Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published March 2011.

Web Exclusive: Confessions of a General Service Geek

Don’t be afraid. You can love General Service too.

"Don’t be ashamed of your geekitude, embrace it! Be it!"

I am that strange breed of AA animal called a General Service Geek. I actually can pinpoint the exact moment when my geekiness was birthed. I had been sober for a year and a half and thought I knew everything there was to know about AA, the Twelve Steps, and Twelve Traditions, yada yada yada. Then I got a sponsor who started to talk about the Twelve Concepts and warranties and charters and all those strange acronyms I had never come across before. I was intrigued that there was a huge part of AA that I had somehow been completely ignorant about.

In hindsight there were telltale signs that I destined for general service. One was that I actually enjoyed business meetings. The first home group I belonged to had a simply phenomenal business meeting. I came to my first one with a written list (!) of things I thought the group should change about the way they ran their meeting. Instead of dismissing me as a confused and arrogant newbie, they listened to each and every one of my concerns and discussed them thoroughly (before voting them all down!). I was most impressed by how the group actually did place principles before personalities. I got to see how the traditions really can and do work in a group. One of the most remarkable things I experienced was when I was arguing heatedly with a member of the group about some matter of earth-shattering importance (like how much coffee we should make) and he all of a sudden heard something that clicked and immediately changed his mind and his vote. I was floored. I would never do that. I would be in an argument, knowing I was wrong, and yet still keep pleading my case. To really listen to other viewpoints and honestly assess them alongside my own was a skill I learned in AA business meetings.

-- Tony W.

Fairfield, California

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