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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: We receive the gift of Recovery when we work the Steps. We receive the Gift of Unity when we cling together in love and work together to keep our Fellowship alive.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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I came to believe that it is one of the things we mean when we talk about ‘having had a spiritual awakening’. One of the results of the R...
AA Big Book
I came to believe that it is one of the things we mean when we talk about ‘having had a spiritual awakening’. One of the results of the Recovery we receive from working the Steps is the opportunity to be a part of the Unity of the Fellowship. Another is the opportunity to be of service — because we are changed into people who give instead of people who just take. The dictionary defines legacy as ‘something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past’ — a gift, in other words, from those who have gone before. Our Three Legacies are gifts handed down to us. We receive the gift of Recovery when we work the Steps. We receive the Gift of Unity when we cling together in love and work together to keep our Fellowship alive.

We receive the Gift of Service when we act for someone else’s benefit rather than our own — because we are now people who can do something for someone else. As a recovered alcoholic, the Gift of Service, the opportunity to serve, brings me closer to the God of my understanding — to my Higher Power. Now, admittedly, my understanding of that Power has increased by only a tiny amount in the years I’ve been among you. Today the only thing I know for certain is that my Higher Power is one of love. When I witness one alcoholic helping another, I get to see what love looks like. I think that’s what’s meant when people say we’re made in the image of God. It’s not what we look like, it’s what we look like when we’re helping each other — when we’re being of service. It’s why, as I said last year, I wanted to be around the ‘cool kids’ – because in Alcoholics Anonymous, the ‘cool kids’ are the alcoholics who are accepting the Gift of Service and passing it on to the next drunk who walks in the door.

It doesn’t matter how I define or how much I think I understand my Higher Power — or whether I do at all. It doesn’t matter whether my Higher Power today is God or not. In Alcoholics Anonymous I’ve learned that I don’t have to define or understand a Higher Power to have one. The gifts of Recovery, Unity and Service work in us and through us no matter how diminished my individual understanding is. When I watch you being of service, I see what God looks like, whatever God may or may not be.

I know today that I was given the Gift of Service not only from very early in my sobriety, but also from even before I was sober. About three years before I found you I worked one summer with a guy, David, who had been in AA for a short time — a few months maybe. He would rush out to a meeting every day at lunchtime and return a seemingly different person. I didn’t know what you were doing to him, but it sure seemed to help.

He talked incessantly about AA and I would smile and nod in that condescending alcoholic way we can all do so well. I had no idea it would ever mean anything to me, but I was glad for him that he had found you. Three years later, when I couldn’t decide which I wanted more, to drink or to die, I remembered David. I knew that whatever was going on here, it was a safe place. I knew that shattered as I was, you wouldn’t hurt me. You might not help me, I might not belong here, but you wouldn’t hurt me. So I took a chance and found my way to that dingy smoky room with all the inappropriately laughing old people. And I thank the God of my diminished understanding for that every day.

And because you have given me the Gift of Service, I try to live that gratitude. I try to pick up the gift and accept the opportunity to serve. It is a responsibility, yes, but it is also a gift. And like the Gift of Recovery and the Gift of Unity it is ours if we want it.

Bernie, at that first meeting, picked up the gift and gave it to me and showed me what living the miracle of thirty days looked like. David — without even knowing — picked it up and gave it to me by showing that AA was safe. My first sponsor — and the ones who have followed — picked it up and gave it to me.

We are here this weekend, to pick it up together once more, to accept the opportunity together to give something back to the Fellowship that has saved all of us.

I hope you have a great weekend and a great Conference. I’m so grateful you’re here. It feels amazing to be with you once more — to be hanging out with the ‘cool kids’ again. Alcoholics Anonymous saved and transformed my life through the Gifts – our Legacies – of Recovery, Unity and Service.

The Gift of Recovery means we get to stay sober today. The Gift of Unity means we get to stay sober together with other alcoholics. The Gift of Service means that maybe we can help some of them. If we can, our acceptance and perception of a power greater than ourselves – whatever we as individuals may perceive it to be – increase just a little. We move a little closer to each other and a little closer to that power.
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