(from Essay August 2019)

I love making candy.  As with any interest of mine, it grew into a real passion.  People encouraged me to create a candy business, which I tried…and failed.  (I’m not a very good businessman.) It was during this period of time, though, that I was experimenting on various recipes and frequently offered samples (and made sales) to folks at work, Church, in our neighborhood and at meetings.  I designed business cards and a brochure and gave them out…and continued making sales.

It was at that same time that Philadelphia’s Intergroup was planning to host the 2005 international SA convention.  I thought that might be a terrific opportunity to get the word out even further—while serving the fellowship. I thought that, perhaps I could offer to join the Hospitality Committee for the convention and take care of both priorities: serving the fellowship and networking my business.  I changed my email address to include the name of the business and thought it’d be a great conversation starter whenever I sent service emails to fellow members. I even went so far as to begin working on a logo that I could use, incorporating the fellowship’s logo—sort of trying to position this enterprise of mine as an “official business” for the fellowship.  I even briefly used this logo as my email’s icon—so people would see it in and associate it with the fellowship as well as my candy.

Thankfully, after some time, a couple members brought it up to me out of concern, citing Tradition 6.  We discussed it at length, and I felt convicted that I needed to stop. I became very aware of other examples of promoting businesses in the fellowship: real estate, therapy practices, carpentry, video production and even sales for kitchen utensils and make-up.

I realized that—for me—I needed to promote only one thing: working the Steps.  If I was trying to make a few extra bucks from my SA service work, I was missing a wonderful opportunity—to help save lives, without expecting anything in return.

Michael J.  Pennsylvania USA