Personal Mission Statement: “I’m committed to being totally available and responsible to Mid-Southern California Area 09 members, to help provide a healthy infrastructure to communicate among individuals, Groups, Districts, Area, and the General Service Office, while using as few acronyms as possible!”
Yesterday, for the first time in history, hindsight was truly 2020! Having been blessed to be pulled from the hat to serve as your Panel 70 delegate in October 2019, I have now completed my first year as a newcomer-delegate and now transition into my last year as an oldtimer-delegate. Like Jesus O says, as an elected Panel 70 trusted servant, “We are either in our first year or we’re in our last year of service,” whether it be Delegate or General Service Representative (GSR), and everything “in between.” In my first month as your delegate, I stopped spelling delegate with a capital D. Just like I had to let go of the little p in the 1st Step to make room for the big P in the 2nd Step.
I honestly feel like I’ve lived up to my promise to give Area 09 one-hundred-and-ten percent of my energy, exceeding even the energy I’ve given to my biological consulting firm, now in its 27th year. And, I’ve come to believe that service equals love, and if God is Love, then the love I’ve given and taken from each of you in service has put me in touch with God. Service has truly given me a conscious contact with God through love of service. And, service is an inside job; something we do with equal energy, whether for only one person or for thousands of people. It’s all still one alcoholic serving another alcoholic.
Anonymity (and Zoom) have allowed me to attend hundreds of meetings where General Service is an outside issue and “delegate” is a meaningless word. I’ve trudged the road of happy destiny with you in dozens of District business meetings, workshops, speaking engagements, and Area meetings (where we’ve exterminated little bugs only to discover bigger bugs, like our 5.5-hour Zoom Area Service Committee meeting last month!). My ego has been stoked and my humility exercised, and I’ve learned a little more about being “big and little at the same time” (to quote Buddhist author, Pema Chödrön). When called upon to serve, I’ve been there in an official capacity; when not called upon, I’ve still been there, in no official capacity. I’m equally comfortable standing in front of you AND sitting beside you.
As longtime radio personality, Garrison Keillor has said, “I have a backstage view of myself.” I know the time I’ve spent preparing myself for some task but I’ve yet to see it as sacrifice. When I was a little kid in elementary school and I’d taken the time to do my homework, I remember the pride of sitting in class knowing I’d “done my time.” When District 18 asked me to talk about committee structure in September, my first impulse was fear, but I flipped it into a learning opportunity. Several times being asked to talk about a given Concept for 30 to 45 minutes, I studied the Service Manual for hours, seeing the Concept through a new pair of glasses, magnified by my 2020 experiences as your delegate. Given my secretarial tendencies, I can tell you that I’ve read and sometimes studied 49 pieces of Conference-approved literature in the form of books, pamphlets, guidelines, and service materials since January first of 2020. Not to mention reading 1,100 pages of background information, three times! Truly, I’ve learned more about A.A. in the last year than I did in the 15 previous years.
Everything I’ve learned at the Group level has applied to every other level of General Service I’ve experienced so far. Looking for the similarities while not judging the differences got me through my first years as a GSR, and I kept coming back experiencing the “politics” of General Service until service became an inside job, fulfilling in and of itself. I’ve never accepted a position in General Service that I knew how to do until I started doing it. And because former Trusted Servants kept coming back, I’ve had a wealth of experience to draw from when I didn’t know the answer, or even understand the question.
As an alcoholic, literally walking into A.A. with cardboard tied to the bottom of my otherwise bare feet, I learned that there is color in life, that it needed not be black and white. And now, General Service has taught me that there is something beyond color; that the spiritual part of service is like the wet part of the ocean, inseparable. Had I gone to only one International Convention, I would have told you that the 2010 convention in San Antonino was a once in a lifetime experience, except the 2015 International Convention in Atlanta showed me that once in a lifetime can happen twice, and hopefully a third time if I stay sober and don’t die before Vancouver in 2025.
So, I’m willing to believe that 2021 will be as wonderful as 2020 was if I keep taking the next indicated step, keep coming back, and keep my eyes open to see what is being revealed. I vow to you to continue giving you 110%, and humbly ask you to invite me to all of your business meetings, committee meetings, and even A.A. meetings. I promise to be as big and noisy or as little and quiet as you want me to be. In so doing, I believe that 2021 will be as memorable, and hopefully as productive, as 2020 was for all of us.
In Love and Service,