By Alexandra Rose
“We have to give it away to keep it,” is a saying I hear over and over in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Helping a fellow alcoholic is essential in this program. Being of service is what helps us stay sober. I know that when I am in my head, helping another alcoholic is the solution.
I also hear in a lot of shares that it doesn’t matter how much time you have, you can always help someone who has less time than you. That means that even if you have for example fifteen days, you are able to help someone with ten days. Even a newcomer can help me stay grounded in this program. They remind me of what it was like and what happened. When I am sitting with my sponsor at a meeting after we finish step work he says, “now go over there and introduce yourself to the girl who is sitting alone.”
A fellow alcoholic that I know is one of the most service orientated people I’ve seen in the rooms. She has a lot of time sober and is still so involved with this program. From commitments, to sponsees, and just showing up she is such an example of what I strive to be in Alcoholics Anonymous. She constantly repeats that being of service is the lifeblood of this program and without giving it away she would not stay sober. This is something my sponsor has also provided an example for. When I call him and complain about something so insignificant he asks if I’ve helped another alcoholic. The answer is usually, no in which immediately I see the solution.
I can have the worst day and I know that if I make a phone call or stick my hand out to someone who needs help, I instantly get out of my twisted thinking. With four years of sobriety I feel an obligation to be of service as much as I can. I take commitments, I stand up for the sponsorship announcement, and I never turn down an AA request.
When I am of maximum service I feel that I am an example of this program. Think about if we just got sober and then felt no need to pass along the message, there wouldn’t be A.A. Today I am going to call a newcomer and ask them how they are doing. I am going to get out of myself and help another alcoholic.