Service & Giving

Cornerstone of AA

Why must you serve? Because service is vital to the continuance of Twelve-Step programs like AA, and you will need them to insure your own recovery.

You can’t keep it unless you give it away. It just works that way. We might speculate on some reasons why that happens:

  • Through service you feel good about yourself.
  • You become grateful by seeing others where you have been.
  • It helps your sense of belonging to a vital group.
  • You get to hear yourself affirming your commitment to recovery.

You can give in scores of ways. You can be part of carrying the message to those who still suffer. You can locate a place to have a meeting, order literature, chair the meeting occasionally, serve as a representative to Intergroup or other service bodies, or help bring a meeting into an institution, including a treatment Center.


The best time to start is now.

For How Long?

Some Twelve-Step group members feel they have reached a point in their recovery where they have given enough and no longer need to be active in the fellowship. This may follow a certain length of sobriety or abstinence (or a goal weight). But real recovery results in a deep and continuing gratitude for the gift you have been given, and creates a natural need to give it back. This is true humility, and what keeps the Twelve-Step programs going.

Pitfalls of Service

There are a few dangers to avoid. The first is ego. If you are or become a big shot in the Program, your chances for long-term sobriety, abstinence, moderation, good recovery, and a spiritual awakening are less than average. There is no place for status in an anonymous program.

Don’t forget balance. You will need to give enough time to your recovery, but also some to your family, your personal growth, your relationships, and your career.

Service & giving, see also: Anonymity, Enabling, Gratitude, Humility, Intervention, Love & caring, Meetings, Recovery, Responsibility, Self-cenfteredness, Sponsorship, Step Twelve, Tools of recovery, Traditions of AA.

Updated 11 Sep 2015

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