In my early days in SA I was single, had no job, no car, no money, and a lot of time. It was 2009, and because of the economic crisis I was unemployed. I attended three to four meetings a week, called my sponsor daily, wrote my Step work daily, and translated the whole White Book, Big Book, and Recovery Continues into my native language within a year. Still, I had plenty of time left because I was no longer filling up every spare minute with lust. I took on many service positions like coffee person, cleaning up after the meeting, literature person, chair, treasurer, and opener.
My first year, I was involved with organizing an SA Step Workshop. At the end of the weekend, we made a list of chores for which attendees could sign up. When I looked at the list, still half empty, I noticed that the speaker of the weekend—a fellow with 14 years of sobriety—had signed up for cleaning the toilets. Nobody else had! I intuitively put my name next to his. Together, we cleaned the toilets. To me, this was a spiritual awakening and the highlight of the weekend. He later became my sponsor.
I was also involved in starting up an Intergroup in my country. I became chair of the Intergroup for two consecutive terms. Meanwhile, I also became a secretary in the Regional Assembly. Soon I was an Alternate Delegate as well and attended the General Delegate Assembly in 2013, with barely four years of sobriety. Although it was very ambitious, this actually overwhelmed me. I realized that this was a bit too much, so I stopped taking on service at that level.
The role of pioneering a newly emerging SA fellowship in my country was a gift, a blessing, and a joy to me. However, entrusting the permanent leadership to the group conscience has been a journey. With my personality, it is not easy to work in a team. Not for me, and not for the team. Usually I intuitively and quickly know what is best to do. The only thing the team needs to do is to agree with me. Since I hate waiting and postponing for slow people, I just start doing what I want to do anyway. It is easy to see that this has little to do with group conscience. I am so grateful that God, in His infinite wisdom, has handed me over to a group of sex drunks, who are so slow in decision-making and so averse to authority, that I have no other choice but to surrender and give up. It has been my only chance for sobriety and the best thing that could have happened to me.
I met my wife-to-be in 2014. We married a year later. I slowly rotated out of the Intergroup, out of the Regional Assembly, and out of nearly all the positions I was holding. I haven’t attended an Intergroup or an Assembly since. This has been a relief for me and most likely a blessing for them. I am very grateful for all the service opportunities that I could take in the first few years of my recovery. Without it, I wouldn’t have made it. It was a wonderful and exciting time for me.
Today I have a wife, three children, a car, a job, a house, and very, very little time. I learned that there are many other ways to do service, apart from holding positions within the service structure. I could attend conventions, speak at meetings, sponsor people in sober dating, organize workshops or write articles for ESSAY. My sponsor is teaching me that having a good quality of life is, for me, the best service I can give to the fellowship. This means that giving my time to my family and my work is not depriving the fellowship of service I owe to it.
Some services are very dear to me, and I continue doing them with great joy. First is being an opener for the meeting I’d set up six years ago. It is still my home group meeting. Second, I have made myself available for overseeing and coordinating the translation of our fellowship literature into Dutch. It is a joy to be doing this together with our neighboring country.
Third, more than anything else, I enjoy working with members in the process of sober dating. At one of the first conventions I attended, I heard one member share that SA does not have a negative sobriety definition of everything we cannot do, but a positive sobriety definition of believing in marriage for the sexaholic. To see a love cripple finding that belief and actually proposing to a woman is one of the most beautiful gifts of this program.
Daan L., Den Hague, the Netherlands