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Service Center

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I have been abstinent now seven and a half years, and service has given me so many blessings. Here are just a few:

Service gave me courage to stick around. I arrived at my first OA meeting about ten minutes early, nervous and contemplating leaving. I saw somebody setting up chairs; she had about fifty to arrange, all by herself. I started to help. As we set up chairs, she asked me about myself and told me a little bit about herself. OA began to seem a little less scary.

Service taught me I was not as unique as I thought. By the time I started my second round of working the Steps, I had learned how freeing it can be to try complete honesty with another human being. And I was ready to feel free. I told my deepest, darkest secret to my sponsor. Much to my surprise, she said she had done something very similar. I thought how fortunate I was to find the one person in the whole world who had done what I had done.

Then I started sponsoring. As one of my sponsees read her Fourth Step inventory to me, I heard a familiar story. The details were slightly different, but she too had done what I had done. She looked at me fearfully and asked what I thought. I laughed lovingly and told her I had done the same thing and so had my sponsor!

Service helped me get through big transitions. No matter how busy or crazy my life is, doing service makes it better. Recently, I spent four years working and studying seven days a week. During that time, I took a position as Twelfth Step Within chair on our intergroup board. I was very busy with my personal and professional life, but working at intergroup level helped make everything else in my life possible. My program is stronger when I use this Tool. Service serves as an anchor, keeping me close to program no matter what life throws at me.

Service kept me in the center of the pack. As long as I am alive, I will be susceptible to relapse. I have found it best to stay in the center of the pack because if I am on the sidelines, I can easily drift away. Staying in the center by leading meetings, setting up chairs, and sponsoring buffers me from relapse. It keeps me connected to my fellows and helps ensure my program is moving in the right direction.

Service is both a Tool and an integral part of our Steps. I have found I cannot maintain long-term abstinence without it.

— Anonymous

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