One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
Let's think about group problems, those disagreements that sometimes happens because we do not quite understand each other. It is not surprising that we have come to Al-Anon so confused and unhappy, with our thinking warped by family difficulties, should find ourselves at odds over some point of procedure or a personal misunderstanding. We all have different backgrounds, goals, motives, standards and holds, and these can come into conflict when we find it difficult to communicate with each other.
For group problems, as well as for our individual ones, we use that helpful phrase in the Twelfth Tradition which ends: "ever reminding us to place principles above personalities."
Whenever I am tempted to impatience or anger because someone in my home group does not agree with me, I will remind myself to place principles above personalities. Everything that happens to me as a person, can be ironed out by applying Al-Anon principles. This lifts all discussion far above the level of personalities and brings about harmonious solutions.
"Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends on unity."
Courage To Change
Maybe we need many points of view in order to understand life more fully; after all, no one person's view is totally complete. So when my partner, my child, my employer, or an Al-Anon friend takes a position unlike my own, I have a choice. I can assume that one of us is wrong and defend myself, or I can be grateful for the chance to see that there are countless ways of looking at life. An abundance of wisdom is available if I keep an open mind.
I try to practice this attitude when my loved one and I discussed anything, even TV. We often perceive a TV show so differently that it's hard to believe we've been watching the same station! I used to take these disagreements personally. One of us had to be wrong, and my position had to be accepted! Today I don't think there's anything personal about a difference of opinion. If you think this sea is blue and I think it's green, I don't have to spend all day trying to convince you. Al-Anon helps me believe in myself and respect that other people are entitled to do the same.
I don't have to invalidate anyone else's views in order to validate my own. It's all right to disagree. Today I will respect someone's right to think differently.
"Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too."
Hope For Today
Concept Eight states, "The Board of Trustees delegates full authority for routine management of the Al-Anon Headquarters to its executive committees." In my family I was the "executive committee," meaning much of the routine household management fell to me. No one consciously delegated it to me; it seemed to be mine by default.
My mother was an alcoholic. For the most part, she acted like one of the walking dead, while Dad was gone most of the time. In addition to his full-time job, my father spent another 40 hours every week doing church charity work. Has a result, I assumed many of the household responsibilities. I made sure my brothers and I ate, dressed, got to school, and did our homework. It wasn't long before taking on others' responsibilities became a habit for me, a habit I carried into my adult life.
When I finally came to Al-Anon, I noticed people doing things differently. For example, when someone offered to be our group's anniversary chairperson, she passed around sign-up lists and people volunteered for setup, refreshments, and cleanup. Everyone shared responsibility for the arrangements and worked together. When I went to district meetings, I observed the district representative delegating responsibilities to the various group representatives. Concept Eight tells me this goes on at the World Service Office, too.
Now that I know I have options, I'm not so quick to pick up on others' responsibilities. When I do have a task that seems overwhelming, I ask for help. Amazingly the work gets done even when I'm not the one doing it.
Thought for the Day
Is there something going on in my life that I could ask for help with today?
". . . Concept Eight is about letting go and trusting others."
Paths to Recovery, p. 299
God has entrusted to us a great deal. He knows that we can do all things by His grace, so He's trusting in us to trust in Him. Yet He knows our fears as well, otherwise He wouldn't assure us so often of His purposes and His presence.
We feel hurt and alone, God assures us He cares.
We feel angry and resentful, God provides wisdom and strength.
We feel ashamed, God grants forgiveness and comfort.
We feel anxious, God promises to supply all our needs.
You have seen my affliction; you have known the troubles of my soul.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
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