The Service Experience.

This page is way for members to read about how other members carry out the 3rd legacy of AA - service. Our Treatment Facilities Chairperson Ryan T is in the process of asking a few members about HandI and other treatment facilities service. As with The Message newsletter we hope to continue the tradition of 'The Service Experience.'

Illustrated Steps treatment workshops - September 2016

Recently, Chris and David were able to come to Sydney and share the message of recovery at 2 treatment facilities in Sydney.

Read Chris and David's report here

Area G would like to thank Bondi CSO, particularly Jim B and their CSR's, Laurence S, Ryan T from Treatment sub-committee for their service.

Read Laurence S' report here

Every attendee received a Little Big Book and Newcomers pack thanks to coordinated service efforts between Area and CSO.

Privileged to see it happen.


Ryan asked Nik R about HIS SERVICE EXPERIENCE IN HandI (Hospitals and Institutions) - Treatment facilities/detox's/rehab's as better known in our area.

1. What motivated you to participate in H&I?

Initially, my sponsor. A condition of doing the steps with him was that I pass on the message and at the time he coordinated a roster that he wanted me to be a part of. It was daunting at first, but as my recovery has progressed it has become, for me, vital to a good recovery. It is occasionally inconvenient but always well worthwhile, teaching me a valuable lesson in AA and life, if I get off myself and think about others it is the path to a richer sobriety.

2. How did your experience of H&I benefit you?

I was extremely nervous sharing to groups of people, not only at meetings but at HandI's. It has given me some confidence in myself and also taught me that my story and message can be of value and service to other recovering alcoholics. I have since coordinated rosters and that also keeps me in touch with members, gives me a position of service and as a result I learn about the fellowship, its rich and incredible history and its structure.

3. Do you have an experience where you sharing your strength, courage and hope at a treatments facility affected someone positively?

I have always had words of encouragement from folks who have been present. Whilst some are not ready for AA's message there are, I have found at every meeting, recovering alcoholics who appreciate the time I have taken out to pass on the message and in some instances have made contacts with whom continue to attend meetings once they had left the rehab/detox and are still sober members.

4. What would you say to someone who was thinking about getting involved in service such as H&I?

Ignore your ego, take the action and become a part of it. It is a pure form of 12th step work and one in which everyone who is honest and willing will gain spiritual freedom from self, growth and satisfaction that we are part of an immense and powerful solution to our dilemma.  

Ryan also spoke to Kendall G about HandI service

1. What motivated you to participate in H&I? 

I'd heard good things from other members who had participated in it

2. How did your experience of H&I benefit you? 

Amazing. Speaking in rehabs and detoxes all over the world has been a highlight of my recovery as it reconnects me with my story, what it was like in early recovery, and how far my higher power has brought me

3. Do you have an experience where you sharing your strength, courage and hope at a treatments facility affected someone positively? 

Yes. I've seen members at meetings gaining sobriety who were previously detox or rehab clients who I'd spoken to. They had received the message of recovery in AA through H&I and sought out meetings after leaving the centre. I've sponsored members I've met in rehabs.

4. What would you say to someone who was thinking about getting involved in service such as H&I? 

Go for it! 

Wayne's experience.

I got sober in June 1982 in Sydney, Australia. I was twenty-seven years of age and I would not accept my powerlessness over alcohol. My Father who also struggled for many years with his powerlessness took me to my first meeting. After my Father took me to a few meetings he suggested I other meetings I might like to attend on my own. I very timidly attended my first solo AA meeting. I was scared and frightened that I would not know what to do or say and I would embarrass myself. I was most relieved to be met at the door of this meeting by a man who had visited our home many times over the years. His visits started when I was eight or nine years old. I thought his visits involved helping my Father with the endless renovations to our house. I have since learnt that real purpose of these visits was because he was twelve stepping my Father. As I walked through the doorway of the meeting Mick asked me if I would like a cup of Tea. I was still very shaky from my withdrawals from alcohol but I did not want to offend our old friend Mick. I was very touched when Mick brought me back the cup of tea and it was only half full. . He had recognised my shaky, nervous disposition and out of kindness he had only half filled my cup to save me from the embarrassment of spilling the tea all over the place. I was won over by Micks empathy, kindness and compassion shown to me in this simple act of a half full cup of tea. Mick became my sponsor and he was a man of action and very few words. He just liked to keep things very simple. One day he threw a tea towel at me and suggested I get involved in some tea towel therapy. He could see that I did not understand what he meant. So he took me out to the meeting places kitchen where people were cleaning the coffee and teacups from the meeting. As I began to wipe the cups the other members of the group engaged me in conversations that began to take me out of my shyness and awkwardness. I made some life long friends over cleaning those dishes. After I had been the secretary of our home group Mick suggested I get involved with the AA members visiting jails and having AA meetings in Prisons. I mentioned to Mick that many times Judges had threatened me with prison and that maybe I wasn’t the best person to be visiting Prisons. He explained to me how to visit Police headquarters and asked for a list of my convictions and attached these to my Prison visitors application. Visiting Police headquarters was a scary exercise but I didn’t want to disappoint Mick. I visited Prisons for seven years and the only reason I stopped visiting Prisons was because my two sons needed lifts to football and my daughter needed lifts to dancing lessons.

My experiences while visiting Prions were always interesting. I visited an AA meeting in maximum security in a prison on the outskirt of Sydney in the outer western suburbs. On one visit a prison warden in his full uniform with his cap on was escorting me to the AA meeting. Mostly the wardens never said anything to me. As this warden let me through the many doors leading to maximum security I was surprised when this warden said ‘Hello Wayne how are you.

’I was very surprised and I responded by apologiseing because I did not remember where I had met him. He took off his cap and said ‘I met you at the group you visited on Friday night.’

I asked if he was attending the meeting as an observer. He said ‘My names Joe and I’m a member of that group’. I was very surprised to say the least. My favorite AA meeting was in maximum security at the Silverwater Prison.There was only one other member who regularly attended this meeting and that was Gary. He and I were often that only ones at the meeting and I visited Gary at that meeting for quite a few years. Gary and I really got to know eachother and we became good friends. Gary shared with me how for thirteen years he had never walked in a straight line for more than thirty feet with out having a door opened for him.

I will never forget the first meeting he attended in minimum security. I asked him what was the first thing he did when he got out of maximum security. He told me he went down to the sport field and rolled in the grass because he hadn’t seen grass for thirteen years. Gary shared with me at a meeting his experience with freedom he said to me that I could go home after the meeting and that was liberty. He pointed to his heart and said that real freedom was in here. I understood what he said. Gary celebrated forty years of sobriety recently in his home in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Mick gave me many gifts but his greatest gift was his love of service. I was attending the local area service group and they were asking for volunteers to attend a corrections committee conference. The conference was being held on the other side of country some twelve hundred miles away and it would go for three days. I had to discuss this with my wife before I volunteered to attend the conference. Im embarrassed to say I shed a tear when I asked her if it was ok for me to attend the conference, she said "what a great way to continue Mick's legacy."

RANGI'S H and I service

1. What motivated you to participate in H&I? 

I have something to give, a new experience.

2. How did your experience of H&I benefit you? 

Enables me to carry out my 12th step responsibility therefore ensuring recovery - also to watch others realise there just might be a solution that could work for them.

3. Do you have an experience where you sharing your strength, courage and hope at a treatments facility affected someone positively? 

Yes. I have ended up sponsoring people from treatment facilities.

4. What would you say to someone who was thinking about getting involved in service such as H&I? 

Suggest to them to give back what was freely given to us and let them enjoy the experience.