism for the sake of the alcoholic and let "the organization" deal with its troubles related to itself on its own.
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby Tosh » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:25 am

triumphantarch wrote:
Tosh wrote:
To do more may lead to resentments and it may also deprive someone else of an opportunity to grow.


That is almost verbatim what my sponsor told me. :)


You don't think that I come up with anything original! I'm a Geordie! :mrgreen:
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:46 am

What do people think about this notion that floats around AA that one should "never say no" to a service opportunity?


I don't buy into this statement. I take on service opportunity if I am able to meet the obligation. The book even talks about "this being an avocation". But I do agree, it is selfish act, if one is a position to do service but refuse to do so.
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: Service Resentments!

Postby triumphantarch » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:52 am

leejosepho wrote:Point: Tend to the matter of organism for the sake of the alcoholic and let "the organization" deal with its troubles related to itself on its own.



Point well taken!
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby Tommy-S » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:11 pm

Hello and thanks for the topic... Lots of good input here.

One lesson that helped me is
"It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us."
(12 x 12, pg 90, Step 10)

My sponsor shortened this to whenever I say "I have a problem with..." to drop the 'with' and everything that follows.

"I have THE problem"...period.

People never do what I think they should, and things rarely go as I figure. An oldtimer once asked me "If you're so smart, Tommy, how'd you become alcoholic?" He was right, as it never was a plan :)

Today I 'try' to watch for that self-centered fear, the chief activator of my defects, fear that I will lose what I have or not get what I demand. (12 x 12, pg 76, Step 7)

And it helps to remember to reverse "Live & Let Live" to "LET LIVE & LIVE" for me, as when I allow others to be as screwed up as they want to be, I don't get resentful and have a better chance of beating this fatal malady we call Alcoholism.

"SERVICE, gladly rendered,...-- these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstances, no heap of material possessions, could possibly substitute."
(12 x 12, pg 124)

I serve and keep passing it on because it keeps me sober. Period. It's my life I am fighting for. And because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have a good life, and continue to do what got me it. 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: Service Resentments!

Postby Jaywalker Steve » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:33 pm

For me, resentments are like snakes. I don't know which are poisonous, so I can't play with any of them...PERIOD. Pages 66 and 67 of our book taught me how to deal with them.
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby triumphantarch » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:55 pm

Jaywalker Steve wrote:For me, resentments are like snakes. I don't know which are poisonous, so I can't play with any of them...PERIOD.



LOVE that! I think I'm going to steal that, if you don't mind. :wink:
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby ann2 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:37 am

I guess I'm lucky, I have a good sense of my priorities because I'm still raising my children -- hardly ever a sense of guilt about not being able to help out, but glad when I can. Also, my helping includes a lot of failures, so I figure if I can't do it there's no real loss! lol

I have had to make a distinction in my mind between AA service work and fulfilling some AA member's fantasy about AA service work. I'm not here to carry out another AA member's ideal of service, I'm here to help and grow and keep AA reaching out. If I'm doing that on a daily basis I'm good.

Right now 6 year old wants to start an art project -- off I go --

Ann
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Re: Service Resentments!

Postby Jaywalker Steve » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:43 am

triumphantarch wrote:LOVE that! I think I'm going to steal that, if you don't mind. :wink:


Please feel free. You can send royalty checks to the originator via PayPal. :lol: :wink: :oops:
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH
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