The triangle in Alcoholics Anonymous represents the three legacies of the program – Unity, Service, Recovery. It’s my firm belief that you need to practice all three of these to remain a healthy sober individual. Some people try to stay sober by just going to meetings. This is called Fellowship Sobriety and while it may work for some, for the hard core alcoholic/addict (Type Three) it just won’t do. Eventually it just becomes frothy, emotional appeal which the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us will simply not suffice. After saying all this I firmly believe that Fellowship (AKA: unity) is vitally important to remaining sober but only if it’s combined with the other two legacies.
When I began my journey of recovery I was still fuzzy in the head, had emotions coming out of the wazoo and was still on shaky grounds on the Homefront. The majority of my bridges were burned. All of a sudden I met a group of people who not only welcomed me with open arms but told me to come back. No one had told me to come back in a very long time. This genuine love allowed me the bit of hope I needed to begin the Recovery part of my journey.
When I talk about the Recovery part I am referring to the 12 Steps, the meat and potatoes of sobriety. The 12 Steps teach me how to live in reality and not escape through my addiction. The 12th Step is helping other alcoholics/addicts by passing on the message (i.e. – taking the newcomer through the 12 Steps). I have found that the best way to do this is by sitting down, one-on-one and going through the Big Book, sharing my own experience in working the Steps.
Service can encompass many other things. Before I completed all the steps I was doing service work. I had the unique opportunity to help run an open speaker service meeting, twice a week, for six months. I would show up to the church every Tuesday and Thursday, set up the chairs, put on the coffee and put out the ashtrays. I got to choose the speakers and those who would participate in the meeting (i.e. – chairperson; readers). Since I was going to approximately 14 meetings a week finding a speaker was never hard. Later I was able to join a committee to help run an annual one day round-up. I held various service positions on that committee. These service opportunities presented themselves to me through others I met in the Fellowship. Imagine that!