I recently had a reason to really think about how much time I devote to AA and AA activities. It’s licensing time at my work, and that means, for me, a lot of extra work as we get ready then live through it. It happens every year, for sure, and I should be better about it after all these years. I am better about it, but still not great. We’ve had lots of new clients, which is a good thing and a blessing, but new clients bring more work. My work partner’s husband got seriously ill and then died this year. We lost some key staff and we have been disappointed by other staff. But I digress.
AA has asked a little bit more of me recently. Through most of the last fifteen years of my sobriety, I’ve coasted along very nicely at a pace I enjoy. I got to one or two meetings a week, including the group I helped found, and I do little extra jobs there most of the time. I read AA-related literature with Carole most workday mornings and on my own at a slower pace. I write here and read AA blogs and I help when I’m asked.
I guess that’s what’s increased. Without being too specific, just because real people are involved, I will say more people have asked me for more and different help than usual.
It has always, always, been a profound blessing to me to be asked for help in AA. My own story would have ended when I was not yet 22, and actually way before that had not the good people of AA helped me and helped me and helped me. I honestly see any help I can give today as a way to pay those people back. It’s also a way to keep AA going into the future. And, oh yeah, the program tells me I have to give it away to keep it. I am seriously invested in keeping it. Helping others gives me life. And it is a joy.
Then there’s the introverted me who needs time to do nothing, and to do it alone or in the small context of my small family. At thirty years sober I don’t need a meeting every day. If I ever do need that, I will joyfully attend and be grateful they exist. But two is good for me right now. When my kids were younger, it was often one meeting a week. I put my personal minimum at that and kept it religiously. Also, for my sanity, working five days a week works great for me. Again, in past times when I had to work six days a week I did so gratefully, but that’s not now.
Anyway I had these increasing works demands, and suddenly these increasing AA demands, and I really thought, “How much time should I give AA?” How much time, in order to live the best possible life I can live? Because it is, of course, all about me.
And I thought about it and I decided. I have to give AA all the time there is, if that’s what’s asked. All my time, since May 1, 1984, belongs to AA. The other things that ask for my time, including my job, exist for me because first there was AA. AA didn’t put a limit on the time it gave me. It gave me as much time as I needed, and it still does. I’ll never be able to repay it.