Grapevine Online Exclusive
Saving My Soul
Doing service in AA enhanced his spiritual recovery
At a recent workshop I attended, we were presented with the question, “How would you describe your motivation to engage in AA service work?”
My motivation to do service work was born of fear, confusion, and desperation. It was nurtured by relief, a sense of security, and obedience to God (and to my sponsor). It was further galvanized by a sense of responsibility to serve AA, the spiritual fellowship that saved my life.
By the age of 43, I had been pummeled into submission by my diseases and life. Living in the throes of my dual diagnoses of alcoholism and bipolar illness, I had inflicted great amounts of excruciating pain on others and on myself, created vast financial and emotional wreckage, generated nearly constant drama as only a true “child of chaos” can, waged many battles in the legal arena (civil and criminal), and alienated nearly everyone in my life.
When I walked through the doors of my AA home group on September 6, 2010, I was spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially bankrupt. And I was so tired of fighting that I was finally ready to surrender to God, the Steps, and the Fellowship. The gift of desperation left me “willing to go to any lengths,” and by God’s grace, I have been going to those lengths ever since—one day at a time.
To stay sober, sane and stable, to stay in recovery really, there are many things that I must do, including working the Steps, practicing the principles in all my affairs, going to meetings, working with my sponsor, prayer, seeking and doing God’s will, and seeking outside help.
Yet my recovery was missing a key element until just over a year ago when my sponsor introduced me to AA’s Third Legacy and our service structure. At his suggestion, I accepted the opportunity to become a GSR. And it has added dimensions to my spirituality and recovery that I couldn’t have imagined.
Before I became a trusted servant (GSR), I didn’t realize how important it was to give back to the organization that had saved my life and soul or that there was a service structure that required the time and effort freely given of so many of us to keep AA going.
When I first started as a GSR, it felt like a burden and, frankly, like a bit of a waste of my time. Now that I am further along in my spiritual awakening, I embrace opportunities to serve. Now that I understand what it takes to keep AA functioning and to ensure that the hand of AA is there for still suffering alcoholics, it is a joy to serve AA as both a GSR and as a leader of a Big Book study.
Enduring satisfaction, gratitude for the opportunity to give back to AA, an ever-expanding group of friends and acquaintances whom I have met at District and Area meetings, and the reward of knowing that service to AA is God’s will are strong incentives for me to continue doing AA service work one day at a time.
“Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. ‘How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.’ These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.”–AA Big Book, page 85
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)