Ego and Service

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Ego and Service

Postby Karl R » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:30 am

AA is about the only outfit where we can work our way from coffee-maker to committee member to Delegate, and in one day go back to being coffee-maker and not lose any prestige.

Copyright © The AA Grapevine, Inc. (February 1969 vol 25 no 9 ). Reprinted with permission.


A job that needs doing
Suggestion to Retired Committee Members
AA is about the only outfit where we can work our way from coffee-maker to committee member to Delegate, and in one day go back to being coffee-maker and not lose any prestige.

Oh, sometimes our ego gets hurt. We think, "They can't do this to me! Look how hard I worked for AA. I helped organize groups. I served as secretary, chairman. I got up in the middle of the night to call on sick guys. Why, that guy who got my job was taken to his first meeting by me. In fact, I almost carried him to meetings for weeks."

Then I remembered my sponsor. It took him three months to get me to my first meeting. I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for his patience and understanding. I'm glad he didn't give up. He has passed on now, eighteen years sober. I could name dozens more that were responsible for my coming from a padded cell, near death, to a sober and happy life. Well, not so happy at first. I got my family back, and then, after three and a half years of sobriety, I had a slip and lost them again. Since then, I've been living sober for over six years. I have now been married for a year to a wonderful girl, who has been sober the same length of time; we celebrate our birthdays together each Labor Day.

Now I am a responsible member of AA. Now I am part of us. For we can do what I couldn't do alone. We can wear many different hats in AA, as a committee member, as a coffee-maker, as chairman, as GSR, or as just one more person at a meeting.

But I must always take into account my ego. No matter how often it was deflated, it bounced back to "run things" for AA. I was an activist. I couldn't seem to calm down. I felt that AA couldn't get along without me! Then, suddenly, after being Mr. AA, with lots of titles, I was back home without a label. I felt lost, so I took my inventory. I took a new look at myself: what I was like, what had happened, and what I was like now. As my wife says, "It's all right to look back, but don't stare."

So now what do I do? Step aside and do nothing? No. I know better than that. After I crawled to AA, someone showed me how to walk. Now I have a new chance to help someone else out of his "wheelchair" and into the strength of the program. I can step back and look around me. I can help pick up loose ends, not as a bleeding deacon or an elder statesman, but as a working member, sober today, ready to help.

I take a look and pick a job that hasn't got a lot of glory to it. I see the Grapevine and read it through and say that everyone should read it, for it is a window on the whole AA world. Then I remember the good job lack H. did as Grapevine Representative for our State Committee, and recall that this is one job we in our district haven't done very well.

A job that needs doing
So now I have a label. I represent the Grapevine. I read little parts of interest from the current issue. I tell the story about the time I got drunk and my subscription ran out and my little granddaughter sent me a subscription for Christmas. (I stayed sober for four months then, maybe just through shame.)

I make suggestions for getting Grapevine subscriptions to the doctors and hospitals in our area, plus getting old copies to institutions. Someone asks me if I am working my way through college selling Grapevine subscriptions. I say "Yes," and it's true, too. I am learning a lot in my second time of growing up. Since I lost my precious titles, the meaning of our Second Tradition has finally sunk in: "Our leaders are but trusted servants. . . ."

I hope that old ego of mine stays deflated. I must remember that education means going from cocksure ignorance to thoughtful uncertainty. I can't live on past laurels. It's what I am doing right now that keeps me sober and thinking straight.

Anybody miss buying his Grapevine this month? If so, be sure to see me after the meeting. We have one copy left.

W. W. is one of four "known" State Committee Grapevine Representatives. (Oregon, California, and West Virginia provide the others.) Does your State or Provincial Committee have such an office? Please let us know if it does.

All Areas, Districts, and groups can expand the sharing of AA involvement by appointing Grapevine Representatives (GvRs, we call 'em).

Material will be sent to each new GvR as we receive the name and address. - The Editors

W. W.
Edmonds, Washington
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Karl R
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