Bill Y., Sunbury OH - AA Member since January 1999
My Growth Through Service to Others and AA as a Whole
When I came to AA, I did not know how to be of service to other people or to a group of people with a common cause like my first AA home group. I had to learn everything that was going to be useful and lifesaving.
My sponsor had to teach me, one example at a time. In my early AA days, my sponsor suggested that we show up "together" early at a meeting and greet people. We were going to be doing something that made others feel welcomed in a simple way and not expect anything in return. At that time, I didn't know how this would become the bedrock of my appreciation of being of service. And it didn't take much willingness or instructions.
Later, I was asked if I would be willing to be a home group secretary and setup the meeting so it would be ready for others to find hope. That person promised to help me learn and stay beside me as long as needed. Group service taught me that people really appreciate arriving at an unlocked door and an inviting room ready for an AA meeting. Importantly, I didn't need to hear it from anyone for my own ego boost; rather, I could see it in their smiles and the relief on their faces.
Eventually, I was asked to be my group representative to area service. I relied on what I had learned by greeting and setting up a meeting. I was willing to ask questions so I might understand the work and responsibilities of area service and not assume my opinions mattered before I knew the job. After serving as a group representative, I was asked and agreed to be the district treasurer, and after that I was elected by my peers to be the district committee member. At each step forward, I kept practicing the fundamental principles I had been learning from the start of my service work.
I stayed in area general service for many, many years doing many different jobs. I became more eager to learn about the work of AA that needed to be done - asking others to explain the history and always wanting to leave behind a job well done. I became passionate about helping others who were coming after me to understand the principles of service and the everyday work that needed to be done unconditionally.
The profound benefits of my service to others, to my home group and to AA as a larger whole helped restore me to become a useful person. I made a decision to "step up" and become willing to be a service sponsor for others who asked. Service sponsorship experiences has been the most rewarding part of my entire AA journey as I watch others grow into dedicated and humble servant leaders of the fellowship.
Today, I always start at the beginning when a person asks me how AA service will help them get sober. I might say something like, "Let's go to a meeting and welcome people at the door."