What Is Service?

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I hear everyone talking about “doing service” or “getting a service commitment” at meetings. What does that mean?

In case you haven’t figured out by now, one of the main reasons that you ended up in AA is that you’re a highly self-centered person who abused alcohol to calm your own neuroses about yourself. Just kidding. Sort of.

Service is one of the tools of the program that helps us get out of our own heads and help other people. The funny thing is that it helps us more in the end than it actually helps others.

You might be thinking to yourself what’s the big deal about making the coffee for the meeting? Well, first of all, people are relying on you. If you’re anything like us in our drinking lives, we let people down all the time. If you’re the gal who makes the coffee for the meeting, you have to get there early. You have to make sure that there are supplies. You have to make the coffee, put out the stuff, and make sure it’s ready in time. People like having coffee at the meeting. And when they show up right before it starts and can have a nice warm cup that’s because of you. Hey now you’re actually starting to be somewhat reliable. Feels good doesn’t it? There is a method to this madness.

There are other service commitments too. You can be a greeter. That’s the person who says his to people when they come into the meeting and shakes their hands. You can help setup or break down the meeting. Once you have a little time you might be asked to lead a meeting. You can be the literature person who orders the books and keep track of the money and inventory. You can be the treasurer who passes the basket and keeps the meeting’s financial records. There are also positions at the intergroup and district level to help AA function on a larger scale.

Basically, if you’re looking to help out, there are tons of jobs at a meeting. But what about if you’re just getting started and all of the service commitments are already filled? Ask how you can help. Show up early and just help put out the chairs. Put away chairs at the end of the meeting. Any help is welcome.

And remember service doesn’t always have to be at the meeting level. You can call someone with less time than you or even more time for that matter just to see how they’re doing. You can volunteer in your community. You can pick up a piece of trash that you see on the street.

Service is all about giving back rather than taking. And trust us, it’s worth it. You’ll feel great!