Our Annual Gathering
In early August there was a gathering of some 58 women at the Lake Huron Retreat Center on the shore of The Great Lake, Huron, in Burtchville, Michigan.
As the early arrivals came, laughing, assembling, setting up welcome tables, cookies, coffee, road signs to show the way, in cheerful service to the group of gathering retreat participants, they were met by warm hospitality of the center’s staff, and something else… The lake itself had rolled out a glorious welcome. As the participants arrived, the mid-summer sun danced across the azure hues of blues and greens of Lake Huron, like a sparkling turquoise gem. Only a thin line of white waves, ruffled her dancing blue skirts along the smooth, stone strewn shore. The sky was so clear, that if you looked closely you could just barely see the opposite shore.
“Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds.
Life is for service.”
— Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Fred Rogers
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Rogers. The recovery literature states over and over that we are to be of service to others, help others, carry a message of recovery, be altruistic ect. which makes sense since we are told selfishness is our biggest barrier to long term recovery and happiness (along with resentments). So to do selfless actions is the “cure” for selfishness, right? But is there a point where there is too much service work?
Times Have Changed
The Big Book was written in 1939. There was only one woman in *AA at the time. The man’s responsibility was to work and pay the bills. The women took care of the household and the children. Most households had two parents back then. Divorce wasn’t commonplace. Men in recovery went to work and after work they could dedicate their evenings to AA and helping other alcoholics. They weren’t tied to the house with children or household chores. Ok, I know I’m generalizing but as a whole, the 1930’s and 1940’s were very much like this. During that time AA was mostly a men’s organization.