Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tradition Three

The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.

• Principle: Focus
• Traits: singleness of purpose, keep it simple

Al-Anon's non-affiliation with any other cause or organization keeps our purpose clear and helps us avoid controversies that could hurt our unity. Al-Anon and the recovery offered me is my primary focus. This does not mean I have the right to force my belief in Al-Anon on others. My recovery does not detract from my family’s unity. My preaching may.

To LEARN how to join Al-Anon or form a group, turn to Tradition Three, which tells us that any individual can join simply by deciding he or she is troubled by another person's drinking. A group can be formed whenever two or more persons get together to use the Al-Anon principles to help themselves. The only stipulation is that the group itself not affiliate with any other program, religion or cause. This stipulation is intentionally simple and inclusive. It insures that when anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help in dealing with the effects of another's alcoholism, Al-Anon will be there. This tradition points out our singleness of purpose.

Most organizations have specific requirements for membership and some way to see that only those who qualify are admitted. Applications are created and obligations are spelled out. Al-Anon is different. If you think you are troubled by a drinker, you are welcome.

Al-Anon's non-affiliation with any other cause or organization keeps our purpose clear and helps us avoid controversies that could hurt our unity. Although there are many good, related endeavors, our experience indicates that we lose the vitality and effectiveness of our Al-Anon program when we stretch ourselves too thin by trying to be all things to all people.

Practicing this Tradition brings us personal growth and expanded recovery. For all who come through the doors and claim by their presence that they have a problem, we extend the hand of fellowship. We offer them unconditional love and acceptance. It is simple.

We do not use our group for other purposes or link our group to other causes, treatment programs or outside endeavors, however worthy they may be, because we want to be sure Al-Anon is always available to us and others in need of the help we have found so useful.


  1. The traditions are the structure that keeps Al-Anon pure and simple.

    All outside interests are kept outside the meetings.

    You wrote it all so well Syd.

    Thanks for this.

  2. The only requirement for membership is sometimes a tough one in NA because our goal is to stop using, lose the desire, and find a new way of life. This gets what I call "dope fiend" by a lot of members who use the rooms as revolving doors. Yet all we can do is be there when the addict is truly willing and ready to try something different. I love the perspective I get from family members it is very humbling when I hear about an addicts effects on a non member. I remember where I come from and it helps me focus on my recovery.

  3. Syd, thank you for your comment on my blog. I answered there also, the following:

    "I got to speak this morning to my 'big' group of about 85 people, and during my talk, I discovered this:

    "Yeah! Each of us have the right to our own perspectives on a step or tradition! Especially on the blogs. So, of course, I cannot quit."

    Thank you for the comments though which reinforce my own thinking...(BAD--to think 'alone'...)

  4. Ok, Syd. I'm going to challenge you with a tough one. Your letter is "Y". Have fun!

  5. Hey Syd-

    I"m learning and loving the support I'm getting from my fellow recovery people. Part of the reason I started blogging again was because I knew that you would read it.

    You're a good guy man, and I hope you're doing well.


  6. Syd,
    Thanks for blogging on the traditions.

    I'm planning on taking a few girls through the Traditions using "Paths to Recovery" after we finish the 12 steps. I have not done the traditions using this book with others in Al-anon before. I look forward to it.

    I see from vicariousrising that your letter is "Y". I look forward to your list.

  7. a good system it's got too. you are proof of how it helps.


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