November 27: What Service means to me in my recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous

Being of Service and what it has meant to my sobriety.


Dr. Bob, one of the co-founders of AA, often said, “Love is Service in Action.”

I was fortunate to belong to an active Home Group where service commitments were strongly encouraged.


After I had been sober about a month, my Sponsor suggested I get two service commitments a week. One would be at my Home Group and the other would be at another meeting I regularly attended. She told me the importance of Service was for the following reasons:

·      It was an important factor in feeling a part of; and for an alcoholic whose default position is feeling apart from, this would make a profound difference in my recovery.

·      It would keep me coming back to meetings on the days when I didn’t want to come to meetings.

·      It would teach me about responsibility, about the importance of being accountable to the group- that I was never to miss my commitment and if some calamity should be-fall me and I did miss, it was up to me to contact another AA member to fulfill my commitment; I was to call the Secretary and let her know I wouldn’t be at the meeting and who was filling in for me.

·      It would help me to get to know the faces in my meetings and just as I would get to know them, they would get to know me. She told me this was important because Alcoholics tend to isolate. If I was not attending the meeting, other regular members would call to check on me. Also, she said, I was to check on them if they weren’t present.


Service became another tool of my sobriety. I was taught by my sponsor to ask the Secretary for a commitment and ask, “Where can I be of service to the meeting? The Secretary would tell me what commitment I would have.


I was in my first year of sobriety and we were rotating commitments. I asked the Secretary what commitment is available? She said, “cleaning the women’s restroom.” Oh my. I was so offended! I didn’t say anything but went directly to my sponsor and told her. My Sponsor asked why I was so offended. I said, “Cleaning the bathroom is beneath me!” She said, “I think that would be the perfect commitment for you then. Your ego will thank you later.”


One more story on service and then I’ll stop.


 I was at the same meeting a couple of years later and a friend of mine who was new to the group was called on to share. He went on a tear about the meeting, he said he didn’t feel a part of, and everyone was in cliques at the meeting. Another member was called on to share after this and said, “if you’re not feeling a part of, ask yourself if you are taking the action to be a part of.” I have never forgotten that. Whenever I feel apart from at a meeting, it is imperative I self-inventory and question myself, “Am I giving to the meeting rather than taking?”


TOPIC: “What Service means to me in my recovery in Alcoholic Anonymous”


Thank you for the opportunity to share with you my experience, strength, and hope! Great blessings to each of you.


Kim O’Connor

July 1, 1990