“When by devoted service to family, friends, business, or community we attract widespread affection and are sometimes singled out for posts of greater responsibility and trust, we try to be humbly grateful and exert ourselves the more in a spirit of love and service.” – 12&12 p.124, Step Twelve.
This passage from the 12&12 really resonates with me, as it explains what service to others is all about, be they people who belong to the program of A.A. or anyone you come across on a given day. Service is the biggest and most important part of the program, because without it, A.A. wouldn’t exist or thrive like it does today.
Service comes in all forms: sponsors helping to take sponsees through the 12 Steps, greeting newcomers with open and loving arms, taking others to meetings, and having a commitment at an A.A. meeting. Service by no means has to be only towards fellow A.A.’s. To be of service to anyone is a key factor in recovery. Just being kind and thoughtful towards everyone you come across, whatever action that may be, is a form of service.
Unfortunately, some A.A.’s think that being of service should come with its rewards and praise, but it most certainly is not about that. Those trying to be of service ought not want to do something to win over someone’s respect or admiration but to honestly want to help that person for the greater good. Service is not done to make a person feel good about himself; it’s about truly wanting to assist someone, helping him or her grow, and to be a better a person. I believe feeling grateful for improving someone’s life is what it’s all about.
Step 12 in the Big Book strictly relates to being of service, stating, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Carrying the message of A.A. to fellow alcoholics is vital to both the messenger and the receiver of the message. We should all carry the message and live a life full of unending service.