I’d like to share with you the wonderful results in my own daily life of “trying to carry the message to others.”
Many years ago, the Los Angeles S-Anon groups voted to take on the responsibility of housing S-Anon’s “central office,” as we called it back then. It had basically existed in a packing box in Oklahoma City, and was in Phoenix, Arizona before that. This was a golden opportunity for someone like me – who knew everything, could fix everything, and could use just about anything to separate myself from my feelings.
I must admit that I did hesitate, at first, about jumping into service work too deep, but I did, head first and without a seat belt on. However, I was armed with willingness, a desire to serve, the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, and a dedicated but small group of S-Anon members from all over the country. I joined a committee to set up a committee, which became the S-Anon International Committee (SIC); I then served on the SIC for three years. As I look back over the last four years I am astounded at how my life has changed and at how important this service work has been to my development in recovery. I feel as though in working to carry the message, I have had one spiritual awakening after the other. Which came first…?
I’ve had the privilege of working and laughing with a loving, supportive committee of people from all over the country. I’ve learned flexibility. I’ve found humility and how to consider others, as well as myself, in a way that I’ve never been able or willing to do before.
Step Seven in our literature reminds me that “We frequently misunderstand the word humility.” I am reminded of that sentence when I realize that initially my pride and ambition sometimes got in the way of my being of service to the fellowship as a whole. I realize now that my true motive was to be of service to the group, to newcomers that have not yet reached our doors, as well as to those that have been around for some time, but often my “best thinking” got in the way.
Reading literature on Step 7 allows me to look at how far I have come, and I see that my continuing commitment to the program and to my service obligations, showing up and being willing to be teachable, has made it possible for me to realize how important humility is in building my character, and how important it is in keeping me connected with my Higher Power.
I’ve always thought of myself as an artist, and nothing but an artist. Although I run my own art studio, I could not think of myself as a business person (“I’m not smart enough, don’t have what it takes, can’t type… etc.”) But as my SIC service work started to include more and more involvement with S-Anon’s business affairs, it fit right in with learning business procedures in my own business, and vice versa. And today, looking at these accomplishments, I can truly call myself a Business Administrator! What a gift, and what a miracle!
These are but a few of the many gifts I’ve received as a result of giving back what I have been so freely given. For those of you who are new among us, service work can be setting up chairs, making the coffee, volunteering to call other newcomers, and just coming back! For those of you who have been around for a while and are thinking of taking the plunge, I recommend it highly. You can serve as secretary or treasurer of your group, start new meetings, answer the hotline in your area, giving your experience, strength and hope to another, send your group news to the WSO, or serve as Delegate for your Area. There are a lot of opportunities – talk to another S-Anon member or visit the web site at www.sanon.org!
Reprinted from the 1991 Summer issue of S-Anews©.