Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published March 2014.

Thoughts On General Service

The hand of AA was there before he went to a meeting when he first reached out for help

While I was still jittery in my early recovery, an energetic and entertaining speaker drew my attention to a statement appearing on the back of several of the pamphlets: "I am responsible… When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible." I immediately liked the sound of it. I needed help. The people in AA were offering me help. And once I had been helped, it would then be my responsibility to offer help to others. I was very comfortable with that concept.

Once I was settled in recovery, my curiosity about how AA, the organization, worked led me to attend service workshops and district business meetings as an observer. I stumbled across a busy hive of activity nobody had told me about and that most AA members seemed unaware of. I was fascinated by this discovery. A man at one of these functions asked me what I thought about general service. I replied that I found this "invisible AA" very interesting. He sternly told me that "this is not invisible AA; this is AA." I had no idea what he was getting at.

-- William C.

Sykesville, Maryland

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