At about two years sober or so, I was elected as my home group treasurer. Initially, I thought it was due to my irresistible charm and charisma. But, like most jobs in AA, it was really because no one else wanted to do it. Let’s face it; no position in AA, regardless of how lofty, exactly garners CEO pay or prestige.
But I took to the task with unbridled enthusiasm. Soon it was time for the first quarterly group conscience. This was when all the “officers” of the group presented their reports. I was pleased to be among this elite group of bigwigs at last.
I’d gotten a hold of a graphics computer and put all the group data onto a spreadsheet. At the time, this computer stuff was relatively new. The previous treasurers’ reports were simply read from crude scrawls on a sheet of wrinkled paper. How primitive! I’d show these simple-minded bumpkins how we do things Downtown!
You should have seen my report! I had line graphs, bar graphs and pie charts going back five years, in color no less! Included were percentage comparatives in every category of income and expense you could think of. The result looked like the annual report of a Fortune 500 corporation. I was stoked!
The big day arrived. The group conscience started exactly one hour before the regular meeting. First was the GSR report…then the Literature Chairperson…then the Institution Chair…then the Group Secretary. You know, all the unimportant stuff. This dragged on and on.
When are they going to get to me?!
Next thing I knew, time was up. The group conscience ended with the Lord’s Prayer. They never even asked for my report! They ignored all of my fine work. I did show it to one of the old-timers. He said, sort of dismissively, “Oh yeah, sorry we didn’t get to you.”
“What kind of sh*t is this?” I thought. I called my sponsor.
From that conversation came many revelations. The first was motive. I forgot what the word “serve” meant. It means I’m the employee, not the employer. I’m the roadie, not the rock Star. I’m the soldier, not the general. Thus, I’m the servant and not the master.
My problem was not in the preparation, but in the expectation of grandeur. I saw how my true goal was to impress rather than to inform. You know, “Look at me, folks!” Sure, I see that now.
To soothe my bruised ego, my sponsor also pointed out that the fact that I was not called was because the group generally trusted me from my prior service work.
Lastly, there were simply more pressing problems in the group at the moment. They had neither time nor appetite for color bar graphs. I couldn’t see this through my self-centered lens.
So I look at this as an object lesson in humility.
I also learned a lot about graphics in the process. I can still pump out a pretty mean pie chart.