There are few things more inspirational than the look in a newcomer’s eyes when they “get it”; that moment when he/she understands the incomprehensible demoralization can come to an end. I see it in the rooms when someone shares a story that a newcomer relates to, after the meeting when a sincere conversation changes fear to hope. I have witnessed it in treatment centers and in jails when the listener’s head bobs in a “me too, me too” connection with the speaker. I have seen it sitting in a meeting when a terrified face glances around and softens as the result of a comforting smile. These are all forms of service: the witness, the sharing, adding to the community of the meeting rooms, and going to rehabs and jails. You cannot underestimate the power of each; none more important than another. Each one can be so fulfilling to the person offering this kindness; not the purpose, but it lifts the spirits in a way nothing else can.
In addition to the meeting by meeting, person to person service that can inspire and enlighten recovery is the service we can provide the meeting structure itself, the region and the good of all your recovery groups. For me this is the Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step groups: for you it could be another. Serving at the group level from anything from greeter to coffee-maker, from secretary to representative at a regional or national level in any of the organizations that make this miracle work. I have recently been reading the traditions with a sponsee (service to me and to her) and have remembered a lot that I have learned about the “most disorganized organization” that has ever been able to survive.
We have specific instructions about how to use the money from the baskets: first being “self supporting through our own contributions”: rent, coffee, and literature are the basics. Excess gets divided in a specific way according to your region. Our service here is monetary but not required; “there are no dues or fees”. A person will volunteer as treasurer and give regular reports about how the money was distributed. Hospital and Institution contributions are specific and given to that arm of our recovery group. We can serve in that group. We can also serve in the regional representation of all groups (intergroup). These positions allow us to see the greater good, organization, and personalities of recovery.
Now, in 2017, the opportunities to serve now have taken on a broader stage: there are online meetings which need speakers and chairpersons (think not only of pajama days when you don’t want to go out, being on travel or vacation—but those who are bedridden or cannot leave their homes for one reason or another) they, too, now can access meetings online. This is a service. It can be an international communion of people who want to get clean/sober/abstinent and those who have long term recovery and want to share their experience strength and hope in another forum. (www.intherooms.com is one of these sites.) There are closed and open Facebook groups that support recovery and the challenges of relapse prevention. Posting solutions and positive encouragement is another way to be of service (share the message, not the mess.) Coming from a positive, solution based place begins to retrain your brain to move to the healing and away from remembering and repeating the negative to yourself.
One to one for the benefit of each, person to group for the benefit of your community, person to group for the benefit of all communities, and in a virtual way supporting your recovery by supporting others in theirs is all useful service. Remember we do this letting go of results, not to force change but to offer “a new freedom and a new happiness”. And the secret of service is that you benefit your own recovery in an inspirational way—giving and expressing gratitude. Namaste.