When I was new in Al‑Anon, the idea of service intimidated me. I thought it meant I had to make big decisions that would affect Al‑Anon all over the world. My thinking was so distorted. Luckily, the members in my home group were patient and led me by the hand to show me what it meant to be of service.

How many times did I hear seasoned members share how grateful they were for the opportunity to serve Al‑Anon beyond the group level and how those Area meetings provided the training ground where they learned to apply the Traditions and Concepts of Service? There was always something magical about the serene look on their faces that was so incredibly attractive to me. I wanted to have what they had.

My initial motivation to become involved in service was to get out of my own head and my own house. I sometimes felt stifled in my home—like I could only really breathe and feel comfortable in my own skin when I was around other members of Al‑Anon. District and Area meetings became my practice arena, where I developed self-esteem and confidence. I appreciated the love and kindness that was so freely shared with me. I became unafraid to raise my hand to volunteer. I discovered that there was nothing I had to do by myself and that nothing I did was going to break Al‑Anon! I was able to bring those behaviors into my home and model them with my colleagues at work.

I cannot imagine where I would be in my personal recovery if not for service beyond the group level. I was able to get to know Al‑Anon members from all over my Area—and sometimes outside my Area—when I participated in Area conventions! Realizing how far the hand of Al‑Anon can reach to offer help and hope to anyone affected by someone else’s drinking is one of the biggest gifts I’ve received from broadening my Al‑Anon circle through involvement in service beyond the group level.

I have come to realize that the only big decision I really need to make is to continue to be of service…anytime, anywhere!

By Sue P., Associate Director—Group Services

The Forum, July 2022

Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.