Looking back I can see that I didn’t do what I did in AA out of a sense of obligation or responsibility or worry about the new people twenty years from now. I did it because it felt good then and it continues to feel good today. It is self interest, pure and simple. It’s icing on the cake if someone else benefits from the time and attention I give to Alcoholics Anonymous, but I’m doing it for me. My participation in AA in meetings, in service positions and sponsoring others gives my life a growing sense of purpose and contentment I never had before. 

When I was new I saw that the happiest folks in the room were the ones doing service. I wanted what they had, so I did what they did. I listened when you told me that grateful drunks don’t drink and that gratitude was a verb not a feeling. If I was grateful for my sobriety, you said I should do something to show it. I arrived early and set up the chairs, picked up cigarette butts in the parking lot and swept out toilets. When I was 90 days sober the 70 men in my home group elected me doughnut guy. It felt like I had just won the Nobel Prize.

I moved to China when I was three years sober. I was graced with the opportunity to help establish AA in Shanghai. We grew from four alcoholics and three meetings a week in 1997 to more than 120 regular members and twenty-three meetings a week today. I held the Monday night meeting in my apartment for years, then five years ago we opened the Shanghai Alano Club. I served on the board as the Club’s treasurer for four years. It’s easy to hit bottom in China. Fortunately for me there has been a steady stream of newcomers to sponsor. I simply pass along what I had been so freely given. I returned to the states a few months ago and already I've taken on the secretaries job at one of my local meetings.

It is none of my business whether or not AA survives in the future. That's God's business. My job is to suit up and show up and help where I can. Short of the total destruction of the planet, I can't imagine AA not surviving in the future. It is a force for good that is divinely inspired. I suppose it’s possible that science will one day invent a pill that will allow us all to drink moderately and think lovingly. Then instead of AA, all us drunks would walk around like Moonies with goofy-looking smiles plastered on our faces. I wouldn’t take that pill.