by Jillian E.
One of the principles I learned in A.A. is to do more service when I am feeling shaky. The Big Book says, “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail” (p. 89). When I was going through a difficult divorce, I knew that one way to see more newcomers in my life was to join either H&I (Hospitals and Institutions) or Teleservice.
Teleservice takes very little time
My first commitment was Teleservice rep for my home group. The responsibility of the meeting rep is to make a weekly announcement about what Teleservice is and also to attend the Teleservice business meeting in order to learn how it works and bring pertinent information back to the group.
At the business meeting monthly I found an amazing group of committed people serving still-suffering alcoholics. I immediately took a couple of volunteer phone line shifts as well. In my years as a phone volunteer, I have talked to alcoholics from all over the United States. One time I helped a woman find a meeting near her home in Detroit (using my computer—she didn’t have one). On another call I talked to a man from somewhere near Dallas to help him find a meeting near his home. I have also helped countless people find meetings in Marin and SF.
It is unbelievably rewarding to know that I am helping, as The Big Book says, when no one else can
Sometimes potential volunteers tell me they are afraid they won’t know what to say if they take a shift. I say, “Act the way you would if you met a newcomer at a meeting.” I have the 20 questions available because I always ask a caller, “Do you think you have a problem with alcohol?”
Since my early involvement in Teleservice I have been a volunteer coordinator, the orientation coordinator, the 12-step worker list coordinator (where I taught a workshop on how to do a 12-step call). This year I am the chairperson for the committee. Teleservice is a straightforward and simple commitment which has given my sobriety more depth. It takes very little time and is unbelievably rewarding to know that I am helping, as The Big Book says, when no one else can. I can gain the confidence of another alcoholic when “normies” would not. My life has, in fact, taken on new meaning.
Service helps insure this A.A.’s immunity from drinking
As chairperson for Marin Teleservice I ask you, if you are a meeting rep, to please attend our brief business meeting on the fourth Tuesday of the month (7:30 p.m. at the Marin Alano Club). In January, the committee officer positions will all open up. They are all relatively simple and not time consuming. We need your energy, help and input—and the service will help keep you sober!