Bucket Brigade Night Service

by Kim C.

Nearing the end of my Teleservice commitment next month, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my experience and express my thanks. Over a year ago, my sponsor and I were trying to identify a 12-step activity that would be a good fit for me. In the past, my ego had gotten over-involved in any role I would categorize as caregiving. I had to learn the difference between caregiving and being of service.

If I’m not aware, caregiving can result in my over-focus on outcomes as a reflection of me. I can fall into the trap that my job is to deliver my message, not the message. If I don’t stay attached to the program, I can become attached to the idea that it is me helping someone, not A.A. or God, and I cannot carry that load.

Part of a bucket brigade, keeping the service available around the clock

Through Teleservice, I’ve realized that delivering the message is a simple as picking up the phone. I love the continuity that Teleservice provides. I feel like part of a bucket brigade, keeping the service available around the clock. A live person can be reached throughout the day, a 24-hour offering. The day’s coordinator cheerfully requests confirmation of those taking over the line and finds substitutes from the volunteer pool if needed. I always felt appreciated and part of a team.

I chose the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift due to work schedule challenges with the other shifts. I’m not a night owl. In my using days, outside issues kept me awake at night for more drinking. Taking the night shift meant that the caller did not have a sharp talker at the other end of the line. As it turned out for me, that didn’t matter. Callers mostly wanted to talk. Many of the callers at those hours were under the influence and were arguing with the A.A. voices in their heads. There was nothing I could add but acceptance of the struggle, love for the person struggling. Others were sober and were feeling the long, dark night. Maybe they attended a meeting and were working through something they heard, said or didn’t say.

At night it’s a little different

photo credits available upon request to thepoint@aasfmarin.org

Teleservice at night is a little different from the other shifts. We have a little more time to listen and less concern about keeping the lines open for other callers or referring to 12-step volunteers.

By the end of the year I learned to be more thoughtful to my partner. I now take the calls in the living room and sleep on the comfy sofa. It’s a whole different experience sleeping on the sofa while I’m being of service (not because of an alcohol-fueled, resentment-laden fight).

I think I’m ready for an H and I commitment.

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