A Scheduled 12-Step Call I Could Put on My Calender
I got sober on August 14, 1986. Before sobriety, I had zero social life.
After sobriety, I found a fellowship I had craved all along, but didn’t know it. I had lots of friends, joined the meetings before and after the meetings, went to social gatherings of all kinds, and learned how to have fun.
Many of my friends would miss our regular AA meeting on the third Thursday of the month and I always wondered where they were. One Thursday, I asked where they were going, and they told me that the San Fernando Valley Hospital & Institutions Committee meeting was that night, and that I could come along if I wanted to. You bet I did!
We met that night in a tiny storage room at the back of one of the large churches. My recollection was that it was almost like a little mountain cabin. But, the next month, we met in the large social hall at the church. The Registrar took attendance; the Director explained that our purpose was to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to people in hospitals, jails, and other institutions where they could not get out to meetings. That sounded good to me – a scheduled 12-Step call that I could put on my calendar. I went on my first panel at a hospital, on a Saturday afternoon in February 1987. I have no idea what I shared; I was very nervous. But I left there with a feeling of elation better than any I had ever had before. I was hooked on H & I.
Over the years, I have served in many different capacities of H & I. I very much want the Committee to keep taking panels out to recovering alcoholics. My first job was Registrar. I thought that would be a good way to get to know people. When I raised my hand to do the job, we took attendance on index cards, but when I took over the job they handed me a floppy disc. Good Grief! I knew nothing about computers, but I got to learn. Over the years, H & I has “taught” me lots of computer programs. Thank goodness for that!
I have always had at least one (usually two) committed panels each month. I went to Tehachapi State Prison for 11 years and enjoyed the experience immensely. We had meetings on the 3-hour drive up and the 3-hour drive back. We had a meeting at the prison, and usually shared a meal on the way home at a place in downtown Tehachapi. I have taken panels into detox facilities, work and fire camps, and mental health facilities. I always feel elated when I leave. I feel like they have paid a 12-Step call on me!
H & I is not only organized service, but it is a wonderful fellowship. I belong to two H & I Committees, because I feel the work is very worthwhile. We have a common goal – to carry the message to others. The committee meetings may be difficult for some people to sit through, but they keep the chaos at bay and keep us on track. When a panel fails to show up, it’s called a “dark night”. We used to say that the only reason for a dark night was a death in the family – yours. When we were drinking, we were undisciplined people; now we are responsible citizens of our community. And – it is a life beyond my wildest dreams! Come join us!