Length of Sobriety and Qualification For Service

The following is an excerpt from the chapter “Sober Time and Qualification For Service”.

Many if not most AA groups have a confusing policy of using length of sobriety as the sole qualification for AA members presenting a message of recovery. This policy directly contradicts our founding principle of sobriety dependent on helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

Many in AA have turned a blind eye to the most significant part of our history and Bill Wilson’s great understanding of the need to help another alcoholic in order to maintain sobriety. Both Bill and Dr. Bob had a spiritually based life, Dr. Bob probably more so than Bill, and neither could stay sober UNTIL they started to carry the message of recovery through the 12 Steps.

If an AA member has taken the 12 Steps as presented in The Big Book and has achieved sobriety, they have fit themselves to be of service to God and those about them. In fact, their continued sobriety depends on being of service to other alcoholics.

Establishing a policy based on an arbitrary length of sobriety as qualification for simply helping other alcoholics is antithetical to the AA program of taking the 12 steps as soon as one comes to AA and then guiding others through the steps. Our whole philosophy is based on the understanding that in order to stay sober we must directly help others to stay sober as well.

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