Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

THE GROUP CONSCIENCE*

Does anyone like the group conscience? I know I don't, even when I have put something on the agenda. I don't like conflict. I don't like people disagreeing with me. I don't like how I feel when I want to defend myself but need to keep my mouth shut because I've already shared enough. So I'd really rather just change things on my own or with the help of a few friends.

But that's not how Al-Anon works. I need to bring my item before the other members of my group for discussion and sometimes further discussion before a vote, if it even comes to a vote. This keeps Al-Anon a true democracy, where we have no dominant leaders, just trusted servants who take their turns at service positions.

Anyone in the group can call for a group conscience, even a newcomer. In fact, all members are encouraged to participate because "Participation is the key to harmony." (Concept 4) And as in our meetings, we are able to share without the fear of being ridiculed or silenced. In that way, Al-Anon is a safe place to express my opinions. But I still don't like it, especially when I don't get my way.

Yet I've learned to ask, because that is part of taking care of myself. Just the other day, I asked for something outside of Al-Anon at a place I volunteer. I have no idea if I'll get it, but I certainly wouldn't get it if I hadn't asked. Plus it took courage to ask - courage I learned in Al-Anon meetings and group consciences. It is just one more way I am practicing these principles in all my affairs.

*The Group Conscience is a business meeting where the members make decisions about everything from format to where the money goes.

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2 Comments:

At Friday, August 15, 2008 7:32:00 AM, Blogger Kim A. said...

A Group Conscience, in my home groups, have offered me a chance to learn new, healthy, ways of sharing my opinion and confront my old feelings of fear, unworthiness and just wanting to disappear. When I first came into Alanon I would do ANTHING to avoid conflict. I hated the idea that someone wouldn't like me or would reject me. Old feeling that began in my childhood. I now know that I am worthy and have a voice. I have opinions and sometimes I even have a good idea or two :-) In my home groups, I now will contribute to our group conscience and when I have been in the minority, it's okay. I am still lovable and I still love those who's opinion's differ. I love District meetings for that purpose (especially when our budget is up for a vote). We can disagree, sometimes personalilities flair up, sometimes it can get a bit heated,but in the end, we all are here, we all are valuable and we all can laugh at ourselves and be grateful for the steps, traditions and concepts that guide us to healthy resolutions. thanks for the share...Kim A.

 
At Sunday, August 17, 2008 6:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has taken me a long time in Al-Anon to not dread an upcoming group conscience - but now I see them as a sacred event, a time when HP will - as Tradition 2 states - express Himself. I try to review Tradition 2 before participating, and I ask the leader if I may read it before we begin. Today, I see a difference between having a different opinion and conflict. Differences are inevitable, but conflict is removed by the vote. We agree in advance on how we will settle our differences. And that is that after the topic has been thoroughly discussed and all sides have been put on the table, the final vote is God Himself saying - "this is the best way for you to proceed at this time and at this place."

 

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