Doing service work in AA, making coffee, speaking, sponsoring and the like, is essential to help newcomers and old timers alike to get out of their heads and into a better recovery.
I’ll never forget my first lesson in service work in Denver when my sponsor Marty suggested I speak at a treatment center when I was just a month sober.
“What can I offer them, I’ve only been sober a month,” I lamented.
“You’ve been sober a lot longer than most the folks in treatment,” Marty replied.
So, I went and shared my experience, strength and hope. The experience was great, it gave me a self-esteem boost and, more importantly, got me to quit thinking of my huge problems at the time, at least for just a little while. I learned that I could forget my problems for just a bit without using booze, drugs, etc. This was an important lesson for moving ahead in my recovery.
But now that we’re stuck in the ‘corona closet’ what can we do?
The first thing I did was hit an online AA chat (discordappcom). This free-for-all chat moves fast most the time and is somewhat superficial, but I have connected with newcomers and others have connected with me. Discord also has ‘meetings’ that are more traditional: an administrator, or trusted servant, polices the meeting. One person chats at a time all they want. When they are done they type in “GA” for go ahead.
To get in line to chat type in “!” and the administrator lists the next three chatters. If a new person joins in that doesn’t know the rules and cross talks, the administrator deletes their comment, tells them to type in “!” and wait their turn.
There are other ways to get involved: Uptown House and other clubs host online meetings where you can connect (see our website), sponsor, etc. You may still donate (not required, but we still have to pay the bills at Uptown House). You can also start and host your own online meeting. Call the St. Paul Intergroup Night Owl Line (651.227.5502).
Here’s a note from Intergroup: “Speaker assignments for speaker meetings, as well as Temporary Sponsorship assignments and 12th Step assignments will NOT be provided (with the exception of assignments made by our Night Owl volunteers—who will ask someone to CALL the person requesting a 12th Step. No personal visits will be arranged) due to this “Stay-At Home” order.”
Also, check out YouTube for recorded AA speakers and the like.
When I was in the throes of early sobriety, dealing with my troubled life sober for the first time, one mantra helped me make it through those dark nights: This too shall pass. (And it did!)
Indeed, this pandemic will someday pass, and we can all get back to normal. Faith, not fear!