Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tradition Seven

There have been quite a few meetings focusing on Tradition Seven during this seventh month. I used to think that the traditions were boring and that they only pertained to what happened in meetings. But I've come to realize that the traditions can be applied in our lives, just as the steps can.

Tradition Seven has its origin in keeping our groups self-supporting so that we don't receive money from foundations, hospitals or other sources outside of Al-Anon. It's important that Al-Anon meet its own expenses and not be dependent on outside entities.

But I see that this tradition has a great application in our lives. I work and have a good job. I am financially self-supporting. And I'm glad that my alcoholic is also self supporting. We are lucky in that alcoholism didn't wreak havoc with finances.

Tradition Seven also means to me that I am physically, emotionally and spiritually self-supporting. This is a bit tougher for me. I have taken to heart the opinions of others for most of my life. Now I know that those are only their opinions and that I must look inside myself and to my HP for validation, rather than to another human.

In relationships, it's important to consider what another has to say but it isn't necessary to feel bound to their opinion. There is also the issue of control here. Neither of us must do anything to limit the options of the other to avoid being hurt or frightened. I've frequently let others be my HP by being overly dependent on them for my emotional well being. But this Tradition reminds me that my self-worth comes from within and from my HP, not from having to have someone in my life in order to feel okay about myself.

I have thought that my marriage was based in the beginning on being with someone for my well being. I had a need and didn't feel whole without having her in my life all the time. I've come to realize that this exaggerated need comes from my fear of rejection and abandonment and isn't healthy. I know now that we are together to enhance each others lives but not to be each others lives.

I know that my relationship has been made stronger because I am responsible for my progress and recovery. I don't want to feel less than but an equal partner who does my part.

I am grateful today that:

* I am not attempting to control my partner and our relationship.
* I accept responsibility for my actions and know that the problems that occur are of my own making.
* I have a good job and am self-supporting.
* I'm okay with doing things that may not necessarily be something my SO wants to do.
* I have a program that reminds me that receiving is a position of powerlessness while giving is a position of control.


  1. For me, Syd, being a blogoholic is better than the other kind! It is just GREAT to hear from Alanons. Since my wife is AA (23 years). She joined Alanon 4 yrs ago...and since then, my life has NEVER been better!!!

    And thank you for your "take" on Tradition Seven, a new one for me. In my family we make use of acronyms, so for you today: KUTGW or "Keep Up The Good Work".
    Steve E.

  2. It always makes me cringe to hear someone say, "He/she is my life!"

    What a burden that is, to load upon another person. Being self-supporting means that we must be able to stand alone, so that any leaning we do is occasional, slight, and of short duration. If we need to lean, our Higher Power is always available, and for Him, it isn't the stressful load it can be for another human being.

    Excellent post, Syd.

  3. Great post. Since my wife got sober I've had to do some searching to figure out if I had become somewhat controlling while she was using. I think that I was moving in that direction. A lot of it had to do with trying to insulate the 3 and 5 year old from the nonsense. I think there can sometimes be a fine line between caring and controlling.

  4. I think I heard once that Steps are how we learn to live with ourselves, Traditions are what teach us to live with each other. Good message today. I appreciated it.


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