Friday, November 14, 2008

Let there be no gossip or criticism

Another part of the closing statement for Al-Anon goes like this:

Talk to each other, reason things out with someone else,
but let there be no gossip or criticism of one another.
Instead, let the understanding, love and peace of the
program grow in you one day at a time.

I like the idea that we can talk to each other and reason things out with someone else. To me that means that if I reach out my hand for help, a hand will be there. Every group has some members that consider themselves or are considered by others to be wise and knowledgeable. They may or may not be the "someone else" that you want to reason things out with.

Occasionally, there may be a person who believes themselves to be the authority on a topic or in general, or the group may recognize them as an authority because of their time in the program or for some other reason. When I first came into the program, I heard a lot of people who had a great deal of wisdom. I couldn't relate to all of them. Eventually, I was able to find people whose perspectives were applicable to my situation. So if you don't hear what you need to hear, keep seeking until you find the soul who can provide the experience, strength and hope you need. The closing does not specify who that "someone else" should be, and leaves that to us as a freedom of choice to determine.

The meeting closing discourages gossip and criticism. I don't see that happening in the meetings that I now attend. Although we all have many different personalities, the one thing we all have in common is we have been affected by the disease of alcoholism.

With all these different personalities come different opinions and different actions. Sometimes I don't like those actions, sometimes I don't especially like the people. But something I learned early on in my recovery is that I can learn something from people that I don't like, and I can respect their opinions. I don't have to gossip about them to other members or be critical. I can respect them for who they are. I can agree to disagree. "We aren't perfect." I am here to continue to recover, not take someone else's fourth step inventory. That's not my job, it belongs to their HP and to them.

The last part of the closing sums up the essence of the program: "Instead, let the understanding, love, and peace of the program grow in you one day at a time."


  1. Thanks Syd for bringing this up. I have to admit that I struggle with gossip. Not necassarily with program people but in my day to day life. I will remind myself that what other people do and say is not my business.

    Happy Friday and hope you have a great weekend.


  2. Well it sure seems to be growing in you Mr. ScienceGuyPants.

  3. Many people get cought up in a need to be "right",( myself included). There's really no such thing. It's our insecurity that's makes us gossip, so we can feel better about ourselves at other's expense. If I'm OK with myself, I don't need to make a point of getting people to side with me by gossiping. I just AM. You just ARE. That's it. Thanks for the wisdom. jeNN

  4. Oh my goodness - - - Syd - - - I don't expect you to post this in the blog section, but I do hope your sponsor is beaming with pride, and if it's at all possible, to award you a gold star for sharing the wonderful Al-Anon message! Great 11th and 12th step work, here!
    Love, Anonymous #1

  5. Whether you have 1 year or many, I can't remember how long you've been in the program, you have become one of those with wisdom. It is a pleasure to read it here on your blog.

  6. When I first started reading this entry that was the first thought that came to mind, "agree to disagree". It's such a simple principle lost on quite a few.

    I walked away from a few meetings before I found one I was comfortable with. The first ones seemed to have developed there own little band, leaving new comers on the outside. I didn't appreciate that approach. Simply because no matter how much someone knows about a subject, they can still learn from someone with less experience.

    Great post! (Hugs)Indigo

  7. The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.
    Will Rogers

  8. How about gossip after the meeting?
    OK? Just kidding! I've never noticed a gossip problem at my meetings.

  9. I really do love the people in my group. There have been a couple who have had moments or said things where I thought, hmmm, don't think I care for her. But that was temporary and at the next meeting when they spoke, I felt compassion for them or could relate to what they were saying.

  10. indeed, just by speaking to others and sharing bits of your own experiences, you help and get help.

  11. Oh boy!! This should have been read by certain people at my meeting last night. For an hour they discussed who had done what to whom and why. Justifications, resenments and stubborness abounded. I've found, I suggested, if I just stick to my side of the street, it's not so bad. Thanks Syd. Great Post

  12. Great post Syd....thanks for sharing.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.