Question 1) How many of you went to your first Intergroup meeting, took a service position or started sponsoring because your sponsor said you needed to do some service?
Question 2) How many of you have asked, suggested, or even required your sponsees to do a similar service?
Do you remember in the Big Book that the program of Alcoholics Anonymous did not start when Bill W. got sober but when he carried the message to another person? And how did our OA program start? Rosanne got an idea and then got several people together for a meeting. Service is a very necessary part of our Twelve Step program.
The best way to get people to into service is to ask them to help you on a specific project. The worst way is to make a general announcement – “We need something done...” I love that silly story about nothing getting done because every one thought that some one else would do the job, but no one did. I had a wonderful experience when I asked one fairly new woman to help with something. She said yes, did a great job and then went on over the years to being an Intergroup Representative, a WSBC Delegate, Intergroup Chair, and then the Chair of the Region.
How many times have we heard the lament -- no one will step up and do service? Or that there are not enough abstinent sponsors. One of the sayings I used to hear around program was, “You can’t keep it unless you give it away!” And I noticed that the people who were really recovering did certain things: like share, sponsor, do service, and got involved at Intergroup.
I get a bit irritated with members who seem to think that they have to be perfect before they can sponsor. I have watched as people tell fairly new members that they can’t sponsor them. The newcomer does not understand why they are being told no -- all they hear is the NO! They feel that they are being rejected.
The answer to a request for sponsorship should NEVER EVER be NO! There are so many nicer things to say -- I will be glad to take calls, let me help you find someone, or here is one of the people I sponsor, she/he is ready to sponsor. But please do not say NO!
Tell your sponsees that it is time for them to step up and do service. They can start by doing something really simple at a meeting like setting up chairs or greeting people at the door, they could be the group representative to Intergroup, they can help on a committee, or be a sponsor.
I know I made a bunch of mistakes when I was first sponsoring, but remember that you can always say to a newer member, “Gee, I don't know. Let me check with my sponsor and get back to you.” It is my own responsibility to work my own program and my program is only as good as I make it. Sponsors are not perfect and do not need to be. Simply be willing to try to give away what you have been given.
Go forth and do service!
Margie G. - Region One